Written by James
21 Brew Cave is bar restaurant and future brew pub that opened fairly recently in Hibarigaoka. An area that, to the best of my knowledge, has little or no craft beer options.
The first thing you notice as you go in is a couple of large silver tanks for brewing beer. In Japan there are quite a few hurdles to overcome before you can get licensed to brew and start making your own beers, so most places start as bars first. 21 Brew Cave is no exception but they (it’s a one man operation just now) definitely plan to start brewing as soon as they can. Once they do the brewery will be called, West Tokyo Brewing.
21 Brew Cave is open at lunch time then it is closed for a couple of hours before opening again in the evening. There is table seating for maybe around 20 but no counter. Despite not having a counter it was welcoming and I found it easy to go to on my own.
There are 6 taps of craft beer, all of which were domestic. Prices were ¥1500 for pints and ¥980 for half pints. Not cheap but about standard nowadays and at least there is no charge to enter. This is more of a place to enjoy a beer with lunch or dinner rather than several pints anyway. The food is good and there was even homemade cake. I guess that once they start brewing, their own beer will be a little cheaper. There is also a fridge with a reasonable selection of bottles and cans. These can be taken out or drunk in. There is a ¥200 charge for drinking in which I thought was fair. I actually felt that the cans offered better value than the draught beer.
As I was sipping my beer I couldn’t help noticing that the owner was really good at entertaining the kids who had been dragged along by their parents who fancied dinner and a beer. When I became the last customer in the place I asked him why he opened this place. It turns out that he’s a former nursery school teacher who switched careers because he has a son with Down’s Syndrome and he wanted his son to be able to work with him in the future. That could either involve waiting tables, making beer or even simply putting labels on beer bottles. A brew pub / restaurant offers a lot of possibilities for working together. What a wonderful thing for a dad to do and one can’t help but wish him success. The place already has a good vibe and good food and beer so I think it will stand the test of time. I’ll certainly be back.
Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Wednesday-Sunday, 11:30-15:00, 17:30-22:00
Closed Monday & Tuesday
谷戸町1-23-7 JUN谷戸ハイツ2号室, Nishitokyo-shi, Tokyo