Free Spirits Brewing : The Bottom Line
While Free Spirits Brewing does need to work on their glass washing techniques – more about that later in this review – I can’t knock their beers or the bar either. It’s a decent little place to find some good locally made beers along with some tasty good. It does get quite busy at Free Spirits Brewing so make sure you either book a table or get there early enough to score one of the larger tables. The whole place is non-smoking, has no table charge, and offers up some free Wifi too.
Free Spirits Brewing : The Full Review
Free Spirits Brewing was not the first choice for me on my whistle stop tour of castles across Japan. I actually wanted to get to Kogane as it was closer to Himeji Castle. However, even though the Tuesday was a national holiday, it was the third Tuesday of the month, so Kogane was closed, in spite of being really busy on the day and they could have made lots of money from all the tourists in the area, people need a holiday. After a quick search, Free Spirits Brewing came up on the map and off we went, in the pouring rain, to grab some beers.
Free Spirits Brewing is located a couple of minutes away from Sanyo Himeji station, though it is within walking distance from Himeji Station too. Free Spirits Brewing opened in August 2022. Miyazaki-san, the head brewer and owner of Free Spirits Brewing, used to live and work in the USA and discovered a love for craft beer while on dispatch on the West Coast in California. Once he returned to Japan, after a few more years of working as an office worker, he worked at another brewery in Himeji, before opening up his own brewery.
Free Spirits Brewing : Atmosphere & Interior
There are three floors to Free Spirits Brewing : the first floor is the main brewing space, the second floor is the main bar and taproom, while the third floor is an outside drinking area. However, on the day we went to Free Spirits Brewing, the skies had decided to unleash a barrage of rain and as such, the third floor was closed off. It seems though that from pictures, it’s a nice little drinking area, overlooking Sanyo Himeji station.
Inside on the second floor, there is space for around 14 people at various tables and counter combinations and on the day we went, 75% of the bar was filled up within 20 minutes of arriving. The third floor has space for around double of the second, so around 28 people, again at various table combinations. I kind of wish the weather had been nice so we could have done some people watching. The whole place though is non-smoking and has no table charge either, along with some free wifi – perfect for tourists to upload their pictures of Himeji Castle.
Free Spirits Brewing : Beer & Tap Information
On the day we went, there were 6 taps of craft beer one, though not all were beers from Free Spirits Brewing; however, the extra tap was from a local brewery that the owner tries to rotate around when he doesn’t have enough beers. The beers come in two sizes: medium (280 ml) from 750 yen, and large (420 ml) from 1100 yen, with prices including tax. There wasn’t any happy hour, nor any drink plan. The biggest issue I had with Free Spirits Brewing was that the glasses were not particularly well cleaned – and that is me being generous. If the glasses are not being cleaned properly, then I hate to imagine what else is not being cleaned properly.
There is also an option for some takeaway beers in bottles, though when I asked when they were bottled, the staff said it was about a month ago though they were stored in fridges. I don’t know if that’s a good sign or not really if the beers are a month old but I am guessing that’s me just being unnecessarily fussy.
Free Spirits Brewing : Food Information
The food at Free Spirits Brewing consisted of some basic bar choices found in Japan – lots of fried stuff with some snack things – and that’s purely because the kitchen preparation area is tiny. The BeerTengoku staple of chips were on the money and they came up crunchy and soft – the perfect combination. The menus were all in Japanese, though the owner did ask if we could read the menu. There are some pictures on the menu but vegetarians may find it hard to get something that is plant based as it seemed everything contained meat in some form or another. The prices do include tax so there are not extra surprises at the end of drinking.
Free Spirits Brewing : Details
- Open : Tuesdays to Friday 17:00 – 22:30 (L.O Food 21:30 Drink 22:00) Weekends + Holidays 14:00 – 22:00 (L.O Food 21:00 Drink 21:30)
- Closed : Mondays
- Happy Hour : –
- Phone : 079-280-2850
- Homepage (in Japanese) : https://freespirits.base.shop/
- Social Media : Instagram