Albirex Niigata’s return to J1 meant that once again I was off to Niigata for an away game. It’s been a while so was nice to go back! The game was perhaps one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen from my team though, so that part wasn’t much fun. But we did get the chance to visit some new places and therefore it’s time to do a Niigata round up. Not visited and therefore still something of a mystery so not written about are two new breweries in Niigata, Jokun and Tsumaari. I’ll put them on the map with a ? but you’ll need to check them yourself I’m afraid. Jokun beers appear quite often in Tokyo (often at Gremlin), so you won’t need to go to Niigata to drink them, but it’s always fun to do that kind of thing, isn’t it?
Since I was last in Niigata, the main beer place Beer Trip Olive has apparently changed ownership but still seems like the main place to go in the city. It’s old sister pub (almost) next door has changed name and ownership too and is now called est. They still make a great double header though and have lots of local stuff. A link to the original post about Olive is below and so is the one on local brewpub Nuttari. Also there is a new mini listing for est. In addition to these places, the other spots in town that looked interesting were Quick Step Beers and Eki Minami Beer Hall Amarillo. They are both on the map marked with a ?.
Beer Olive post
The full name is Izakaya x Dining EST, but I thought that might just confuse things so I’m putting it on as est. Didn’t take any notes as I was a bit smashed by the time we got there, but had four or five taps I think, with a focus on local stuff. Lots of local Nihonshu too. Ground floor was a counter for about five but there are more seats upstairs. (About 45 spread over the three floors if my initial post was correct). Lots of fun was had here and I broke my golden rule by having a Nihonshu (or actually more accurately a doburoku) in the middle of a few beers. I was ok the next day though. No link below as the only thing I can find is a Facebook page which hasn’t been updated in five years.
Good googling luck to you
Last time we went here it was just to eat, but in the last few months they seem to have got interested in beer. Just in front of the station, located on the ground floor of the same building that Ponshukan, the Nihonshu lover’s paradise, is in. They have five taps of Niigata craft beer, all priced at ¥1000 for plastic cup of probably about 400ml. When we last went they had beers from Nuttari, Heisei and Tainai Kogen. And as you can probably guess from the fact that we’ve been there twice, the food is good, so worth a visit either way. Lots of Niigata prefecture food, drink and goods for sale too.
Mitsuke Local Brewery
Mitsuke is about an hour from Niigata on the Shinetsu line. Mitsuke Local Brewery is a further twenty minutes walk from the station along a main road. So it’s quite a trek! They have a counter area and a little raised bit behind the bar where there are a few tables. They have six taps of their own beer served in three sizes along with some bottles in the fridge which I guess are probably for takeaway. Some food served too and there is a cover charge with a little bowl of something. Can’t remember how much it was though. As Mitsuke beers are often available in Niigata city, you’ve got to really want to come here for it to be worthwhile. You can thank me for for doing the trek for you.
Two stops further down the Shinetsu line from Niigata but not as far from the closest station as Mitsuke is. From Kita-Nagaoka it’s about a 10-15 minute walk along the river and it’s a nicer walk than the one in Mitsuke. Heisei is a brewery that is next door to a booze shop that has its tasting room at the back of the aforementioned booze shop. It’s quite a small operation with a counter for maybe five and a table for two. Five taps of their beer on served in half or pint size. They also offer a flight. The booze shop had some of their bottles that weren’t available and it was ok for us to drink them in the bar. Likewise with the snacks available in the booze shop. Although obviously we ate them rather than drank them. This was a fun place to visit and is much more easily accessed from Nagaoka station which is also on the Shinkansen.