More craft brew for the Yokohama crew
Bay Brewing Yokohama had its long-anticipated opening in August. Shinya Suzuki, proprietor and head brewer, who has, until recently, been honing his craft at Yokohama Brewery, is the latest brewmaster to launch his own pub among the other craft beer bars and taprooms in Yokohama’s new “Beer District” in the Kannai/Bashamichi area.
With high expectations and big thirsts, we stopped by on a sultry Saturday night, salivating at the thought of a new batch of malts to savor. We were greeted with a little less than expected—but not in a bad way. Though Bay Brewing Yokohama has some great craft brews on tap, sadly, none are proprietary—for now. It appears that the opening has been soft, offering a temporary selection of taps from other regional breweries, until their equipment is running full-tilt.
In the meantime, their selection of Japanese brews changes every day. We began with a pint of the Aomori Oirase amber lager (¥900) that looked more the color of a pale ale. Nicely malted and full-bodied—definitely on the nose for those who like it hoppy—were it not for the energy-sapping heat, we would have guzzled it down. Definitely a treat for fall.
Next up were pints of the Shiga Kogen IPA from Nagano. After the previous hops blast, Shiga Kogen’s IPA was not overly bitter and its golden-amber color and grapefruit finish had us wondering if we had actually gotten our rounds mixed up—though not for long, as our bellies were adamant about getting some grub.
We ordered some nibbles off the daily sheet, all of the deep-fried goodness variety: home-style onion rings (¥400), goya chips (¥500) and a batch of deep-fried Camembert. The onion rings were history in no time, and the goya chips were deliciously bitter and salty—and seemed to last forever (well, considering how wolfishly we eat…). Our eagerness to mow down on hot cheese left us burning, but that just gave us another reason to order more beer.
It’s not hard to sit in Bay Brewing Yokohama and anticipate the carefully crafted brews soon to come, and Shinya-san assured us that they would be available before the year’s end. The lack of their own beer certainly didn’t stop the small but steady trickle of patrons into the pub, though.
Blues was the name of the game music-wise, with Sonny Boy Williamson sticking out like a metal guitar slide on a hurt finger, and Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy” encouraging bobbing heads, table-tapping backbeat and man-sized gulps.
We ended things with some half-pints of the Kaze no Tani pilsner (¥600), which went down so quickly, one round became two. The classic pils from Shizuoka was dry and light with an unobtrusive, citrusy fruit finish. Ending with a light beer, though not our habit, proved to be a pleasant way to end the evening, perfectly complimenting the hot weather. It earned a unanimous vote for best beer.
There’s a definite “cart-before-the-horse” feel to Bay Brewing Yokohama—their own eagerly awaited brews aren’t ready yet and the pub itself feels a bit unfinished. In the meantime, its convenient location—just a short walk from Kannai station—makes it a great place to start the evening off with some good craft beers before exploring the area’s brew pubs, tap rooms, craft beer bars and other entertainment.