The first time I had a Minoh beer was on a stool years ago at a makeshift bar out the front of its brewery in the affluent suburb of Osaka that gave the beer its name. Since then, the award-winning brewery has been transformed into a brew house and pub, and they have added a second pub in Tenma, central Osaka, which also happens to be one of this city’s liveliest eating and drinking districts.
Minoh’s Tenma outpost, also called Beer Belly, attracts quite a few patrons with bellies of their own, including this writer. It also attracts punters who haven’t quite figured out what’s going on with the craft beer revolution. (A table nearby asked to see the wine menu.)
Besides the range of beers that includes stout, pale ales, lagers and white beers, Beer Belly has its great food line-up scrawled across a vast blackboard behind the bar. Speaking of which, the best seats are to be found at the long bar that runs the length of the pub.
Beer Belly has the look and feel of a pub, both noisy and welcoming, with a mix of locals and visitors. At around ¥900 a pint, the beers are pricey. Minoh’s award-winning stout doesn’t have the creaminess or weight of an Irish stout, but it’s worth a try. And from the kitchen there’s no shortage of tapas-size bites: the medallion-shaped Spanish omelet makes for good company with a pint of almost anything while you work on that belly.
Tapas from ¥350, half-pints from ¥520; English and Japanese menus; some English spoken.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5