While the craft beer revolution was busy sweeping the US, Japan was getting left behind, content with admittedly tasty but decidedly stodgy national brew brands like Asahi and Kirin. Thanks to strict tax laws prohibiting brewers from producing less than 15,860 gallons a year, these mega-breweries enjoyed a virtual monopoly on suds by effectively locking out small producers until 1994 when the law was revised. Despite this change, the microbrew movement has only recently started to gain traction in Japan, partly due to relatively short shelf lives, limited distribution, and competition from the low-price malt liquor segment that also emerged with the relaxation in tax rules. This surge in popularity can be largely attributed to the sudden abundance of US-style brewpubs in major cities in Japan, which solve many of the aforementioned issues by getting a steady supply of thirsty beer lovers to converge in a single location to consume every last drop of inventory.
Which brings us to Devilcraft, one of the first (and best) brewpubs in Tokyo. Owned and operated by 3 American expats, it has two locations in Kanda and Hamamatsucho and offers 20 craft beers on tap from both the US and Japan. In addition to the killer beer, it also offers arguably the best (if not only) Chicago-style deep-dish pizza with fresh ingredients, authentic buffalo wings, and other bar food favorites of a very high standard. Get in early or make a reservation—it’s VERY popular with both Japanese and expats.