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After Hours: Beer, bourbon and good food at Craftheads in Shibuya, Japan

By TREVOR ANDERSEN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 31, 2013

If you’re a fan of craft beer, bourbon and good food, Craftheads in Shibuya is heaven.

Hardwood tables and galvanized pipe lamps at the table and concrete walls give the place an interesting industrial look, but the decor is not Craftheads’ claim to fame. Its selection of beer, both on tap and bottled, is the largest I’ve ever seen in Japan. Not only do they carry craft beer from all over the world, but they also have an entire wall of quality bourbon.

The owner, Koji, is passionate about every aspect of his menu. His secret, he says, is simplicity. While that might mean using few ingredients, it doesn’t mean that menu items are easily prepared. Koji cures all of the bacon on the Craftheads menu, makes all of the sausage, smokes all of the salt and even grows his own hops for various applications. In fact, almost everything on the menu is made from scratch.

I tried the Salt Burger and the Meet x Meat pizza. Both were amazing. I could taste the attention to detail in every bite. And I took lots of bites, just to be sure.

Craftheads also boasts Japan’s first Randall machine. The Randall is a tube filled with an ingredient, such as Koji’s home-grown hops or, on the night I visited, pineapple. The bartender will pump your beer through the machine, infusing it with the flavor of ingredient inside.

It can be hard to find a table at times, but the staff is friendly and helpful. They speak English, and, if they have to, they’ll serve you where you stand.

The only downside is the price. One large bottle of craft beer cost me 3,000 yen (about $31). Granted, there are less expensive beers to choose from. The price for one beer, a burger and a personal pizza was more than 6,000 yen, so save up before you go. It’s worth it.

andersen.trevor@stripes.com

Craftheads

Serving: Craft beer from all over the world, high-quality burbon and food.

Address: 1-13-10 B-1 Jinnan, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0041

Phone: 03-6416-9474

Hours: 5 p.m. to midnight Tuesday-Friday; 3 p.m. to midnight Saturday; 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays and holidays. Closed on Mondays.

Website: www.craftheads.jp

Pumking by Southern Teir is brewed with real pumpkin. It’s difficult to find in the U.S. and even more difficult to find in Japan. But it comes at a steep price: 3,000 yen for this large bottle at Craftheads in Shibuya, Japan.
PHOTOS BY TREVOR ANDERSEN/STARS AND STRIPES

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