Reviews & info on some beers, bars & pubs in Japan (mainly Tokyo/Yokohama area) - with an extra large serving of nonsensical jibbbbah jabbah thrown in:

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Thrash Zone 2nd anniversary

I headed out, despite my hangover, to the Thrash Zone's 2nd anniversary event.
The bar was open from 1pm and by the time I got there(after 3), it was completely packed. There must have been 30 people in there. Not a bad effort, considering the place usually has seating for about 10.

When I got there, I paid my 2,000 yen fee and for that I got a bottle of Speakeasy. Hang on...the poster and the internet page said a free pint? What's going on? There's a diffrence between a 330ml bottle and a pint. Not such a good start, there. Also, no choice over the beer. I was given an opened bottle of Speakeasy IPA. Nice beer, but considering I've paid 2,000yen, I would have appreciated being able to at least choose my beer. Oh well, I stood agains tthe wall and drank my beer and chatted with the lovely ladies.
The food was basic fried potatoes, french fries, fried chicken fare with a mixed vegetable dish thrown in. The owner brought out some pickles alter on. I'm pretty sure they were home made and they weren't bad. I think Japanese pickles go well with beer. The food was nothing like the 1,000yen all you can eat all day extraveganza that was on offer at Numazu taproom, last week. Still, this was included in the entrance charge so I ate loads.
The music was slamming and the beer was flowing. All of this did wonders for my hangover, of course.

I was showing signs of the booze affecting me.
Plus, I felt like I was being watched...I left after about an hour or two, as I really needed some air. It wasn't the bar, it was my stomach. A week of constant abuse finally catches up on a man. An old, tired, lonely, alcoholic, sad, sad man.
I popped out to Seijuishi again and picked up another interesting brew. Moretti Doppio Malto:I'd had this baby in Rome, also with some premium Italian ham and cheese and bread and it was very nice. I decided to give it another try. Not bad but the 7% alc was perhaps a little too much for my weakened state. The ham was nice, too (I later foolishly put it in the rubbish of a convenience store garbage box, by mistake, wasting 70% of the stuff - boohoo!). I walked from Yokohama to the Pivovar Yokohama bar, where I enjoyed the company of and drank a Nihonkai Bohemian pilsner and a yokohama Hefeweiss.I grabbed myself a Gambrinus for the journey back to Thrash zone.The gambrinus wasnt bad. But I felt like nothing could 'hit the spot', as my condition wouldn't allow it.
Back at the Thrash Zone, the party was going full swing. some Americans and an Australian had joined the throng. I seem to remember one of the guys did a pretty good job (or bad, depending on if you were one of the boyfriends) of securing most of the ladies' phone numbers.
The party ended not so long after I arrived and the guys and I moved on to have a pint at the Green Sheep. This was where Josh bought Chuwy a pint!Thanks, dude! That makes it THREE people so far who have bought Chuwy a pint. Makes that blog all worth it, knowing somebody cares.

Well, stumbled home around 1am. Now it's 9am and I'm still not feeling so hot but somehow I have to battle through this oppressive heat and try to get through the day.
Who am I kidding? I don't have it so bad
I've decided. Today, I'm on the wagon.
At least for this morning...

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Pivovar Yokohama - Czech beer bar

A new bar opened up in Yokohama yesterday.
(Here is a Japanese blog entry giving some good information about the bar - I'm in one of the photos, too!)

I headed down to Sakuragicho to check it out.
Here is a pic looking towards the famous Minato Mirai skyline (Landmark Tower on the left - Japan's tallest building) and the many boats/floating bars that go out on the water. Possible choice for another evenings drinking?

This is where I was headed:
As you can see, it's quite close to Sakuragicho station.

This new bar is the inspiration of the new young brewer at Yokohama beer. He spent 3 weeks or so at a brewery in the Czech Republic and he brought that knowledge and love of beer back to Yokohama - lucky for us!
The bar makes use of what was a small counter/cafe, in the ground floor of Yokohama beer brewery restaurant, Sul Ponte Umaya no Syokutaku (phew!).

There is seating for around 15 with the possibility of more outside.
A small place with a friendly feel. Just ask these lovely ladies:
I enjoyed the pleasure of their company for a while. They'd already downed 4 or 5 before I got there, so they were in a happy mood.

