Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Don & Bruce's Excellent [Japanese] Adventure

Never ones to turn down the chance to sample some new beers and good whiskys, Don and Bruce recently traveled to Japan to check out the scene there.

Craft beer is on the rise, and Japanese craft brewers are making some excellent beers, particularly some German-inspired varieties. We drank quite a few delicious Japanese pilsners, schwarzbiers, weissbiers, and alts. The only downside for us is beer isn't cheap in Japan, so save your pennies and yen. German imported beers are even more expensive with a liter of Franziskaner going for $30! On the other hand, liquor is relatively inexpensive -- we were happy/dismayed to find that Jack Daniels at Tokyo liquor retailers was cheaper than we can buy it wholesale here in Washington.

OK, enough talk, how about some pictures...

Beer sampler from Watering Hole, Yoyogi.
It was cool that the manager there had heard of Shultzy's from one of her customers.
I also stole my new title here from one of their staff -- I am now "Mascot" of Shultzy's.

The daily draft beer menu at Watering Hole.
Note all the German genres represented from the Japanese brewers.
Watering Hole's beer selection was great, the staff knowledgeable, and they even had cool t-shirts.

Lunch time at Ginza Lion Beer Hall.
Funny that they have mugs that look like liters,
but are only 0.8L.

 Teng is a chain izakaya (pub) with a crazy variety of Japanese and foreign foods.
Don liked the mackerel while I was partial to the Korean seafood pancake.

Don and our friend Julie smiling while they contemplate stealing
the giant Franziskaner glass from its Roppongi home. 

Craftheads in Shibuya has a nice selection of beers (even Lagunitas)
and an impressive whisky selection (4 different varieties of Blanton's, for instance).

One block away from Shibuya Crossing (the super-busy Tokyo intersection you always see on TV)
is Nombei Yokocho ("Drunkard's Alley"). Yes, it really is this narrow with bars on both sides.

We stopped in for a beer and a shot at this bar.
Yes, this is the whole thing. It has three seats.
And it cooks/serves food, too (spicy curry). 

"Rock" is the daytime proprietor of the tiny bar; another guy takes over at 6pm. 

 Tiny bars, tiny kegs...
Easy on the back when you lift them.
But they wouldn't last long with thirsty folks.

Craft Beer Market in Shimbashi has a great selection of
Japanese craft beers and some delicious food.