The Zakkokku brewery in Ogawamachi, Saitama. (小川町) Just an hour ride by train from Ikebukkuro, this is possibly the most natural tasting beer you can get in Kanto.
I had to use Google Maps because in my excitement to get a drink was too much! As shown, it has a simple front and is just a 5 min walk from the station.
The place is run by a young couple who manages the store and brew in-house, and also by another man, the original founder whom he is the in-law.
The founder’s name is Baba-san. He has been making beer since the late 90s when he left his university professorship and never looked back. By using the fields he own in Ogawamachi, Baba-san grows his own wheat (komugi/小麦) barley (omugi/お麦) and millet .
With it, he makes 7 varietals but if i am not mistaken, only 3 are available all year-round. The 3 are the Hefeweizen, Pale Ale and Porter.
All of his crops are grown organically which brings about the most natural of flavours. The full-bodied maltiness cannot be described. It should be tasted. He brings in Germanic hops for the Hefe, uses Cascades for the Pale Ale, and i just can’t get an answer for the outstanding porter.
In case you want to give them a call or have a clear directional map, here is a picture of their business card.
Yes, it is abit far and expensive by train. But at ¥400 for an all-organic locally crafted beer? It is worth the journey. Especially when you have a famous tofu store that sells delicious tofu donuts just opposite the station. Eat the tofu fresh in the store with just shoyu (soya sauce) and green onions is just the most subliminal experience, especially with the tofu cheesecake after. The front of the shop is shown below.
And, if you have read till this part, there is the most amazing restaurant 20 mins away. It is secluded but it is so famous that sometimes, even NHK has their staff meeting and meals there because of the food! The restaurant used to operate at the NHK headquarters in Tokyo. But due to the age of the owners, they moved to Ogawamachi.
Who wouldn’t pay a visit if by paying just ¥1000, you get simmered sea bream straight from Tsukiji, and the best tamago ever. I kid you not.
Trust me. This is really worth the long walk. Below is the front of the shop.
Other than that, do drop by Ogawamachi. For the delicious organic beer, and fantastic food! Cheers!