One road lead to the east, this largely deserted boulevard streaking from Sakai’s lucrative trading port on Osaka Bay, and another to the west, a skip from Sakaihigashi Station, and in a fit of thirstiness, down the steps I sought redress. As the beers began to discharge, oh, I drank like a newborn man, and opened the book of daily craft beers Hibino Beer made.
There are 12 on tap, all but one of them from Japanese breweries, though by the time of my departure the list ticks down to 11 after Ushitora Brewery’s very fine King Ghidorah DDH Triple IPA (9.5%)—a collaboration, in fact, with the humble little brewery from Scotland called BrewDog—taps out. The lone foreign outlier, Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes’ 2017 Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru, is a pleasant mouthful to say and to drink. More than 100 bottles and cans grace the fridges, and the gods say they are good, and that a 750ml sharer of Anglo Japanese Brewing Co’s Saison de la Maison is to accompany me home.
It is a cozy and classy place, Hibino Beer, with room for just 30, a “party and banquet in a fancy space of designer’s whole body,” according to the bar’s website. There are no tatami mat rooms, also per the website, and please do not expect low tables with holes in the floor for legroom, but there are counter seats and I should feel free to come alone, so I do. And since Hibino Beer is a specialty shop committed to craft beer, the owners ask that “even if you do not understand, please listen,” so I do, and what I hear is the sweet, sweet sound of a night in Osaka far, far away from the English-speaking world.
Hibino Beer is located at 2-1-24 Kitakawaramachi, Sakai Ward, Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, Japan (or a one-minute walk from Sakaihigashi Station). +81 (0)72 232 3615. Open Monday to Friday 4pm to 11pm, Saturday and Sunday 2pm to 11pm.