Popeye Beer Club


Nestled on one of the many small back streets in Ryogoku, Tokyo, Popeye Beer Club originally began as your typical izakaya (居酒屋): a casual place for after-work drinks with some food. They now have over 70 beers on tap, which is simply unheard of in Southeast Asia. The vast majority of those on tap are from Japanese breweries, which I'm happy to report are far more plentiful and delicious than those in Korea. The average price for a pint was ¥1,000 ($10.00), so it's not the cheapest game in town... but they have 70 craft beers on tap. 70. Craft. Beers. In Asia. Overpay and rejoice!

The food left a little something to be desired, but that's not why one heads to Popeye, so who cares? As for the beer, I dabbled in a few full on pints before settling on the 10 Sampler Set (pictured above). Here's what was included:

  • Honda Sangyo Inc. Preston Ale Pale Ale
    • 5.0% ABV | 14 IBU | 5 SRM
    • Decent body with caramel malt and a bit of peach. Nice level of hops, but nothing overpowering. This won't be winning any awards, but it's solid.
  • Popeye Extra Pils
    • 4.5% ABV  | 35 IBU
    • Maybe I'm just not enough of a fan of Pilsners, but I found this to have a bland, mild flavor and quite lacking in body.
  • Swan Lake Amber Ale
    • 5.0% ABV | 25 IBU | 13 SRM
    • More hoppy than one may expect from an amber, this had good balance and aroma with a great aftertaste.
  • Baird Brewing Co. Divine Vamp Series 3 IBA
    • 5.9% ABV | 75 IBU
    • Nice level of bitterness with a touch of roasted flavors and a creamy mouthfeel. Had a truly amazing floral and citrus aftertaste.
  • Fujizakura Kougen Festweizen
    • 5.5% ABV | 10 SRM
    • Malty and creamy "beer milkshake"with a buttered popcorn aftertaste. Strange and delicious.
  • Swan Lake Porter
    • 5.5% ABV | 20 IBU | 43 SRM
    • Nice roasted roasted coffee aroma and flavor, with hints of chocolate. The mouthfeel fell flat, but it may simply have been under carbonated.
  • Yo-Ho Brewing White IPA
    • 6.2% ABV | 7 SRM
    • Damn decent white ale with peach, pineapple, stonefruit and other tropical flavors. Not quite enough hops to be an IPA though.
  • Michinoku Fukushima Brewery Black Bitter
    • 4.5% ABV | 50 IBU
    • Tastes like a roasted chocolate bar, quite a bit of caramel as well. Not really bitter, but quite smooth and quite nice.
  • Baird Brewing Co. Shimaguni Stout
    • 5.0% ABV | 24 IBU | 38 SRM
    • Good amount of chocolate and coffee as to be expected. Also had some earthy/leafy hops. However, this was far too flat, resulting in a water-like mouthfeel.
  • Yo-Ho Brewing Barley Wine
    • 9.4% ABV | 35 SRM
    • Smelled kind of like buttered toast. Had a sweet toffee flavor,  mild bitterness, and a certain warmth as it went down. Barley wine has never really been my jam, but this one was on the better end.
Should you find yourself in Tokyo looking for some great beer, Popeye is located at 2-18-7 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo. To get there by public transit, head to Ryogoku Station (Sobu, Oedo lines). They're open Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday) with food service from 11:00am-8:00pm and beer from 5:00pm-11:00pm.



1 comments:

  1. The Kougen Festweizen is delicious, indeed! Love the atmosphere at Popeye, too. The decor is really bad, like a shoddy Bennigan's, and the staff just seem pleased as punch whenever they deliver one of those beer flights. Fun, packed on a weeknight, lots of shouting!

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