The people at Whisk-e Ltd., who handle distribution for BrewDog craft beer in Japan, have wanted to open a bar in Tokyo since the UK locations opened by the bad boys of Scottish brewing became a hit. It took a while for things to come together—Stockholm and Sao Paulo opened in the meantime—but the Tokyo branch has been worth the wait.
At any given time, it features 20 selections on tap, half of which are BrewDog originals and the others are the “Best of the Rest,” or guest beers. Aside the six core BrewDog selection on tap, there are always four limited-edition options, leaving fans spoiled for choice. Some options are small-batch, experimental brews of which only two or three kegs are produced, and this is the only place were you can sample them.
The list of guest beers reads like a “brew’s who” of the craft scene. Most of these are sourced from abroad (Mikkeller, 8Wired, Lagunitas, Heretic Brewing, etc.), but there are also Japanese suds on tap from the likes of Minoh and Shiga Kogen.
If you want to give your taste buds a little break from beer, you can try the selection of whiskies and other spirits—rare stuff at ridiculously low prices—or have some nosh. There are the usual cheese and meat board offerings, but also a short menu of dishes designed to complement the various styles of beer on offer, like a pork chop dish cooked with 5am Saint amber ale. It’s all about using good ingredients—provenance being very important—and creating dishes that come with a little bit of a story. To give you an idea of the sort of thinking that reigns in the kitchen, the staff is experimenting with infusing olive oil with hops and also trying to produce a hop salt. Be prepared to be surprised.
Be prepared also to spend some time gazing around—not at fellow punters but at the quirky punk-meets-retro interior designed by Tokiko Okabe of Scandinavian Modern. Much of it was shipped over from the UK, including a huge red leather chesterfield, seats from an old Sheffield cinema and recycled floorboards from a Scottish high school gym that are now used to cover the outer walls of the cold room. There are also two so-called pata pata boards, listing the beers available. They look old arrival departure flight info boards and are connected to the PA system so when a new beer is put on tap, you can actually hear the beer list changing—that’s the pata pata sound.
BrewDog Roppongi is the sort of place that could easily become your second living room: endlessly stimulating and dangerously comfortable… be warned.
BrewDog Roppongi. 5-2-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku; Tel: 03-6447-4160. Mon-Thu 5pm-midnight, Fri-Sun 11am-midnight. www.brewdogbar.jp