Compared to other well-known beer venues, the glasses are slightly smaller and pricier, costing from ¥800 for 200ml, and starting at ¥1,000 for 300-350ml. The smaller sizes mean you can sample a greater variety with less damage on your liver—despite the greater damage to your wallet.
The lemongrass ale was not-too-cloyingly sweet and quickly proved a favorite with the ladies. The Pizza Port spiced double bock was rather disappointing, however. Instead of an olfactory feast equivalent to a clove-aromatic pumpkin pie, we got a thin-bodied, surprisingly watery brew with a bitter top. We finished up with a Pizza Port Antwerp Belgian, also thin and insipid for my taste. Perhaps my palate had been blown out by the deliciously hoppy and slightly bitter finish of the Shigakogen House IPA.
Befuddled by our evident enthusiasm on our second visit when we saw Bear Republic’s Mach 10 on the board, the bartender wended over to chat beer and offer recommendations. The Republic’s IPA had a thicker body and sweetness that nicely balanced its hoppiness. I was let down by the Scottish Ale (Highway 78) brewed by the heavyweight trio of Stone, Greenflash, and Pizza Port, though that’s a style of beer I have yet to appreciate. The Maui Big Swell IPA was tasty, though not in a knock-your-socks-off way. The House IPA—a definite winner.
An appetizing menu of classic beer belly-fortifying snacks (pizza, burgers, etc.) are on offer—with a slightly upscale twist.