Tokyo has many great beer bars, but one that keeps drawing me back is DevilCraft.
DevilCraft is the brainchild of three American beer lovers, John Chambers, Jason Koehler and Mike Grant. They opened the first location in Kanda in 2011, and followed it up with a roomier one in Hamamatsucho a couple of years later. Beer and pizza is like ham and eggs, milk and cookies or R2D2 and C-3PO, it just works. It works even better when you pair fresh craft beer from across Japan and America with excellent deep dish pizza. This combination has helped make DevilCraft an essential part of our Tokyo excursions.
One of the big adjustments you have to face as a foreigner living in Japan is the quality of the pizza. Pizza in Japan is expensive, small, and often has some really weird toppings. So when a place like DevilCraft comes along offering pizzas with buffalo chicken, pepperoni, or even feta cheese, it really fills a hole in your heart.
Both DevilCraft locations have the same dinner menu items, but I do find I prefer the Hamamatsucho location a bit more. The Kanda restaurant is more typically Japanese, several stories stacked on a tiny footprint of land though that does lend it a nice intimacy that the more spacious Hamamatsucho lacks. Both locations have plenty of beer, Kanda stocks 15 taps and Hamamatsucho has 20. While I can’t really get through more than three or four pints no matter which place I go, the extra five taps at Hamamatsucho give me a few extra beers to choose from which I do appreciate. They also offers brunch on the weekend there, starting at 11:30. Not many restaurants in Japan sell things like biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos, and breakfast pizza. The opportunity to also buy a nice pint of 7-Grain stout with which to start your day is just pure icing.
The original concept was for DevilCraft to be a brewpub, brewing beers in-house to serve at the pizza restaurants. However the journey to a brewing license in Japan is a long and tortuous one. I reached out to DevilCraft to see how things were going, and Mike Grant let me know that those dreams are close to becoming reality as DevilCraft is currently building a brewery in Osaki that should be finished this summer. If the red tape allows, patrons should be enjoying DevilCraft original beers sometime in late summer or early fall 2015. The plan is to start by supplying the two current locations and a possible third pub they may open later this year. The new line up will fill some of the existing taps, but both locations will continue to stock great Japanese and American craft beers.
DevilCraft is one of the places that makes Tokyo a great city for craft beer. For anybody that wants a slice of deep dish pizza, or a tall pint of the latest Baird or Green Flash creation, DevilCraft has you covered.