The Fishmarket Taproom and Baird Beer.
In the words of the famed bad boy chef, Anthony Bourdain, this review is going to be an unashamed ‘blow job’ for Baird Beer and their bar the Fishmarket Taproom.
In fact, if anything, I’m a little nervous about writing about this place. I mean how can my rather self absorbed baby dribble reviews ever hope to capture what one experiences at the Fishmarket Taproom? But from my very core I need to write about this place. If just to have some far more astute writer read my crap, mentally vomit and then feel compelled to put into words a place that I struggle to articulate.
My love affair with the Taproom began even before I reached the shores of Japan. My wife and I were honeymooning in Thailand for three months until our work in Japan started. About a month before our arrival in Japan we received the details of our assignment to Numazu. Regular visits to internet cafe’s in search of information on Numazu ensued. However, my wife and I kept returning to the Baird Beer Fishmarket Taproom website.
Thinking about it now with the benefit of hindsight, I realize that all our searching was for us to try and establish some small thread of connection with Numazu. Something that would make us feel at home and shed some of the concerns of our new life ahead. That connection for us was beer.
In tribute to this connection, on our arrival to Numazu the first bar we visited was the Fishmarket Taproom. The love affair was cemented.
Today, a mere 18 months after our arrival in Numazu, our affection for the Taproom has only increased. I know many who share the same love of the well crafted beer, beer inspired food, warm setting and sense of being welcomed into the life of ones family that one gets from visit this place.
Last Saturday, the 7th birthday of Baird Beer and the Taproom, was a sign for me to finally bite the bullet and attempt some sort of review that will always pale to the reality of this amazing place.
Of course the most important part of Baird Beer is the beer. The owner, Brian Baird is a beer master with alchemical skill. His core regular beers, denote individual character and form a standard lineup certain to appeal to any palate. Baird Beer’s core philosophy ‘the experience of flavor’ that is free of interferences, such as extreme cold or carbonation, are displayed by this lineup. This starting line up includes such diverse beers as the Wheat King Ale, Rising Sun Pale Ale, Kurofune Porter, Shimaguni Stout, Red Rose Amber Ale, Teikoku IPA and the Angry Boy Brown Ale.
Of these, my palate is more attuned to the Shimaguni Stout and the Angry Boy Brown Ale, with their contrast of richness and full taste. While my wife prefers the ales.
The beer experience does not end there. Brian’s ever changing seasonal beers are an exploration into the full and purest potential of how beer can taste. With his most recent seasonal batch, Brian has added fresh whole fruits to his beers prior to fermentation. One of the most tantalizing of the new season ‘fruity’ beers is the Strawberry Field Milk Stout. An almost creamy experience with out the chewiness of a dry Guinness, this stouts richness and subtle allusions to chocolate are a enjoyable treat.
However, my favorite of this seasons beers was the 7-Year Ale. It’s dry tingly nature and simple construction pales to its complexity of flavors. It was a beer you really had to sit down and spend some time to enjoy. It’s 7.5% alcohol kick is another reason for you to be seated while you are enjoying this beauty. This beer was quite a surprise. The different flavors assaults your taste buds and you find yourself slowly sinking into a chair and smelling the beer and loosing yourself in it’s taste.
The Baird Beer website does a much better job than me in describing their beers. I have actually tried to reduce my descriptions of the beers in favor of Brian’s so I recommend that you check out his site.
Finally, moving away from the beers and onto the wonders of the Fishmarket Taproom. The Taproom’s earthy design with it’s tree trunk stools and enormous trunk base tables seemingly embedded into the floorboards provide a sense of closeness and openness with the beers. Feeling such a primary closeness to nature really makes you want to know more about what you are drinking, whether by taste or from the staffs extensive knowledge.
The large bay windows opening out to views of the fish markets also add that primary sense of ease and earthy peace.
The in-house chef is a blessing. The menu has been carefully designed to support the flavors of the beers with the addition of recognizable bar fair with top taste.
Last but not least, is the family that make the Fishmarket Taproom and Baird Beer so great. It seems that Brian spends as much time and care choosing his staff as he does making his beer. These wonderful people know their beer, are passionate about their beer and are so welcoming in showing you their world that you immediately feel to be part of the family. The added touch of Brian’s family regularly in attendance chatting to the patrons really makes you feel at home here.
Baird Beer’s Fishmarket Taproom is an awesome place where the full diversity of beer can be explored with great food and relaxing family environs. Happy 7th Birthday.
Location In the Fishmarket area. 19-4 Senbonminato-Cho, Numazu 410-0845. For further details check out
Hours Monday, Wednesday through Friday;5pm-12am. Saturday and Sunday, Holidays, Noon-12am. Closed Tuesday.
Style Bar – well…Taproom
English Menus Yes
Gaijin Friendly Yes
Contact Phone/Fax 055-963-2628. Website: http://www.bairdbeer.com