There’s Hope For Japan
There’s now every chance of getting a decent pint in Tokyo. A number of brew-pubs, micro-breweries and bars selling real beer are flourishing there, and a few, discerning Japanese are beginning to learn there’s more to life than the frozen, fizzy, tasteless offerings of Kirin, Sapporo, Asahi et al.
One of these is in a converted warehouse, down by the waterside of Tokyo Bay on Tenno-zu Isle in Shinagawa-ku, one stop along the Haneda airport monorail from Hammatsucho station. It’s called T.Y.Harbor, it is right on the water, and does a particularly pleasant hoppy pale ale. The most famous bar for real beer in Tokyo, which sells the products of an assortment of Japanese micro-breweries, is Popeye in Sumida-ku (Ryogoku street). Popeye boasts that it always has 40 micro-brews on tap. That sounds rather too much if they’re to be drunk young. Another beer bar with about 20 beers on tap in Ushi-Tora in Setagaya-ku, but it’s tricky to find being on the second story of a building in Kitazawa street. It’s a bit more trendy than Popeye. Since micro-breweries were first licensed to operate by the Japanese government in 1994, around 280 have been established but, apparently, their current output does not even represent 1 per cent of the total amount of beer drunk in Japan.