Saturday night I arrange to meet Jonno and Chuwy for a Yokohama pub crawl with the gf. We had grand plans to hit Full Monty, Craft Beer Bar, Pivovar + Yokohama Brewery, Pivo, Thrash Zone, and Cheers – but with a detour to the dock to drink the homebrew I brought and some excellent beer brought by Chuwy and with Thrash being unexpectedly closed (will I ever get to go there?), we only hit three bars. But drinking beer outside in the beautiful Yokohama dock was fantastic – reminded me of living in HK and going to TST harbour.

First bar of the night for was Full Monty, to enjoy British food while waiting for J&C to turn up.

The Full Monty, Yokohama

The Full Monty, Yokohama

Inside the place is more like an outback Aussie pub than a British pub. Not just the wooden decor, but the way half the people there seemed to be regulars, chatting like in some remote Aussie village.

Inside The Full Monty

Inside The Full Monty

Clive, the owner, seemed to go out his way to make little friendly comments to everyone whenever he could, eg. serving beer, taking away the food plates.

Full Monty Beer Menu

Full Monty beer menu

Beer menu was a bit lacking to be honest – quite a lot was unavailable, and the guest beer was a rather standard Pedigree. A very British selection but not my ideal choices – could do with having a British IPA there or a few craft bottles. I hear Clive has plans for 2 extra taps with craft beer, let’s hope that happens.

That said, the London Pride and The Pedigree were the best examples I’ve had of those beers in a long time. Perfect temperature, perfect carbonation, bursting with flavour, and proper British pours. Clive took care pouring the beer – letting beer settle, overfilling when there was too much head etc. Other places serve beers with huge heads – it was refreshing to see real British pouring skill. Made me feel homesick.

For food we ordered the chicken tortilla and pie of the day (Cornish Pastie). Portions were huge, and while the meat in the pastie was a little fatty for my liking, I have to say that the chicken tortilla was fantastic. It’s been a long time since I’ve had chicken so perfectly cooked in a pub – juicy, tasty, I would go back for the chicken alone.

Chuwy having a series of disasters, the gf and I moved on to the hard to find Craft Beer Bar to wait for him and Jonno there.

Craft Beer Bar, Yokohama

Craft Beer Bar, Yokohama

Bloody difficult to find this Craft Beer Bar. It’s hidden on down this back street:

A little off the beaten track

A little off the beaten track

The Google Map linked from Boozelist has the CBB in the wrong place. Here’s a map with directions:

Map: Full Monty & Craft Beer Bar

Map: Full Monty & Craft Beer Bar

Apologies for the wacky numbering – added 8, 9, 10 as a bit of an afterthought.

To get to Full Monty from the station, come out the south exit and walk to the main road on your right. Follow the road to the YMCA. Just past there is a a convenience store – turn left there and Full Monty is on your right.

To get to Craft Beer Bar from Full Monty, turn right and walk until the crossing with Royal Host. Then turn right again and walk a few blocks. After Bar Bar Bar on your right hand side, at the next crossing you’ll see Green Bowl on your right and a big car park on your left. Go left, walking down the side of the car park (as shown in the photo above). CBB is on the right.

To get to Craft Beer Bar from the station, come out the south exit and walk to the main road on your right. Follow the road to the YMCE and keep walking until you get to Hotto Motto on your left. Take the left there between Hotto Motto and the car park, then keep walking. You’ll pass Green Bowl on your right as you come to a small road. Cross that road and keep going – CBB is on the right.

Now you know how to get there, is it worth going? Here’s the beer menu:

Craft Beer Bar beer menu

Craft Beer Bar beer menu

Yeah, I can barely read it also – but there’s some good beer there, and the gf is Japanese.

Prices are a respectable 1000yen for 500ml, with minimal head. Very good. While waiting for Jonny and Chuwy, we had Shiga Kogen IPA, Minoh Sansho Pale Ale, and Hakusekikan Mikage Black Summer Stout. The IPA was excellent as always; Sansho “Japanese herb” Pale Ale was an “aquired taste” (ie. pretty awful); Mikage Black was a respectable enough porter, but with a bit brown sugar or oaty taste. Not too bad.

