Edited 4 2017

Ikari Jyouzou (Ikari Brewery)

This is a new extension project of The Meguro Tavern initially undertaken in 2011. Located in Ebara-Nakanobu-ten minutes by car from the pub. Established with financing assistance from Tokyo Chamber of Commerce, it has taken nearly two years to get off the ground. Slow progress but a story in itself!

The current schedule saw the brewery construction completed and equipment installed by the end of Nov 2013 and the required inspections completed within Dec 2013. It took a little longer than I expected but on February 20th I finally got the green light and can hang my "licence to brew" on the wall. The brew pots were simmering and the fermentors bubbling soon after. Time frame saw April 1st 2014 as the launch of my own beers in the pub.

Suprisingly the initial license issued in April 2014 was a provisional one, and it wasn't until April 2017 that my current full license was issued. During the "provisional" period, my brewing skills and reporting skills were closely monitored by the Federal Tax Office. This was a time consuming, costly and stressful requirement but obviously I passed each of their phased tests. Now my only reporting requirement is to my local tax office as per normal. Whipppeeeee!

Plans are now afoot to expand the brewery capacity to meet the demand in the Meguro Tavern, and due to interest shown, possibly establishing a private brewing school in 2018.

The Brewery

Image

 

We have an initial maximum brewing capacity of 200 liters per week - a modest beginning- and plan to be selling these craft beers only at The Meguro Tavern.

 

The Gaffer having a pre-view

Garth Brewery

 

MT has been a member of Japan Microbrewers Associatation since 2012. JMA is one of the initial pioneers of craft beer production in Japan. JMA's Chairman, Yamanaka san, has been a valued assistant in regards my brew license application for this project. According to his statistics, craft beers have been growing annually since the beginning and currently hold about 3% of the total beer market in Japan. Japanese are getting the taste for craft beers and ales! A fellow brewer, Shinji-Pangaea, Senzoku, phoned to offer his congrats and mentioned that there had been 206 craft beer pubs/breweries in Japan and now there are 207!

I plan to brew Brtish style bitters-a type of beer that I miss in Japan. Bitters are young ales which cannot withstand the long journey to Japan from the UK. My only option is to brew them. Brew them within the constraints of the Japanese tax laws. I will get as close as I can! The tax department will still have me jumping through hoops for the next year or so, but eventually they will trust me and back off. Hopefully!!

 

The Fermentors -the heart of a craft brewery

 

Fermenters

 

The Line Up:

All the recipies I will be using are based on old British beers that have been brewed over the years in various commercial breweries in and around the UK since the 60s. My variations of these recipes have been made to comply with the Japanese Craft Beer regulations. New recipes will be created to suit my clientel. The craft bitters below will be brewed and reviewed in good rotation over the coming months. As with all hand-made craft beers, slight differences from batch to batch are to be expected, and welcomed, due to the lower production volumes and water differences. At present we can devote only four taps (of nine) to our original craft bitters but we are sure consumer pressure will increase the demand for more taps in the future.

In 2016, I made a few changes in the brewery. The addition of an extra kettle has helped remove some of the heavy lifting, I hired and trained a young eager assistant (Kyoichiro Otsuka) and I then changed the brewery name to Ikari Jyouzou and obtained trade mark protection. The new logo is here.

Ikari Logo

Line beer up as of Nov 2016 (Details below)

 

Red AbbotA blend of four hops

 

Colombus A blend of two hops

 

Gold A single hop

 

The new beer made with a blend of three hops (july 2015)

Cascade

To meet the demand from my Japanese customers for a blonder ale, I began making this beer (May 28th 2015). It is lighter in colour than the Tavern Gold with a citrus hint from cascade hops: one of the three in this recipe. This beer has quickly jumped to the best seller's list and I am struggling to reschedule production to meet the demand (Aug 2015).

A blend of three hops

   

 

 

Line up to date:

XXXB

Tavern XXXB is not available this month

This brew comes in at just under 5%. It is a little darker than expected: (Mildish). June 1 2014 saw this brew with a slight hoppier front with a long fruity finish. Not being made at present.

Tav Bitter

Tavern Bitter is not available this month

This is proving to be four times more popular than the XXXB and currently is my favorite tipple. We are shifting a keg a day on this bitter. The end of May should see a shift in colour to a deep red. A hoppy front and a lingering hop finish. ABV 5.2%

Directors

Tavern Directors [¥1,000/pint ¥600/300m samplerl]

Tavern Directors got it's first introduction in the pub in June. It turned out to be a dark amber in colour, with a pleasing fruity hoppyness with a deep malty, bitter-sweet finish. It is a favorite of my staff. Tavern Director fans will be dismayed to hear I will take it off the line up this month (last batch was kegged Aug 12 2015). I feel it is better suited to colder months.

Exmoore

 

Exmoor Ale [¥1,000/pint ¥600/300m samplerl]

This much awaited bitter is based on the famous Somerset brew. It was introduced from July 22nd 2014. An initial tasting brought a smile to my face as a wee dram of this took me back to Blighty. Bitter fruitiness on the front gives way to a lingering hoppiness with a touch of chocolate. A reddish presentation is a pleasing departure from the darker bitters to date. I have great hopes for this beer. ABV5.2%.

Norwich

Norwich Ale is not available this month

This is a Norfolk style deep brown ale whose name had pronunciation problems for my Japaese customers! An excellent, easy to drink session bitter with a pleasing intitial hoppyness running to a slow bite which stays the course. ABV5%

Old Joch

Old Joch Ale is not available this month

This is a Scottish bitter and new to the Meguro Tavern. Brewed ready to for the Scottish referendum in August 2014 to appease my Scottish customers. A wee bit stonger than a normal bitter with a ABV6%. Pleasant hoppiness from start to finish with this dark ale.

   
Gold

Tavern Gold [¥1,000/pint ¥600 300ml sampler]

Tavern Golden ale is a lighter coloured bitter made from a single hop, as was the Tavern Bitter-which it replaces. This is a typical British ale, using a typical British hop. A pleasant fruity start with a lingering finish common to British bitters and an adult malitness Dentist's hate (you don't want the taste in your mouth to go away!). An easy to drink ale for the 2015 summer and onwards.

   
Gonusuke

Gonosuke Bitter is not available this month

Gonosuke Bitter Ale takes it's name from the slope outside the pub (Gonnousuke Zaka). It a flavourful ale with a light finish on the palate. This is due to rice being included in the grain bill. Made from a single hop, it proved popular Jan-April 2015. I don't plan to bring this back even as a guest in the future as the rice creates huge clean up problems in the brewery.

Two Abbots

Two Abbots is a red ale. Slightly maltier than usual. A blend of British hops. The colour target wasn't met in this production and the product was similar in colour to Golden Ale. My stff complained as it was difficult to visually tell them apart. I then moved to replace this beer with Red Abbot.

   
Red Abbot An ongoing experiment with a Red Ale. Again a blend of British only hops. It contains the maltiness of Two Abbots but is slightly darker in presentation. The mouth-feel has been improved with a drop in maltose sugars. As of Nov 2016, it is growing in popularity as easy to drink session ale. The target is as usual under 5%.
Columbus

Columbus is a British IPA. Unlike it's American cousins it is not over-hopped. A pleasant blend of British and American hops, makes this a pleasure to drink (not painful). A balanced beer: dark, hoppy, malty like a beer should be.

Blending British and American hops follows the current trend in craft beer in the UK of searching for new flavours.