Sakazuki Brewing One Paragraph Review
Sakazuki Brewing is a welcome addition with lots of potential to do well though the beers do need to either be aged or better planned out to ensure that customers have something to drink. The prices are cheap for the beer you get and the atmosphere feels like what a brewpub should be like. All the prices on the menus include tax (yes!), there isn’t a table charge (double yes!), and it’s non-smoking (triple yes!); however, there isn’t any wifi. For those worried about the lack of English, Kanayama-san does speak some English and was very welcoming too.
Sakazuki Brewing Full Review
First, some background about the brewpub. Kanayama-san graduated in Microbiology and used to work for one of the big four breweries, cough Asahi cough before having the idea to open a brewery. Sakazuki Brewing, which means chalice in English, has the honour of being Japan’s first crowd-sourced brewery as it raised the majority of its capital on Makuake, a Japanese version of Indiegogo. With over 1.5 million yen raised, Kanayama-san and co went about the task of designing and building the brewpub themselves, really taking the concept of craft to its basic components.
Sakazuki Brewing is located about five minutes from Kita-Senju station which itself is about about ten minutes north of Ueno on a variety of train lines. It’s hard to notice where Sakazuki Brewing was on the day we went as there were no signs along the way to the bar and also it meant passing World Beer Market. From the outside, the brewpub looks to have situated itself among a residential district, akin to Koenji Bakushu Kobo. From the outside of Sakazuki Brewing, you can see some of the daily brewing, and also cleaning process too.
The inside is plain and simple – well, functional would be the best word. From the inside, you can observe the whole brewing process from start to finish through the perspex windows and the open plan kitchen also means the smells waft over – which is either a good thing if you like the grilled sausage smell, or bad as the ventilation of the bar could do with some work. There is plenty of space inside with six seats at the counter, two long tables next to the brewery area, and four smaller tables next to the way. The bar is entirely non-smoking as well so I guess that explains the lack of ventilation.
As Sakazuki Brewing was relatively new, it had only been open for a couple of weeks when we went, many of the beers that were initially advertised had either sold out or run out. The original Makuake campaign allowed supporters to enjoy the seven beers instead of four for 2000yen and from the photos on their Facebook page, it looked like more than a few people took them up on the offer. The menu had four beers on it, with three from Sakazuki Brewing and one from Asahi though there were nine taps so there is going to be growth. Beers come in one size, which is 300ml, and cost ¥540 which includes tax. The initial pours were a tad on the large head size but Kanayama-san asked for our opinion and then started pouring beers for everyone in the bar with about one or two centimeters of head – it seems that the crowd effect does have a positive influence.
The food menu at Sakazuki Brewing is fairly varied and well-priced with both prices pre-tax and prices including tax so there are no surprises at the end and there isn’t a table charge either. The menu for food and beer were both Japanese only; however, Kanayama-san did take the time to explain about some of the dishes in English but once she said “chips”, we were sold. They were more like potato wedges and were extremely hot so let them cool down first before eating them.
Sakazuki Brewing Details
Open: Wednesday to Thursday 16:00 ~ 22:30 Saturday 13:00 ~ 22:30 Sunday 13:00 ~ 21:30
Close: Monday and Tuesday
How to Get to Sakazuki Brewing
The closest station to Sakazuki Brewing is Kita-Senju which is on the JR East Jōban Line, Tobu Skytree Line, Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, and the Tsukuba Express. Take the east exit and walk towards Tokyo Denki University and along the road. Once you have passed FamilyMart, take the next right.