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Koenji Bakushu Kobo in Koenji, Tokyo

Koenji Bakushu Kobo Outside

Koenji Bakushu Kobo is part of the chain of Bakushu Kobo’s slowly making its way across the Chuo line in Kanto. Koenji Bakushu Kobo, which literally translates to “beer workshop” is best described as a brewpub. The chain started out in 2009 when Nomura quit his job as an advertising executive to start making ‘tezukuri’ as he calls it or hand-made beer. He also built the interior, and some of the exterior of Koenji Bakushu Kobo by himself too. Industrious…

Koenji Bakushu Kobo is located in what appears to be a residential area and if you’re not careful, you’ll walk straight past it. The wood deck could be someone’s back yard and it was only when I asked a local that pointed me in the right direction I found it. Admittedly, after visiting Cafe Bankan and then Craft Beer Market Koenji, my codrinker and myself were a bit worse for wear, so I’m blaming that for my inability to find it on my first go.

The inside of Koenji Bakushu Kobo is decked out in so much would, I wondered how many trees had been cut down to decorate it. Bags of crisp malt laid neatly organised on the floors though after who-knows how many number of beers, they resembled platforms in a video game to jump over. Tables are encrusted with hops that appear to be set in resin on the tables. Possible fossils in the making perhaps? We arrived around 3pm and Koenji Bakushu Kobo had already become half full with people continuing to come in.

Koenji Bakushu Kobo Menu 2

Um my zoom didn’t work and I forgot to take a closer picture.

The beers at Koenji Bakushu Kobo are ever-changing and evolving – case in point being when you go to order a beer, right above the taps are A5 signs of paper that contain information such as the name of the beer, the version of the beer i.e. v1.xx or v3.xx, the abv of the beer, the price, the brew date and finally, where appropriate, the IBUs. It is, quite literally, a case of never having the same beer twice. Nomura-san personally feels that unless he is happy with the beer, then there it will evolve though until what point, he doesn’t know. The arrow above also stated which beers were freshest, from right to left.

With seven different styles of beer on tap when we went, it was with great hesitation we chose them. First of was Blonde Ale, crisp with a little bitterness in the aftertaste and then the Black Ale, a schwarzbier style, woody and coffee-like which went down far too quickly. Followed up by the Weizen which had a huge banana flavour to it, perhaps made stronger by the Black Ale, and then finished off with the F-IPA, with the “F” standing for “fresh”, a very malty and slightly hoppy IPA.

Unfortunately, after so much drinking and food, we weren’t hungry so we didn’t try the food at Koenji Bakushu Kobo; however, what we did see looked appealing and we’ll be trying it when we go next time.

Koenji Bakushu Kobo One Paragraph Review

If you’re looking for some cheap homemade Japanese craft beer that is unusual then Koenji Bakushu Kobo is the place for you. The warm, friendly atmosphere and cheap beer make it a winner. Moreover, the chance of you getting the same beer twice is very low as the recipes are always changing. The beers are of ok enough quality to make you stay for a session but don’t go expecting something mind-blowing.

Koenji Bakushu Kobo Details

Open: Wednesday 15:00 ~ 23: 00 Food served from 17:00 ~ 22:30 Thursday to Sunday 15:00 ~ 21:00

Closed: Monday and Tuesday

Phone: 03-5373-5301

Homepage (in Japanese): http://beerkobo.web.fc2.com/kouenjiindex.html

How to Get to Koenji Bakushu Kobo

Koenji Bakushu Kobo is best reached from the north exit of JR Koenji station. It’s about a five-minute walk from there.

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Comments 3

  1. Last time i went to could hardly stomach the beers. all were off style and the only good one was actually called a different style, so if you took it at face value, that one was also bad. i hope, hope, hope they have improved but the 2/3 times ive been there over 3 years or more, they hadnt.
    They make some awful beers and occasionally something nice. Cant believe you didnt pick up on that. Maybe they’ve improved. I’m not going back in a hurry to find out. I’ve hit all their brewpubs, same thing.
    I’m actually being a lot kinder than a lot ofo ther beer geeks would be, if they were being honest.
    Might be a good idea to review places before getting drunk and trying the food etc and taking nice pics if you want this site to be taken more seriously.
    Sorry to sound negative. I realise I am. Tengoku has loads of useful info and you guys are working hard.
    For me, the smokingbankan sucks dues to high prices and smoking but koenji CBM is for me the best of the CBMs. Easily the best of the three and the cheapest.
    At koenji brewpub, if you ask for less than the 30-40% foam, you get short poured.Not a fan of that attitude.
    Nomura san (his family name, not his first name) is a friend but I always try to be honest and I wish him well and hope he is always trying to improve his beers.

    1. Thanks – we weren’t drunk by any means, worse for wear because it had a been a long day.
      If you go in expecting ok beers, then the place is ok. If I’m in the area again and have time, then will try it but not in any rush to go in there again just to try some of the beers. If I do go, then this review will be update with new opinions of the beers. Hopefully they will improve over time as will our photos too. 😉

  2. The beers are kind of homebrew-y. Maybe it’s because I stay along the Chuo line and they are convenient but I kind of like the Beer Kobo chain. They have a community pub kind of feel. The beers aren’t all terrible, they kind of taste like homebrew, for lack of a better description. The bars feel handmade too. There is an unpretentious charm to all that.

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