After a long afternoon of trudging around Tokyo, I decided to finally make a stop in Ryogoku, at Popeye. Not Popeye's. It's a good-sized bar which claims over 40 different beers on tap - impressive anywhere in the world. And there's no Bud or Coors taking over half the taps. I think there might have been an Asahi tap somewhere in there, but this is a craft beer establishment.
It's pretty close to the station, so in no time I was seated at the bar during happy hour. What's so happy about happy hour at Popeye? Free half-orders of one of eight appetizers with the purchase of certain beers (a choice from about 24). In no time I had my first beer.
I started with a chocolate porter from Shounan Beer which wasn't too chocolately, but still a very good porter - smooth, rich, with a somewhat burnt taste. I enjoyed three free chicken tenders with that one.
Next, I went all the wiser with Fujizakura kougen Weizen. I have a small, welcome place in my heart for wheat beers. Maybe it's the flavor. Maybe it's the fact that it's different from other lighter beers. This certainly didn't lack in taste, with definite fruity hints. I'm not going to get all beer-snob on you, but this is a good brew! There's nothing wrong with a lighter beer, but this is so much better. Talk about drinkability. And it's so sweet you almost forget you're drinking beer. Anyway, I went wacky and ordered the sausages, which I should have probably done with the porter. Oh well. How were they? Good enough.
I also tried a piece of wheat bread. It's a bit costly at 200 yen, but it was delicious!
As I was nearing the end of my stay tonight, the guy next to me struck up a conversation. Well, that's a bit of a misnomer - he was deaf and mute. And Japanese. But he knew a little basic small talk English and wrote everything down on scrap paper. Add in some gestures and you have a wordless conversation in two languages! He was a really nice older guy, and I think it was his first visit too.
Unfortunately I don't have a bottomless bank account and beers aren't cheap. Plus, my phone died (thankfully I had planned my route home before it lost its juice). So my stay at Popeye was done. But I got a membership card (not free, I think) as I plan to return and enjoy some more random beer.
It's only a 2km walk from Akihabara station, after all.