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.
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
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.