Popeye Beer Club
I had business trip to Japan and was staying near the TCAT bus terminal in Downtown Tokyo. A friend suggested a handful of different brewpubs in the area to visit. I chose to go to a place called the Popeye Beer Club because it was close to my hotel. The front desk was able to provide directions. Popeye Bear Club was only about three subway stops away. Taking the subway can also part of the adventure. As I was buying my ticket a woman came up to ask if I needed any help. She moved to Japan (from South Carolina) out of college for a job 8 years ago, and never moved back.
It turned out to be a lucky night as they had a cask beer tasting event that evening. In addition to tasting a variety of Japanese craft beers, I also enjoyed drinking with some new friends. I met a few local Japanese craft beer fans, as well as a couple from Australia on vacation. They said if I ever get to Brisbane, Australia I need to look them up. They will take me on a tour of all the great microbrews in Brisbane.
On my second visit to Popeye Beer Club, they had 70 beers on tap. This was the first time I ate here, the food was good. We were a bit adventurous and tried the Emu.
Location: 2-18-7 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku
Nearest Metro: Ryogoku Station, Sobu and Oedo Lines
Updated Feb '16
Devil Craft has three locations in Tokyo - Kanda, Hamamatsucho and Gotanda, which opened in the summer of 2016. They are a known for Chicago-style deep dish pizza and craft beer. The Hamamatsucho is the bigger of the 3 locations but none of them are huge. It has 22 craft beers on tap, followed by 20 at Gotanda and 14 at Kanda. Taps are usually a mix of American and Japanese craft beer. They also have a few of their own beers on tap, which they have been brewing for about a year (Sep 2015). There are usually different beers on tap at each location, with maybe a few exceptions and their own. Their brewery is located in Oimachi, but there is no taproom there. Each location is always very busy and it appeared that most everyone was there for food as well as the beer. I was a bit surprised the pizza cooks were Americans. Due to the heavy traffic during peak hours, table reservations have a time limit of slightly more than 2 hours.
An example of some of the Japanese beers they offer include:
Each location is in very close proximity to a metro stop although the Kanda location is slightly more difficult to find the first time unless you are familiar with the neighborhood. You won't need to walk more than a block to access any of the locations from the metor exit.
The newest location, Gotanda, is not huge but it is on the 9th floor with large windows looking onto the city. It only seats about 50 people.
Location (Hamamatsucho): Risewell Bldg 1F, 2-13-12 Hamamatsucho
Nearest Metro: Hamamatsucho Station, Yamanote Line; Daimon Station, Oedo and Asakusa Lines
Location (Kanda): Ishikawa Bldg 4-2-3 Nihonbashi-muromachi
Nearest Metro: Kanda Station, Ginza Line
Location (Gotanda): 9F Seijitsu Bldg. Nishigotanda 2-7-8
Nearest Metro: Gotanda Station, Yamanote and Asakusa Lines
Updated Jun '17
Craft Beer Terminal
Really unique little place about a 5 block walk from the Ikebukuro Train station. It was shockingly small, 3-4 tables and a couple of small bar areas 6-8 stools. The beer server was wonderful. Luckily his English was slightly better than my Japanese. They only had a Japanese menu, so we enjoyed the challenge of translating everything to English so we could find it on Untappd. They had 4 beers on tap and a few in bottles. Their porter keg ran dry on my pour, so we switched it out for a new keg of Alps Weizen from Minamishinshu Beer Co. This place is well worth a visit for 2-3 beers. However, then move on as it is probably not a place to spend the night.
Update: This place is now reported as closed.
Location: 1-31-15, Toshima-ku
Nearest Metro: Ikeburkuro Station, multiple lines including Yamanote and Marunouche
Updated Nov '16
Tokyo Beer Hall and Beer Terrace 14
Tokyo Beer Hall is located in an office tower near Otemachi train station. It was a bit hard to find at first. I could see it but could not get to it (look for the elevator, not the escalator). This place is new, all glass and steel. Not the usual craft beer look or feel. The customers were definitely professional or business people, many wearing business attire. There were about 10-15 tables, some large enough to hold 8-10 people. They also had outdoor patio, however is was raining so nobody was out there. Nice place for food and beer, however a bit expensive $8 a pint. They primarily serve Coedo beer. A very nice small brewery in Kawagoe area, which was once referred to as little Tokyo. Food looked very good, however I just stopped by for a couple beers.
Location: 1-4-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda
Nearest Metro: Otemachi and Tokyo Stations, multiple lines
Updated Sep '15
ØL by Oslo Brewing, Norway is a recent addition to the Tokyo craft beer scene. It's located in the heart of Shibuya, a major shopping, dining and entertainment district. They have 20 beers on tap, half of which were from Norway and the other half were Japanese beer. Considering it's just a place for beer prices are a bit steep as compared to other places nearby and noted on our site. Since there is no food served here, it clears out quickly during dinner-time as everyone heads to places where food is served. I was hoping for a little more premium style beers from Norway but the ones they had were more or less average.
Øl is a Danish word which translates simply to 'beer'.
Location: 37-10 Udagawa-cho
Nearest Metro: Shibuya Station, Yamanote, Ginza, Fukutoshin and Hanzomon Lines
Updated Jun '17