Ok, let’s see what information we’ve accrued thus far. We pull out the Kyoto Craft Beer map that they gave to us at Watering Hole and get our bearings. Ha! The Pig and Whistle that we’re sitting in is on here. Queenie also has the little notes they gave us for craft beer places in a few of the cities we’ll be in. It looks like we’ve got a bunch in Kyoto nearby that we can hit. Before 9, Takumiya, Takanoya, and Kyoto Brewing. According to the map the first three are all decently close to one another just North West of here.
We’re on the case…
I think if we find this geisha, we win?
We cross the bridge on the river and walk a little ways through town. This looks like a downtownish area with lots and lots of restaurants, izakayas, yakitori places, pubs and clubs. Haven’t seen much of Kyoto yet but it seems really cool. This isn’t even the zenned out temples part of it.
We get to Before 9 and it’s a rad little place. It’s a small, narrow, two-level spot with a slight industrial feel. There is an old black and white samurai movie being projected on the wall. It kind of reminds me of a place that used to be in Redlands called The Dregs (r.i.p… it was my favorite.. sniff.. but that’s a story for another time). This place looks basically brand new.
Queenie orders up some Rowing Needles from Modern Times (sure we could just get this at home, but whatever) and I get some Kyoto duvel. We also get some pickled nummies and some hot chicken. And they aren’t kidding, it’s crazy crazy hot. Well… it’s not too spicy but whatever that black sauce is it just makes your mouth completely numb. It’s good but… stupidly numbing. We will of course need two more beers pronto.
There seems to be some sake significance here as well so we get a couple cups to sorbet out the crazy chicken numbness. Ok well this place is pretty awesome but we’re on a tour and we have to move on. Plus the samurai movie has gone into the credits. Up next…
Not too far from Before 9 is our next craft beer spot: Takumiya. It also looks brand new. I think this style of craft beer joint is a fairly new concept in Japan. I wonder if it caters mainly to expats or what? Seems to be a lot of locals in them though. I think it’s working out. I guess they’re basically an izakaya with a craft beer focus. Oh wait… this one has a bunch of Italian menu items?
It’s also really nice inside. Less hipster and a little more classy feeling than Before 9 (for better or worse). It’s a nice atmosphere and the place is completely full. We luck into getting the last table in the corner of the room. Time to order up a couple beers and get some dumplings. People are having a good time in here.
Yep, it’s delicious too. We get a couple more beers and chill. This was another great place. Those guys at Watering Hole gave us some damn good intel. Ok, finish up and back to the streets. Looks like we have time for one more spot before things start to close down for the night.
We get to Takanoya and it looks like another classed up gastropub. These are some really impressive recommendations, I can’t believe how on point they are. We’re starting to get a little silly now that all our high percentage beers are seeping in. I think it’s time for the main course, we go in to take a look at the menu.
Wow, there is a lot of good food in these places. This beer list is interesting too. I go for the Norwegian Lervig, Lucky Jack Extra Hard IPA. Followed by the Crustacean barley wine.
For dinner we opt for a spicy Japanese curry (to test versus the Coco Curry we had in Tokyo) and we also get a roast duck dish. They’re both absolutely outstanding. These places are just killing it on quality, wow.
We order up a couple more drinks after dinner and start chatting to the dude next to us. He’s originally from Chicago. Oh yeah, I recently went to a bachelor party in Chicago (..story for another time). Now he’s a local physics teacher at a university here. Oh shit, I have a degree in physics as well. He tells me he teaches Classical Newtonian. “Mechanics or waves?”, “Both”, “So cool”, and then out of left field (kinda), “Have you ever thought of gravity as a fluid?”, “Hmmmmm can’t say I’ve really thought about it. I suppose there are ‘gravitational waves'”, “Right and….”
Whoa I’m a little too tipsy for this but Mike seems intent on proving that gravity is actually a fluid. The first observed gravitational waves were just like two years ago. Is gravitational turbulence a thing? We’re going into LIGO, Virgo and LISA findings now. I’m trying to recall everything from astrophysics, general relativity and quantum to field this one but I’ve been out of the game for too long. We wind it down and Mike says that he’s going to explore it some more at the University. Sheeeesh heavy conversation after a half dozen craft beers (pardon the pun).
When he finds out I’m Canadian, Mike says he used to live in Calgary too. He asks if I’m a musician. The hair. Yeah, I get that a lot. I tell him that I am and then he asks if I’ve ever heard Loverboy’s second album. Ahhhhhh…. probably. “I played on that album”, “You played guitar on Loverboy’s second album?”, “Yep”, “Wow. That sounds fun”, “Yeah, it was. Just a few things…” I can’t remember the details (thanks IPAs) but I think he said he played lead on a track or two.
So Mike is a physics teacher from the East Coast who also played guitar on Loverboy’s second album? We’ve got a fair bit in common actually. I wonder if he has any good food recommendations as well? He does! He gives us the run down on some good dinner spots. He says yakatori places here are da bomb and gives us the name of one.
This place is closing up soon. Mike thanks us for the good conversation and wishes us well on the rest of the trip. It’s been great. Let’s get a pic!
Once he goes we try to remember the names of the restaurants he gave us but we’re a little too smammered. All we could jointly muster is ‘tarokichi yakisomething’. We’ll try to find it tomorrow.
Queebs and I hit the streets back to the B Sanjo Hotel. We’ve got the drunchies though so we dip into a Family Mart on the way back and eye up the noodle section.
We crank out some late night noodles and then it’s beddie bye. We’ve gotta get up early-ish and see what Kyoto has to offer. Heard a lot about this place. Everyone I know who’s been here says it’s amazing. My buddy Blake described it as “Absolute Zen”.
I’ll tell you what’s absolute zen, legs up the wall after all this walking