Today a place in another area I had never been to before this visit. Getting off the Yamanote line at Komagome, this place was about a seven minute walk south. I know they used to have a Hinomoto Beer Parlor in Jinbocho. Not sure why they have moved from there to here but it might be something to do with them starting their own brewery. I believe the previous place was just a bar and this one is a bar and brewpub. But… (and I’m sure you know what’s coming here…) they haven’t started brewing yet. When we visited their was a big crate yet to be unpacked. I presume yet to be unpacked, perhaps it was actually empty and had previously contained a bulk order of the snacks that they serve here. It did look like some kind of tank though. I know it’s quite a long process from getting the equipment, via setting it up and getting your license to brewing though, so not sure how sure it will be a brewpub and for how long it will remain only a ‘beer stand’. Here’s what you need to know.
- Quite open place with a few seats at the counter and a few more at a counter looking into what will become the brewery. I guess the empty middle area between the counters is used for standing perhaps when it gets busy. And it was starting to get a little busy when we departed around 5:30 on a Friday early evening. The only food here is snacks. And when I say snacks, I mean snacks that come in packets, like crisps of stuff like that. There’s no kitchen, so if you going here hungry you know what to expect.
- Eight taps of Japanese craft, including two collaboration beers they made with other Tokyo breweries. The tap list was a real pleasant surprise actually, but perhaps I was lucky or maybe it’s just my taste, and others might not be so excited. Again there was an interesting selection of breweries. I’m ashamed to say that one of the collaboration beers was with a Tokyo brewery that I had never heard of so you can see what kind of thing we’re looking at here I guess. Beer was served in nice glassware in four (!) sizes, pint (473ml), regular (345ml), half (236ml), and mini (135ml), so something for all the family. The mini size beers were all ¥430. The halves ranged from ¥700-¥820, the regulars from ¥790-¥1120, and the pints from ¥1100-¥1410. So pretty standard prices I’d say, but not as cheap as some places are. There also was a few fridges with bottles and cans which included some very nice stuff. If fact I’d go as far to say that I think I would have to spend about a week’s worth of nights here if I was going to drink everything I fancied. High praise from the usually slightly cynical me. The bottles and cans are for on site and take away drinking I believe.
- No cover charge and a tiny bit of daytime opening which to be honest could be better described as early evening opening. Once again I forgot to check for WiFi. A quick tip, it’s pay as you go here so order at the counter and pay there each time. This makes me think that there is a bit of standing going on when it gets busy. That and the name of the place also hints quite strongly at that I guess.
I really liked this place. Perhaps my impression was slightly skewed by the fact that after having drunk a couple of pretty average beers at Inkhorn before, the first thing I noticed on tap was Baeren’s Summer Hop Lager which had only just been released. Saying that, at least half of the tap list looked like ‘must try’ beers and the other half looked like ‘I’d like to try’ beers. And then there were the bottles and cans too. So I think it would be a big shock to come here and find nothing interesting. I’m really enjoying the fact that more and more bars are focussing on domestic stuff. There are some real hidden gems to be found and I’m not averse to putting in a bit of leg work ploughing through some less than stellar stuff to find them. Will definitely be going back here. And that’s not just because they do a stamp card that I am now 4/18 of the way to finishing and getting a free beer.
Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, 15:00-23:00
Saturday & Sunday, 12:00-23:00
本駒込 5-71-3, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo