Living in a foreign country is an adventure, and it’s difficult not to miss my home city of San Diego. Naturally, I seek out things that remind me of my home. So when I stumbled across a couple of bars and restaurants in Tokyo that served Southern California craft beer, I jumped up and down like a kid in a candy shop.
Southern California’s craft beer is world-renowned for its variety—especially its high-grade IPA brews, making it rather easy to discover Stone, a craft beer and whiskey bar in Asagaya, as well as Roppongi’s Pizzakaya, both of which carry a wide selection of SoCal crafts.
I decided to go on an adventure to experience both places myself.
It didn’t take long to find Stone, located near Asagaya Station, thanks to all the beer logos along the doorway, a peculiar sign with a rooster, and text that read, “Stone Extreme Beer.”
Entering the bar, I met Takahiro Sakamoto, Stone’s general manager. As we talked, he told me how shocked and delighted he was when he first drank a Stone, the famous craft beer from San Diego. A lover of beers that are citrusy and fruity, he contrasted Southern California beer with Japan’s, concluding that the former beer had a solid IPA, giving it a bitter-but-stronger taste.
After the chat with Sakamoto, I decided to buy a Stone for myself. The strong, hoppy taste stopped me from drinking it too quickly; but that aftertaste that’s specific to Double IPA lingered in my mouth for a while.
Stone. 2-4-2 Asagaya-Kita, Suginami-ku. Tel: 03-5373-0312. Nearest station: Asagaya.
Near Roppongi Station, Pizzakaya is, as its name suggests, a pizzeria that also sells a variety of craft beer—including many from Southern California.
The exterior is quite simple, with the “Pizzakaya” sign hovering over the doorway. But the interior proves more colorful, decorated with various designs, paintings, and plenty of movie memorabilia. There, I spoke with Derek Thomas, the shop’s general manager. Hailing from Los Angeles, Thomas described how he enjoyed Southern California craft beers such as Green Flash.
Thomas explained that Pizzakaya is a great place to enjoy gourmet Californian pizza while drinking the state’s craft beer. But food is the priority for Thomas, who stated that Pizzakaya is “food first; beer second. We’re the best pizza in town.”
I tried one of their lighter ales which, like many Japanese brews, proved easy to drink. Yet I could taste the beer off of my breath long after I had finished drinking.
2F Koyama Bldg., 3-1-19 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3479-8383. Nearest station: Roppongi. www.pizzakaya.com/en/