Browsing articles tagged with " Beer"
Sep 20, 2012
Ben

Watering Hole: Home-brew heaven in Yoyogi

Japan’s homebrew hero Ichiri Fujiura and his wife Michiko Tsutsui, a former manager at Vivo, have pooled talents to bring thirsty Tokyoites a new addition to the jibiru circuit. Watering Hole promises a nice marriage of domestic and international selections, with big hitters such as Stone and BrewDog alongside local breweries like Isekedoya and Harvest Moon.

The nineteen taps—handmade by Fujiura—plus two hand-pumps mix creative choices and crowd-pleasers. Beer styles run the gamut from pilsner to barley wine, with something to satisfy every taste. Better yet, next year the couple’s adjacent brewery, Tharsis Ridge, will add its own craft beer to the lineup. Most pints run ¥1,000-1,300 yen; a better deal than the half-pints, which start at ¥750. The indecisive can spring for a beer flight for ¥1,000.

To start, I opted for Beer Buddy’s New Zealand IPA, a hoppily crisp beer that suited the weather perfectly. My partner went for Nihonkai Club’s Bohemian Style Pils, and ended up with a glorified Ebisu. Not bad, but not great. We quickly moved on, ready for something heavier. Epic Brewing’s Rio’s Rompin’ Rye and Ballast Point’s Tongue Buckler seemed to fit the bill.

At 10 percent ABV, many bars serve the latter in a smaller snifter or tulip glass. Watering Hole gives you a pint. This alters the flavor slightly, emphasizing the hops more than the sweetness, and it proved the favorite. Epic’s Rye, on the other hand, seemed heavier and cloudier than on a previous tasting. We asked if it was the bottom of the keg.

Let me tell you: this staff knows their stuff. We found out how long the keg had run, that it was from the middle, and that it was a live beer, accounting for the taste change. Even more impressive was the friendly, helpful manner of the answer. These are people who love their beer.

On our way to being sozzled, we deemed it an appropriate time for food. The menu is small but varied. The organic green salad (¥700) is fresh and generous, but the dressing underwhelming. We wished we’d ordered the sausage (¥600)— we salivated every time the sizzling platters went out. The fried hops (¥350) come with a warning on the menu—“bitter!!”—but the flavor is nuanced. They paired nicely with the heavier-bodied Rye; less so with the already complex Tongue Buckler.

Luckily for jibiru fans this bar lives up to its name, offering a good range served by helpful staff, and decent food alongside. Skip the water, and drink more beer.

Menu: Japanese & English
Price Range: Half-pints from ¥750; pints from ¥1,000
Smoking Rules: Nonsmoking seats available
Seating Tips: At the bar or by the window
Pros: Nice selection and good location
Cons: Over-priced half pints
Address: 5-26-5-103 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku
Tel: 03-6380-6115
Station: Yoyogi
Hours: Open daily 3-11:30pm
Homepage: http://wateringhole.jp

Jun 28, 2012
Francesco Agresti

The Full Monty

By Jeff W. Richards

Now just three minutes from Hinodecho station, The Full Monty is back after a hiatus as Kannai’s Three Lions pub, reverting to its original name from its Higashi Kanagawa days. Smaller and cozier, the new venue offers the convivial atmosphere every neighborhood pub should have. It’s still smoke-free, and their made-from-scratch English pub menu is still intact—along with their proper Imperial pint serving taps.

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