Tokyo is an immense city with countless drinking establishments, but the brewers at British Brewpub Campion Ale have been working hard to stand out from that crowd. Indeed Campion and it’s founder James Williams have been featured in articles in both the Japan Times and the Financial Times.
Campion Ale is located a bit outside of what are usually considered the great drinking districts of Tokyo. It is sandwiched between the Kappabashi kitchenware district and the neighborhood around Sensoji in Asakusa. Access is not a problem though, the brewpub is just a few minutes walk from either Tawaramachi Station on the Ginza Line subway line, or Asakusa Station on the Tsukuba Express line.
Once you have arrived at the unassuming storefront, the glimpses of shiny brewing equipment through the window will let you know that this bar is special. All of the beer served at Campion is brewed on premises, so it is sure to be as fresh as possible. The atmosphere is classic British Pub, and the menu options are in line with that ideal. Pints of Bitter and meat pies, with a slice of tradition on the side.
I didn’t have the chance to have dinner there, but I did try two of Campion’s rotating beer selection, the Bitter (4.3%, pictured) and the Golden Ale (5.2%). The Bitter was excellent, a perfect pub pale ale. It was well balanced between crisp hop bitterness and a really nice light maltiness with a hint of fruity ale esters. It was very easy drinking. I really enjoyed it, it is exactly the sort of beer for when you want to tip a few pints back with friends. The Golden Ale did not quite captivate me as much, but it was very good. It was a beautiful deep golden orange, with a hit of tartness from the yeast. It reminded me a little bit of a Belgian Pale Ale. While my samples were a bit on the lighter side of life, for those who enjoy darker beers, Campion does brew both Stouts and Porters.
The beer menu does change depending on supply, they seem to usually have three or four of their own beers on tap at any one moment, along with imported Aspall English Cyder. All talk of beer aside, apple cider on tap is rare in Japan and it is nice to have something available for those who don’t want any beer. Prices are in line with or even a bit cheaper than other craft beer bars in Tokyo. A half a UK pint is 600 yen, two thirds a pint is 750 yen and a full pint is a full 1,000 yen.
I didn’t have a lot of time to spend at Campion, but I came away quite impressed. I am certain I will be back soon as the atmosphere was great and the beer was better. Have you been to Campion Ale? What did you think?