Hikone Brewing : The Bottom Line
At the time of writing, Hikone Brewing was more style than substance but with some work, and perhaps a shuttle bus to the nearest station, Hikone Brewing could be a great place to hang out and drink. The views are perhaps some of the best you can have while drinking a beer, but the beer does some work doing to it. There is a good variety of beers on tap though and you can bring in some food too. It’s a place that is also well suited for families and pet owners, especially with the outside drinking area.
Hikone Brewing : The Full Review
Hikone Brewing was a recommendation from a brewing friend but I was warned – either get there by car or have their smallest beer and then relax for a bit. I asked him why and he mentioned it’s a bit out of the way for people without a car. Well they weren’t joking as the nearest station is Kawase Station which is about 6 kms away. I was hoping to be able to drink a few beers here then walk back to it, but 6 km of walking after drinking is not a fun way to spend the day, so instead I ordered beers to be delivered to my house, and resigned myself to the fact that I could have one small glass of beer over 30 minutes and then relax for a bit. Not my ideal way to enjoy something like this but them be the breaks when you’re cycling.
Hikone Brewing opened in May 2021, right during one of the (many) waves of Covid-19 in Japan, but with its location, and large outside area, I guess social distancing was pretty easy for them? The goal with Hikone Brewing is for it to be a community brewing company, with local produce used in the beers, and an eventual aim of making a beer that uses 100% of its ingredients from the local Hikone area. How that is going to be done with hops though remains to be seen as Japan isn’t known for being a good area to grow hops.
Hikone Brewing : Atmosphere & Interior
Hikone Brewing is located at the base of Mt. Kojin in Hikone city, and is also across from Sone Marsh and Lake Biwa so it would be a shame to spend the time drinking indoors when you can have views of the countryside around you. That’s not to say the inside is not a nice space, it is, but outside drinking is one of the main draws for coming to Hikone Brewing. Inside, there is space for 8 people, and outside has space for around 20 people, though with the nice soft grass, you can probably sit on the floor if you so wish. The whole place is non-smoking and has no table charge, though I didn’t notice any wifi inside the building.
On the day I went there, some families turned up with young kids, and they were happy to run around on the grass, so be wary of that if you do go. Moreover, some people turned up later with a small dog – the yappy kind of one that has a loud high pitch bark but is small enough to be carried in one hand.
Hikone Brewing : Beer & Tap Information
Hikone Brewing has 8 taps of craft beer on, and of course, they are all their own beers. As I was riding, I was stuck having a small beer but there are three options of beers available: small (180 ml) at ¥400 / ¥500, medium (240 ml) at ¥500 / ¥600, and then large (330 ml) at ¥600 / ¥700 with all the prices inclusive of tax. Why the two prices? Well some of the beers are priced a little higher than others, and those are marked with a black diamond on the menu.
I didn’t notice any happy hour or beer flights on offer, but Hikone Brewing does do growler fills if you are driving or cycling and want to drink lots. Moreover, Hikone Brewing does have bottles of most of the beers on tap, that can also be shipped to your house chilled – which is what I did. The beer I had, a weizen, was ok – it wasn’t going to win any awards but it was pretty much to style, if not a little too chilled, but it had plenty of time to warm up.
Hikone Brewing : Food Information
There wasn’t any food besides some mixed nuts dispensers that had a variety of nuts and dried fruits available for around ¥8 per 10g. I was told that if I had my own food with me, then I was more than welcome to sit and eat – would have been nice to have known that beforehand I guess. The menus had some English on them – enough for you to order a beer I guess?
Hikone Brewing : Details
- Open : Monday / Thursday Friday 11:00 – 17:00 (L.O Drinks 16:30) Weekends + Holidays 11:00 – 18:00 (L.O Drinks 17:30)
- Closed : Tuesdays / Wednesdays
- Happy Hour : N/A
- Phone : N/A
- Homepage (in Japanese) : https://hikonebrewing.jp/
- Social Media : Facebook / Instagram