Tokyo a go go!
Jo's first blog post! We introduced you to the newest member of our sales team here http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article.php?id=243
If the theme of Richard’s blog is taking a Norwegian wife, mine will be a beer-centric Rough Guide to the world, beginning in Tokyo...
It’s week 2 of my new job as BrewDogJo when a call comes in from the Big Dog himself, James, wondering what I’m up to on Valentine’s weekend. “How inappropriate” I thought. We hadn’t even met. But no, he wants to know if I can take BrewDog to Japan. Next thing I know I’m at the airport waiting on the next flight to Tokyo.
Imagine removing your brain, mashing it up with some neon lights and then popping it back in your head. That’s the Tokyo-effect. Quite simply, a head fuck. But my brain did work long enough for me to take note of the following:
- Japanese Customs isn’t much fun with twelve Penguins in your bag. Was I guilty of exceeding the alcohol limit four-fold or was I practicing rare-animal trafficking?
- Japanese toilet seats are heated, have flashing lights and complemented by an automatic flushing. Amused me every time.
- After drinking Tokyo* and Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Chaos Theory, the Japanese bar owners who’d gathered to hear me talk (with the aid of a sober interpreter) suddenly understood and spoke perfect English.
- Addressing one thousand people at the Tokyo Real Ale Festival is the perfect way to get over a fear of public speaking. My baptism of fire.
- Bryan Baird, a man of American descent, with a Scottish name, makes excellent Japanese craft beer. Now my favourite non-BrewDog tipple. Look him up.
- M&S sushi will no longer cut the mustard (or do I mean wasabi?).
- Japanese iPhone translation apps do not work when communicating with taxi drivers. Google Maps does.
- The Japanese have truly mastered this craft beer scene lark, and if you get a chance - GO! Here are a few places to try:
The Dry Dock in Shimbashi. Hidden away under the railway, this teeny-weeny bar has a craft beer range of a bar twenty times its size. Great aesthetic, enthusiastic staff - a wee gem.
40 Tap Popeye. And my eyes popped! This bar has a minimum of forty craft beers on tap at any one time. Sometimes seventy!! This was the location for the festival brewers’ after-party with free and flowing beer. Yes, I said free and flowing. If I remember correctly, the beer was good and strong and the night long...
Tanakaya A stone’s throw from Mejiro station, this is an off-licence and a craft-beer-lover’s fantasy with more Japanese and US varieties than I’ve had hot dinners. And your best source of off-licensed BrewDog in the Far East. The old British phone booth in the middle of the shop is a nice, quirky touch.
Craftheads. Quite a special bar this one. Owned by Koji (if you’re English speaking; Michael, if you’re not), it’s a newly opened, stripped-back, basement bar in Shibuya with a warm welcome if somewhat eccentric. There are sixteen beers on tap for 200ml pours (no pints available). The perfect place to sample the difficult-to-get-hold-of and downright obscure beers that are out there. Southern Tier Crème Brûlée Stout anyone? Or perhaps a Stone’s Vertical Epic? Discover even more at Craftheads.
My all-too-brief Tokyo adventure left me hoping…please let there be a next time. Please.
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- Sounds like you had a great trip, and obviously you had more help than I had! I didnt find a single place with good beer, just your standard bars. Someone must have tipped you off. Kevin Burges06.03.2010
- ah jojo- did any geisha get a chance to try out the brewdog action? fab blog ladydog Sam K05.03.2010