Inside Craft Beer Bar

Inside Craft Beer Bar

Good choice of beers, excellent pours, condition, and prices, no cover charge, and a friendly owner – the only thing that lets CBB down is the slightly stifled atmosphere. With jazz playing in the background, and people talking in whispers, at first the atmosphere can be a bit intimidating, like people are scared to make a sound and let go.

Whether we’d had a suitable amount of beer by then or whether it was just the influence of their wacky presence, that feeling mostly disappeared when the comedy duo that is Chuwy and Jonno arrived. From then on, the atmosphere was mostly forgotten about as the gf and I watched both of them interrupt each other’s sentences and start (but not finish) more stories than the Mr Men collection. Jonno: I never did find out what happened at that wedding you went to – do tell! Watching Chuwy and Jonno talk is like watching a tennis match – the ball of conversation jumping left right left right as it gets spanked back and forth. Top guys though – a lot of fun.

Beer consumed, we headed to Yamashita park to enjoy the view and drink my homebrew and some excellent beers Chuwy brought along.

Yokohama dock at night...

Yokohama dock at night...

It was awesome sitting outside next to the arbour drinking beer – it was really relaxing.  I was even getting used to the tennis style conversation by now.

First beer outside was a bottle of Ballast Point Calico kindly brought along by Chuwy. You might recall I found this beer so bad at Cataratas last time that I sent it back – the bottle was much much better, with none of the funky taste of the Cataratas draft. I’m convinced now that I must have got the first pour after cleaning at Cataratas, which would explain why, when they tried the beer after I complained about it, they thought it was normal. Bad show, Cataratas. Still, at least they replaced it free.

...we were not the only ones sitting outside drinking

...we were not the only ones sitting outside drinking

Next we went through my selection of homebrew:

  • Don’t Mention The War Pilsner
  • America v Britain Superpower IPA
  • Coconut Wheat Porter
  • Let’s drinking White Ale
  • Let’s Drinking with enjoy Our IPA

Neither Jonno or Chuwy threw up or sprayed their beers in disgust, so they must have been drinkable. Favourite of the night was the Coconut Wheat Porter I think – I’m going to have to make some more of this because I think the current 3G keg is going to run out pretty soon.

A big thanks to Jonno and Chuwy for their comments throughout the tasting. It’s really interesting to get comments from “into it” beer drinkers – they pick up different things from homebrewers and friends. Very informative.

HaandBryggeriet dark force

HaandBryggeriet dark force

Final beer outside was this lovely HaandBryggeriet dark force, another one of those “Best beer in the world” contenders, and brought along by Chuwy. I’ve got into the habit recently of moving to Imperial strength beers at the end of the night, so this was the perfect ending. Lots of great flavour in there – I would definitely drink this again.

Leaving the park we headed to Thrash Zone, which was unexpectedly closed. Every time I go to Thrash Zone it is suspiciously closed – just like Holic in Kichijoji. But unlike Holic, outside Thrash there are no signs at all. No clue that the bar is even there. I’m beginning to think this bar doesn’t exist and Chuwy has added it to Boozelist to draw punters into the girlie bar next door for comedy value.

From Thrash we headed to Cheers, which happened to have St Bernardus 12 on tap, and where the bar staff did know Chuwy’s name:

St Bernardus Abt 12 on tap at Cheers

St Bernardus Abt 12 on tap at Cheers

This is supposedly a very similar recipe to “The best beer in the world” Westvleteren 12 that I had a few weeks ago.

And in the glass

And in the glass

Jonno and Chuwy seemed to want to snort theirs like beer cocaine. Much laughing ensured, followed by posh beer aficionado type talk of the differences between the B12 and W12… so much talk that we lost track of time and had to down the beer and leg it for the last train. Great beer aficionados we are.

Comparing the B12 and W12 – the B12 definitely lacks the sparkle of the sugary tingly aftertaste of the W12, though I’m not sure whether that’s due to it being on draft or not. I’ll refrain from making final comments on this beer until I can taste it in bottles.

Jonno, Chuwy: It was awesome meeting your guys – thanks for an entertaining night. We must try to do a proper Hama pub crawl one time soon.

Read Chuwy’s account of the night here. Jonno’s to come.

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