Sunday, April 24, 2011

Love at First Pint: Bakushu Club Popeye

We all find it in different places. The Holy Land. Mecca. Sitting underneath a Bodhi tree. Gazing into the endless velvet of the midnight sky on a warm summer night as the celestial fireworks ebb and flow like grains of sand on the beaches of eternity. Throughout time, people have found inspiration in countless places where they felt the presence of a larger and more mysterious reality than their earthly minds could fathom. For me, one of those places is Bakushu Club Popeye in Tokyo. For those in search of the Holy Ale, this is a good place to start questing. 

Where the magic happens: The bar at Bakushu Club Popeye
Anywhere from 40-70 taps are available at any one time. While the vast majority is devoted to Japanese ji-biiru (ビール; microbrewed beer), anywhere from 10-20 taps are devoted to eclectic selections from the US and Europe. As if that wasn’t enough, Popeye usually has about 3 real ales available on the hand pump. I’ve had too much variety here to catalog the full extent of my misadventures, but some prime examples include: Swan Lake Belgian IPA, Baird Kurofune Porter, Cantillon Geuze, Mikkeller Nugget IPA, Nogne 100, Great Divide Yeti Oaked Imperial Stout, Brewdog Paradox, and one of my personal favorites, the house Divine Vamp- an Imperial Black Ale. The variety is staggering by any measure.

An Oaked Yeti Imperial Stout
I have heard whispers among the townspeople of the legendary events this place holds: massive firkin fests, specialty US brewer events, and aged ale tastings. Bakushu Club Popeye was a major sponsor of the Tokyo Real Ale Festival 2011. The event was outstanding- 40 real ales available from throughout Japan all served from traditional firkins. Obviously Popeye is a motivating force behind the burgeoning craft beer movement not just in Tokyo, but throughout Japan and perhaps even the world.

Pourers at the Tokyo Real Ale Festival 2011
                          An Irish ditty performed by a Japanese bagpiper at the Real Ale Festival 2011.

Finally, all I can say is that if you are in Japan- go. Just go. This is hands-down one of the premium places for craft beer on the planet. Make the world a better place, support the craft beer cause, and suckle from the Bacchean teat of intoxication along the way. Cheers!

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