Baird Beer brings craft brews and authentic barbecue to Yokohama
Beer lovers of Kanagawa, rejoice! You’ve probably visited the Baird Beer Taprooms in Harajuku and Nakameguro, but now we have one of our very own. What’s more, it might just be the best of the bunch: this new branch pairs Baird’s excellent craft brews with good old-fashioned American barbecue.
Located in the historic Bashamichi district, the new Taproom is already drawing big crowds. When we turned up on a recent Saturday night, the place was completely full. And we mean all of it: the counter bar on the first floor, seating area on the second, and covered open-air patio and private Japanese-style room on the third. The newest member of the Baird family boasts the same warm woods, label artwork and relaxed vibe as its brethren, with a dartboard thrown in for good measure.
In the kitchen, pit master Chuck Morrow has the meats slow smoking over a fire fueled by locally sourced wood, including sakura for a bit of a Japanese touch. The chicken we ordered had the perfect combination of crunchy skin and tender meat, with a tangy sauce that accented the smoky flavors of the meat without being overwhelming (¥450 for a quarter piece/¥650 for a half). The sliced pork went equally well with the bottles of spicy red and tangy mustard sauces that my companion and I discovered nearby, and promptly slathered over everything (¥500).
Of course, you can’t really claim to be a barbecue joint without having ribs, and the Bashamichi Taproom doesn’t disappoint. In fact, they offer both the smaller, leaner American spare ribs and massive domestic ones, which have about three times the meat and a lot of fat left on the bone. Big eaters may be left wanting by the portion sizes, but definitely not the taste. Add all the traditional sides—coleslaw, beans, baked mac and cheese, even pecan pie and peach cobbler—and you might start to forget you’re on the west side of the Pacific. Salads and pizzas are also available for the less carnivorous members of your group.
And what better accompaniment to barbecue than beer? The year-round menu offers 12 options, including Port City Pils, which is only available at this location (taster ¥350/half-pint ¥650/pint ¥900/pitcher ¥3,400). There are also several seasonal beers on tap, which at the moment include Bashamichi Celebration Ale (same prices as above), a commemorative rye malt IPA with slightly citrusy hops. Each of the Baird Beer outposts has its own real ale on hand pump as well, and I couldn’t resist going back for seconds of the Bashamichi Ale, a malty brown brew with smoky notes that served as a perfect complement to the barbecue.
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