From the bar arrives a cold dark pint—Jet Black Heart. It bears a strong resemblance to the famed stout Guinness. Smooth and luscious, it has crisp opening notes of bitter gold that gently melt into darker complexity, less creamy than its doppelganger, with brighter nuances of toasted wheat. With craft beer like this, it’s no wonder the place is packed.
It is half past eight on a Friday night and the gastropub is teeming with life. There is an elasticity to the mood that beckons one with welcoming warmth. Despite the bustle, service is prompt.
Craft Beer Market Jimbocho Terrace boasts a modest food menu and excellent beer. Prices are reasonable–sharing plates average around ¥1,000, while a pint will set you back ¥780. As its name suggests, craft beers are what you will come here for, but thankfully, food here is not an afterthought—most dishes pair well with beer. A dozen taps line the wall, with 30 craft beers at your disposal, ranging from pilsners and lagers to ales and sours. Also available are seasonal brews. Heads up: those run out pretty quickly upon release.
Amongst the mainstay menu, COEDO Ruri is popular amongst the ladies, its crisp sweetness and light nuances of fruit making it extremely easy to drink. The Little Red Rooster ale boasts more hops and is slightly denser on the palate. A personal favorite of mine, Tokyo Black, is a robust porter so rich in malt it verges on chocolate; its head is as creamy as softly whipped mascarpone, meandering between a dark ale and a stout–a cold pint of which is best described “perfect as day.”
A plank of beef skirt arrives grilled to pink tenderness, its sides blackened to perfection, exuding subtle smokiness. It is altogether delicious, albeit peppered with salt a touch more than necessary.
Then there is pizza made of flaky dough crimped around Parmesan and mozzarella, one of white bait and coriander, another of carbonara. The former’s interesting mix of ingredients bears surprisingly well with my tastebuds, while the latter is of common ground, an ideal option when sharing.
Mixed sausages emerge on a platter, the flavor sharp and crisp. The smoked bratwursts are inscribed with garden herbs like memories from yesterday–fresh yet subtle, armed with wholegrain mustard whose natural tang packs a punch to its meatiness. Roasted potato sits on the side, adding substance to the dish.
On a neighboring plate is the smoked cod roe ajillo, lush with onion caramelized in the slow heat of olive oil. Thick slices of toasty baguette are served alongside for which to soak up every drop of sizzling oil draped in the sweetness of roe.
The food and beer here is unpretentious, as is the décor. Service here truly warrants a mention—staff are genuinely friendly and helpful despite the language barrier, and I find myself drawn to our English-Japanese banter. Perhaps that is why Craft Beer Market is so well received: there are no barriers to having a good time.
Craft Beer Market Jimbocho Terrace. 3-22 Nishikicho Kanda, Terrace Square 1F, Chiyoda-ku. Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm, 5-11:30pm; Sat 4-11:30pm; closed Sun & hol. Nearest station: Jimbocho.