The Local BrewBy Bryan Harrel
Tama Beer at Restaurant Beer Club
Tama Beer at Restaurant Beer Club Tama Hills Area – Hachioji, Tokyo
The area surrounding this small brewery restaurant affords quite a number of opportunities for family-oriented “un-extreme” activities. There’s the Tama Zoo, Sanrio Puro Land, a number of parks and just a whole lot of golf courses.
The Tama Beer building is surprisingly compact, housing banks of fermentation tanks and other brewery equipment on the first floor and a restaurant on the second floor which adjoins a glassed-in room with three large copper brewing vessels which are only in use on some days.
There are generally five or six beers on tap here, three regular beers and three limited edition brews.
The regulars include a fairly understated Weizen (German wheat ale), a pleasant but unchallenging Red Ale (called “Super Ale”) and the Tama-no-Kuronama, a dark brew with a thick tan head brewed, as the menu says, for those people who are a bit reluctant (“eeh, chotto…”) to try a dark beer, obviously alluding to its light body and minimal bitterness.
(The bewitching bock bier is a seductive 7% alcohol)
Guinness it’s not, but it’s richer and roastier than mainstream Japanese dark beer.
The real treats, on my visit, were the Bock and the Rauch. The Bock is a heavy German lager, deep gold, with a clean, rich sweetness, while the Rauch is in the rare German smoked beer style of Bamberg, with a small amount of the amber malt roasted to give the dark lager a distinct smoky edge in aroma and flavor.
Both of these ranked quite highly. Prices are reasonable, with standard 365-ml. glasses at \500-550, and monstrous one-liter mugs at just \1,260 and 1.8-liter pitchers at \2,270. A tasting set of three 190-ml. glasses of their regular products is just \790.
(Gleaming copper brew kettles can be seen from the restaurant entrance)
The menu has a full range of appetizers (\260-760), pasta (medium \950 / large \1,400), pizza (\950) and entrees ranging from garlic chicken (\1,050) to a monstrous eisbein (\2,960).
The best way to arrive at Tama Beer is probably by bicycle, but if you choose to take public transportation, you’re in for an interesting treat—the Tama Monorail which runs north-south through hill and dale between Kamikitadai in Higashi Yamato City, through Tachikawa, to Tama Center on the Odakyu Tama Line or the Keio Sagamihara Lines. The ride alone is worth a special trip.
Restaurant Beer Club / Tama Beer
Tel: (0426) 74-8111
Toll free: 0120-811-570
Hours: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Public transportation: Five-minute walk from Otsuka Teikyo Daigaku Station on the Tama Monorail Line (Change from Takahata Fudo on the Keio Line, or from Tama Center Station on the Keio Sagamihara Line or Odakyu Tama Line).