Sunday 1 December 2019

Interesting beer at J League stadiums

This is a bit of a weird blog post but I thought it could be of some use to some people. It also nicely links this blog and another blog I write called Tokyo Beer Drinker, about craft beer bars, shops, restaurants and breweries in the greater Tokyo area (although occasionally it goes much further afield). In the hugely unlikely case that you're considering going to a J League game and are not really bothered about which team you see, but are instead basing your decision on pre-game refreshment, this post might be of some help. I'll update this as more options appear and as I visit more stadiums. I'll also add some names of bars or breweries that are particularly worth a visit in the vicinity. If a team is not on here, that probably means that there's nothing to recommend it about it or I haven't been there yet. Somewhat amusingly I have lumped together teams that play fairly close to each other or in the same stadium and are almost certainly bitter rivals. Seemed like a fun thing to do. One final thing worth bearing in mind is the fact that most grounds allow you to take beer into the ground if you empty it into a paper cup before entering. So if you want to take your own beer, your selection is vast, as long as you don't mind drinking that whale from a plastic or paper cup. 

Grounds that actually have craft beer/Ji-biru at the stadium -

Giravanz Kitakyushu - serves Mojiko retro at the ground! Bravo!
And it's only a few stations away from the brewery in Mojiko too!

Matsumoto Yamaga - Aiwa beer available in the stadium in the main stand.
In the city centre there are two breweries, Matsumoto Brewing and Bacca along with some more bars that I haven't visited yet.

Montedio Yamagata - serves Gassan pils in the food court part outside the ground. Went back a few times before the game and at half time.

Shonan Bellmare - Sankt Gallen have a stand outside the ground in the fan area with about five options I think.
Also, back in Hiratsuka there is the Yggdrasil brewery and taproom which is very welcoming for both home and away fans.

Cerezo Osaka - Now they have a little truck run by local bar chain Umineko outside the stadium at games with 10 taps of Craft Beer, some of which are theirs (Derailleur Brewery) and a couple of which are made exclusively for the football team.

Tokyo Verdy - Seem to usually have a little truck at the home end outside the stadium with beers by OGA Brewing, one of which is a beer made for the team, green and contains kale...

Avispa Fukuoka - Now have a beer called Avispa Ale made for them by Suginoya, a Fukuoka brewery that you can sometimes get in the area in front of the main entrance to the stadium.


Teams and stadiums with good beer nearby

Akita Blaublitz - never visited the ground.
The Aqula brewery has a couple of locations in the city centre which are well worth a visit.

Albirex Niigata - macro only at the ground.
Lots of drinking options in the city centre though including a couple of breweries taprooms. Check out some of those options here. There is also a Niigata beer map available I think.

Fagiano Okayama - never been to the ground. Sorry.
Doppo has a taproom in the Aeon Mall near the main station.

FC Gifu - macro at the ground.
Y Market has a bar called Yell! Ale! Gifu! fairly near the station.

Kashima Antlers - macro only at the ground
There is a brewpub called Paradise Beer Factory near Kashima Jingu. Not the closest, but close enough considering nothing seems to be close or convenient in Kashima

Kawasaki Frontale - macro only at the ground (Suntory Premium Malts Kaoru Ale)
As this is my team and I also really like the brewery, I'll mention that there is TKBrewing a few stations away near Kawasaki station. It's great. There are also a few other bars in the area too. Check them here.

Kyoto Sanga - They now have Pilsner Urquell available at the stadium in real glasses in the food court area at the home end of the stadium, but before you enter.

Mito Hollyhock - macro only at the stadium as far as I can remember
Not particularly close to the ground, but at Mito station they have a Hitachino Nest taproom.

Nagoya Grampus Eight - macro only at the ground
If you're at the Toyota stadium you're miles from anywhere, but at the Mizuho stadium you're a few stops away from the Y Market brewpub.

Oita Trinita - macro only at the ground
As the ground is miles from the city, you'll almost certainly end up getting the bus back to the city centre where there are a couple of breweries. The strangely named Yell & Ale/Abe Bond is a brewpub and bar and Oita Funai/Monkey Mountain which can sell you beers to take away, or I think you can drink them out of a plastic cup by the front door of the brewery.

Omiya Ardija - can't remember what is served at the ground.
There is a brewpub called Hikawa en route to the stadium from the station. Bizarrely it was closed when we tried to visit it before a game last time, but maybe you'll have more luck.

SC Sagamihara - never visited the ground...
But Ebina beer has their brewery and taproom just a few stations away on the Sagami line.

Shimizu S Pulse - macro only at the ground.
If you head back to Shizuoka city which is one of the shuttle bus options there are quite a few places there including plenty of Aoi beer outlets and one really good Peruvian restaurant that serves great Japanese German-style beer. Bit of a mash up.

Urawa Reds - mostly macro at the ground but they do have some 'crafty' beers at one outlet in the away fan section. Have had Yona Yona and Brooklyn Lager there on various occasions, so basically stuff from breweries that have been taken over by Kirin.

Vegalta Sendai - macro at the ground.
But the city is a great place to drink with a few budget craft beer options (Craft Beer Market, Craftsman) and some other fun places too. There is a Sendai beer map available so it might be worth tracking one of them down.

Ventforet Kofu - macro at the ground.
But there are a few locations run by Outsider Brewing including their brewery and taproom called Hops & Herbs. It was a real bummer them being relegated to J2 as I enjoyed that away game a lot.

Vissel Kobe - macro only at the ground and beware, it's a cashless stadium too.
In the city centre there are a few outlets run by the Rokko brewery and an interestingly named brewery called In Tha Door.

Yokohama FC / YSCC Yokohama / Yokohama F Marinos - macro only at Nissan stadium
(Presumably lumping these three teams together will annoy three sets of fans at once). The city centre is fairly near to both the Nissan stadium and Mitsuzawa. In the city there are loads of beer places and quite a few brew pubs. Check out some of them here. Also, a few stops along the Yokohama line in the opposite direction there is the brewery and taproom for TDM 1874.

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