The Iwase area in northern Toyama prefecture, where Toyama Peninsula, Jinzu River and Fugan Canal intersect, is a thriving port dating back to the early Edo period. Many homes built in the Meiji period still remain, giving the entire city a quaint retro feel. KOBO Brew Pub opened in this area in March 2020, in a renovated rice granary that used to belong to a sea merchant named Baba.
Needless to say, the exterior of the building on this vast property is quite astounding. And the interior is like a pub in a foreign country from the past. While the wall painting and brewing machines are impressive, the original ambience of the rice granary has been preserved, with the wooden structures which add a welcoming warmth. The brewmaster is Jiri Kotynek who has extensive experience making beer in the Czech Republic, the number one beer consuming country in the world. He started the brewery with his long-time Slovakian friend Boris Priesol. Kotynek was invited to Ishikawa prefecture as a braumeister in 2005, and won silver at the 2014 International Beer Cup. He and Priesol met at an event where Priesol was interpreting. The two hit it off, partially due to their shared passion for beer and because they both had wives who are from Toyama. They decided to start their own business after Kotynek voiced his desire to create beer that “is made not to win awards, but for the joy of the customers and their request for another round”.
They make 9 different craft beers, with the top three recommendations being Says Lager made from grapes used to make wine at Says Farm, Baba Weizen made from Toyama pears, and Dragon Ale made from rice lees from Manjusen sake. All three are local craft beers, worthy of tasting. For those who can’t decide which beer to order, there is a tasting set with 4 different beers. There is also one additional beer that shouldn’t be forgotten, the spicy hot Jolokia Ale made from Jolokia peppers. Not only is it spicy hot, it is a big favorite among spicy food enthusiasts. It is very aromatic and is a great pairing with sausages.
Although the food selection is limited, there is a lineup of dishes that are exclusive to this pub. Sausage BIG is 20cm long and is made from a Slovakian recipe. The beef jerky made from Toyama Beef, home smoked nuts, and homemade ham made from a Czech recipe all have a touch that is distinct to KOBO Brew Pub. Of course, we recommend a visit to the pub, but their beer is also available online. You can only purchase beers that aren’t served at the pub, but it’s definitely worth ordering craft beer (Premiant Pilsner, 3A Lager and Pale Ale) to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. The packaging is quite stylish, and is sure to enhance drinking at home.
- KOBO Brew Pub
- Higashi Iwase-machi, Toyama-shi, Toyama