A little taste of Ireland a stone's throw from Misawa Air Base
Situated just a couple-minutes-walk from the main gate of Misawa AB, Paddy’s offers authentic Irish beers in a cozy, military-friendly and smoke-free setting.
When I entered through the typical Irish-style wooden façade, a pair of dogs, Shannon and Liffey, were there to greet me. Their cheerful expressions and the dark brown wooden interior, furniture and bar, along with dimmed lighting made me feel welcome.
“The interior was coordinated by an Irish designer,” says owner Kazuko Fukuda, explaining that she opened the pub in May 2000 in an attempt to start an authentic Irish pub with good food, tasty beers and cozy atmosphere. “When I visited Misawa, the town reminded me of Ireland a bit, and that kind of became the driving force for me to open an Irish pub here,” Fukuda said.
Shop manager, Toru Komukai, who completed training through Guinness and mastered how to pour beer, puts those skills to work as he maintains the authentic Irish taste.
Following the Guinness instructions, Komukai pours the first portion of beer into a glass without any foam. After waiting for 90-120 seconds and making sure that surging foams have settled down in the glass, he pours a second portion to fill up the glass with extremely smooth foam on top.
Komukai then perfects it by drawing a shamrock on the head of foam.
“The most important part of the pouring process is to do it slowly with care,” said Komukai, who never fails to apply this time-consuming pouring method.
The beautiful look of the beer with shamrock-shaped foam, full-bodied, fresh and rich flavor, along with complicated tastes of sweetness and bitterness of Irish stout beer really stand out.
According to Komukai, washing glasses, cleaning serving equipment and taps are also important to maintaining the quality taste of the beer. Glasses always air dry as opposed to being dried with a rag.
“If you don’t wash the glass well enough, it can spoil the flavor,” Komukai said. “It can change the appearance of the beer and smooth foam.”
Their quality-first goal led to the smoke-free policy, which prevents smoke particles from sticking to glasses, as well.
“The policy also helps non-smoking customers enjoy their beer without being bothered by smoke, but that was the secondary effect,” Fukuda explains. “Quality of beer is our utmost interest.”
Be sure to sample the fish and chips when you visit. The large portion of the homemade Irish dish goes well with the Guinness or Kilkenny. Komukai gets the fresh cod from a local fish port.
Fukuda, Komukai and both dogs are very sociable and friendly, which likely contributes to the shop’s popularity. The authentic Irish food and drinks don’t hurt either, as the pub continues attracting many American servicemembers and employees of Misawa AB.