I quite liked this little set up, with the beer pictures:

Here was the menu:They offered 3 Yokohama beers (IPA, Bohemian pilsner & Kita Kamakura no Megumi) as well as one guest beer on tap (later they added the new Weissen to the list). At the opening, this was Pilsner Urquell. A gorgeous Czech pislner and reputedly the first of it's kind. He had one 30 litre barrel on tap. As soon as that's gone, then he may change to another Czech beer, probably Gambrinus premium. They also have Gambrinus, Urquell, Kozel, Kozel dark and Radegast in bottles.
As you can see, they offered a small discount for the opening day. I took full advantage of that.

Right, the beer!
My first pint was the guest beer: Pilsner Urquell.
World famous as the original Czech pilsner, this baby is nice. Dry, hoppy and easy to drink in large quantities!
It was perhaps served a little cold. The air in the brewery area (we sit down in front of the brewery) was already cool/cold. The eber was served in a chilled glass and was very, very cold. I'm not so sure this style of beer fully benefits from such a cold serving temperature. But then I'm from the UK. We drink our ale at cellar temperatures. I let my beer warm up slightly and the aroma and flavors really did develop more. Very nice. 7/10.

It was half way through my pint when I noticed the view from between my legs:
She's a temptress!

I took her suggestion and ordered another beer, while my urquell was warming up.
Next, I had the Yokohama IPA. English style and dry hopped with fuggles hops. Okay but again served too cold. When it warmed up, it got a bit better.Still, a little bland. I'm starting to get used to the American west coast IPAs that are hopped throuugh the roof but it was a nice suprise to find this brew. I think I will go back another time and give it another chance.

The food menu is very basic but they do take an effort with the presentation. I decided to try the pickles and saurkraut. They were discounted to 100yen so I was interested to see what I would get.This was the pickles.
I think it was served in an espresso saucer? It loooks nice but it was very difficult to eat from this 'plate'. I dropped a pickle on more than one occasion. Not very functional, really.

I needed another beer or five, to steady my hand.

I then had a Gambrinus premium.
This stuf was my favourite when I was in the Czech Republic. Nice and malty. A good beer. 1200 here is cheaper than the 1500yen that bars in Shibuya charge.

Next was the Yokohama beer Bohemian pilsner.
Not a bad attempt. Quite nice but just tasted a little too 'soft'. Maybe the water is soft? I'm not sure. However, it is a nice beer.

Say hello to the Kozels.
I like the premium. The dark (cerny) isnt bad but the light colored one is best. I like the Kozel.
Bruddy marverrous!

The last one I tried turned out to be the least delicious. Radegast.
It was okay but a bit weak tasting, after the others.

I was joined by my friend, Tim and we continued to drink.
I had another draught Urquell then headed off with Tim to hit the Thrash Zone.

Here's a Nagahama ale:
Very unique taste. p.s. Thrash had their 2nd anniversary party on Sunday.

Pivovar Yokohama 6/10
Not a great choice here but it's about the Czech beer and you get that so I like it. Interestng to try the other guest beers when they are on tap and great to have another good bar to drink at in Yokohama. Not everything needs to be in Tokyo! Nice effort from the young brewer. Děkuji ti!

Apologies: This was a very quick write up, as I had to rush to try and catch a rugby game.

p.s. since then, I went back there and it turns out the Urquell 30litre barrel lasted only one day. They now have on 20l of a special beer from Ishikawa prefecture, made by a Czech brewer. It's the Nihonkai club Bohemian pilsner:
Not bad, but I think I prefer Yokohama beer's Bohemian pilsner. They both taste, well, a little soft.

Also, Yokohama Beer's new hefeweissen is on tap!It smelled glorious and had a good heavy mouthfeel and lots of body to it, but it was just too sweet. Almost sickly so. Wasn't easy to finish. A bit less sweet and it could be a nice little beer. But too sweet for me.
Hmmm... ...I think I need to give it another go!

The schedule for the next beers goes something like this:
  • Nihonkai bohemian pilsner 20l
  • Kozel 30l
  • Nihonkai dark lager (cerny) 20l
  • Gambrinus 30l
  • Kozel cerny (dark lager) 30l
  • ??? Who knows what's next???
I expect Kozel may be on tap in a few days.