Kyoto Beer Lab The Bottom Line
It may be off the beaten (tourist) track in Kyoto, but put Kyoto Beer Lab on your list if you’re looking for some reasonably priced craft beer in a great location. The whole place is non-smoking and mostly standing but the chilled out atmosphere, with the babbling brook-like river just outside bringing some cracking views during the year. It would be great to return to see how the in-house brews are but the lineup was solid and had some nice surprises from breweries across Japan. There is also some free WiFi in the area and also some English too on the menu.
Kyoto Beer Lab The Full Review
I found out about Kyoto Beer Lab from Kansai Beer Lovers and Mark Meli – it was due to open on the Friday I was in Kyoto; however, they hadn’t started brewing yet. The opening party was to be held and I had a dilemma – stay at Len Kyoto Kawaramachi for another couple of walk down. It wasn’t far. Only 10mins. 10 mins in Kyoto is very different from ten minutes walking in Tokyo though. Kyoto Beer Lab is also the taproom for the Chabeer Brewing Company which is also conveniently located in the same building but behind the bar. The gleaming stainless steel kettles and fermenters can be seen too.
Located near Shichijo station, Kyoto Beer Lab is found on one of the backstreets that lie in Kyoto. Don’t ask me which one as even though the layout of Kyoto makes sense (it’s in blocks that look like four sided shapes and not blobs like in Tokyo), it lies next to an off-shoot of the River Kamo. And believe me, this was one of the best walks to a bar I’ve ever done. At the tail end of Hanami, the whole street was covered with pink cherry blossoms and there were lanterns hanging above the river – talk about picturesque. The front of Kyoto Beer Lab stretches out almost to the river and you can take the beers outside with you.
But you’re not interested in that – you want to know about the inside of Kyoto Beer Lab, right? Well on the day I went, it was mostly standing with the only seats being at the counter of the bar. As such, there is no table charge and the whole place is non-smoking too. There is also a small area outside the front of the bar that you can drink too and watch the world go by. Have I mentioned how much I liked the little river that runs in front of the bar?
There are eight taps available at Kyoto Beer Lab thought what’s on tap is going to differ from what I had when I went. The opening night was dedicated towards Japanese craft beer, with a wide selection of styles on tap though they are aiming to have their own beers on tap from June onwards. It’s unknown what the split is going to be, i.e 80% in-house vs 20% other beers. The beers came in two sizes – US pint (470ml) for ¥1,000 and medium (235ml) for ¥700 and prices included tax. I didn’t notice any happy hour or beer flights but that may change in the future. I guess on opening night it was a bit too busy to really judge too much.
Likewise, the food on the opening party was a mixture of veggies, with some fried food, and some meats but it wasn’t really indicative of what is going to be on offer throughout the year. If you do go, then let us know in the comments below about the food.
Kyoto Beer Lab Details
Open: Daily 15:00 – 22:00
Happy hour: N/A
Homepage (in Japanese): N/A
How to Get to Kyoto Beer Lab in Kyoto
The closest stations to Kyoto Beer Lab are Shichijo on the Keihan Electric Railway Keihan Main Line and also Kyoto Station.