Sour Swamp is a relatively new bar and bottle shop in Chitose Funabashi. Chitofuna was an area that until recently had absolutely no craft beer places. That seems to be changing though with the arrival of Sour Swamp and then the very recent opening of a new Caliquors branch. I was going to try both but Caliquors was very busy, (I think it might actually have opened the day I tried to visit), so I’ll go back and tick that one off some time soon. I’ll probably pop into Sour Swamp again when I do that, as I had quite a nice time there. Here’s what you need to know.
- Pretty small place with a couple of high tables and a couple of small counters. On the counter we sat at there was an interesting selection of art and booze books and some nice little sculptures. The atmosphere was quite welcoming and although the decor felt quite trendy, even this old grump was comfortable and didn’t feel out of place.
- Six taps of beer, all of which were imported sours. And a couple of fridges packed full of similar stuff. Not everything was sour though so don’t worry if you’re not a fan of sour stuff. Saying that though, most of it was and clearly that is the concept behind the place. So perhaps if you really don’t like sour beers this is probably not the place for you. Given that the beers on tap were both sour and imported, you can imagine what this means when it comes to pricing. Beers were served in three sizes, 140ml, 280ml and 473ml. The prices for the three sizes ranged from ¥740-¥900 for the smallest, ¥1440-¥1750 for the medium and ¥2430-2950 for the large. I’m not sure people really expect to drink these kind of beers in US pint size though. It seems a bit expensive, but these beers are always expensive, so I think it’s not that surprising. The selections were beers that I had never before seen in Japan. In fact one of the breweries from Switzerland was available there for the first time in Japan. So basically you’re dealing with a speciality shop serving very nice beers at speciality prices.
- No cover charge and daytime opening at the weekend. I didn’t check for WiFi but I’d be amazed if they didn’t have it.
I have to say, I quite enjoyed this place. Clearly it’s not somewhere I’m going to go all the time as that would be a hobby reserved for someone who has significantly more money than me. The best thing for me is that they are offering something unique and special and I don’t mind paying a bit more for that. Both the beers we had were very nice and even if we paid a bit more than the regular pint price in other bars for a 280ml serving, I still think it’s fairly priced. I’m not sure if they have (or will have) Belgian sour beers here, (I didn’t spot any but the fridges were slightly blocked by some other customers and I didn’t want to get in their way), but if they do or will do that’s another thing in their favour for me. Most of what I could see in the fridges was from North America. Recently there have been more sour beers appearing in Japan, but lots of these are the fruited sour kind. Sour Swamp seems to offer something a bit more interesting, a bit funky and with lots of barrels involved. If you’re looking to quaff kettle sours or goses by the pint this is probably not for you. But if you would rather get something a bit wilder in a smaller serving, I’d suggest you visit as soon as you can. Oh, one last thing, the opening hours don’t seem to be that regular, but are updated every week in their Instagram bio, so please check them before you go.
Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
As I said above, please check Instagram for the week’s hours but just to show what kind of thing to expect here is what is ‘normal’
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, 17:00-23:00
Saturday & Sunday, 13:00-23:00
船橋 1-9-10, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo