Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Beer Horn (NOW CLOSED)


Today, one of the first craft beer places I went to in Tokyo after I arrived here, but somewhere I haven't managed to get back to since then. A couple of weeks after I moved here I went to one of Beer Horn's nomihodai beer launch events with a kind fellow Ratebeerer and have been meaning to come back since, but I guess Akasaka is not somewhere I find myself too often.
Beer Horn is the Tokyo outpost/taproom of Hokkaido's Otaru brewery, situated right in the heart of Akasaka's business area. The bar itself is in the basement on a main shopping and nightlife street, and if it wasn't for the signs, could probably be easily missed if you were not looking for it. But it is well worth looking out for. Otaru's beers are predominately in the German/European style; their three regular beers are 'The Horn' (Otaru Pilsner), 'Dark Horn' (Otaru Dunkel) and 'White Horn' (Otaru Weiss). Along with this, they have one special seasonal beer which changes throughout the year and is in a variety of styles ranging from a Belgian style fruit beer to a hefty Eisbock. Along with these four taps, they also offer a range of lower alcohol options, including a dark and light alcohol free beers and a couple of 'beer plus soft drink' options. All beers come in two sizes, 400ml and a massive 700ml and are served in horn shaped glasses. If you are feeling a bit more viking-like there are also real animal horns to drink out of, but to be honest, this really doesn't appeal to me. Beer prices are a bargain ¥580 for the regular size and ¥1200 for the large across the board apart from the seasonal which is ¥680 and ¥1400 respectively. One other thing I should mention is that they have a number of party plans, where you can get various set menus and add a nomihodai on to it. So if you are planning on eating and drinking, this is the way to go. The various options can be seen here, but only in Japanese, I'm afraid.
The place itself is fairly large for a Japanese beer bar. There is a counter area with seating for around 6 and plenty of tables, maybe seating for around 60. The first night I was there for the beer launch the place was rammed and there were a lot of people standing. However, when I recently returned on a Saturday night, it was much quieter with only a handful of people there. I suspect that a regular weeknight falls somewhere between the two. Given that this is mainly a business district, it is not so surprising that it is quieter at the weekend, so if a more relaxed experience is what you are after, this is the best time to come. If you want a rowdier beer party atmosphere, try the beer launch nights. Along with the beer they have a decently priced food menu with some nice stuff on there. One slight drawback for me is that it seems that you can smoke here. Possibly there is a non-smoking area, but this doesn't really make a lot of difference when there is no real division between the two areas. On a quiet weekend night this wasn't a problem, but I can imagine that if it's packed it could get a bit unpleasant.
So, all in all, another really good place to drink in Tokyo. Although the Akasaka area might not appeal to some (on a weekday, myself included) it was nice and quiet at the weekend, so an option for you whatever your atmosphere preference. Otaru beers are good and tasty, the prices are pretty hard to beat, and there are enough different beers on to satisfy the physical and mental thirst of most drinkers. I'm not sure why it took me so long to get back here. The next time will definitely be not so long!

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:

Opening Hours:
Daily, 17.00-23.30

土橋ビルB1階, 3-17-8 赤坂, Minato-ku, Tokyo


Beer Horn is pretty easy to get to from either Akasaka or Akasakamitsuke metro stations. I have picked Akasaka, as it is on my line and the directions are much simpler. Leave via exit 1 and just carry on along the street. If you want to count side streets, it is just past the 6th one on the right. Otherwise, you can look out for a 7/11 on the right-hand side. Beer Horn is in the basement just before you get to the 7/11. There's quite a lot of signage outside so it should be difficult to miss if you are looking for it. 




Ratebeer listing

Party Plans


Steve said...

The beers here are good. But for me, my strong recollection here was that I live-Tweeted an earthquake while drinking here. The building did the shimmy for thirty seconds. Gratefully, no beer was lost (I was about halfway through the horn.).

Nathan Scheer said...

Just beware the happoshu :P - <- no matter where you end up just make sure you ASK if it's NAMA BIIRU... otherwise walk away, just... walk, away!

Tokyo Beer Drinker said...

I presume your comment is intended to get your web address out there! But I'm not sure just having nama is really such a good idea. There are a lot of good bottled and canned beers here now. Also some of the craft breweries are making Happoshu (ie. regular beers with a small amount of fruit, herbs or spice added. It's a lot easier to get a Happoshu brewing license than a beer brewing license. If you are talking about the major breweries though, YES YES YES! avoid the Happoshu like the plague.

Nathan Scheer said...

Yes major breweries, and getting my url out through citation link doesn't do anything SEO wise it was just a reference. If you have any recommendations for craft beers please do share, I live in Colorado and there are TONS of really great craft beers.

Thanks for responding.

Tokyo Beer Drinker said...

Ah ok, sorry for presuming so! I'm getting a bit of spam on here recently. Was just confused as someone was commenting on a post on a place that is now closed.
As for recommendations, do you mean beers or bars? I tend to stick to writing about bars as I think opinions about beers can be a lot more personal and subjective.

Nathan Scheer said...

Well I'm always open to opinions about beer so I'm open to anything. I'll be actually moving to Fukuoka in April next year with my wife, but I will be heading up to Tokyo when I get a chance... Today I did learn about an all you can drink (no time limit) sake bar, that was a rather interesting find... I believe it's called Sakekurare? Anyway, yeah bars are awesome too, my wife and I will looking to check out a few while in the area.

Nathan Scheer said...

Oh it's actually called Sakekurabe

Tokyo Beer Drinker said...

Nice! Although the all you can drink sake sounds a bit dangerous.
Send me an email when you might be coming to Tokyo. Things are changing so quickly here at the moment that anything could have happened by April. There are some nice bars in Fukuoka. I'm sure you'll have fun!

Nathan Scheer said...

Yeah it does sound that way lol. Guess it all a bunch of Junmai type of sake so it's at least good quality from what I read. But yeah, sure absolutely, thanks we will. Not sure exactly when we'll be able to swing up next year, but we're going to yet, but I'll do my best to remember to email you before coming up.