Yo-Ho Tokyo Black

Beer number 145 from the epic list is Tokyo Black, by the Yo-Ho Brewing Company in Nagano, Japan. I bought this beer in summer, and put it in my cellar (aka the top self of the spare room cupboard) so that I could enjoy it on a cold winter night. Then I forgot it was there, and didn’t find it until the second last night of winter! I really need to implement a better stock management system.


What’s on the bottle can?

Yep, it’s a beer in a can. Thankfully my aversion to canned beer has almost completely dissappeared, and I’m actually pretty excited to crack this one open. The artstyle of the can reminds me of traditional Japanese lacquerware. The can itself is black, with dominating brown clouds trying to cover a yellow moon in the sky. A sumo wrestler, wearing nothing but an Obi (aka that nappy looking thing that Sumo’s wear) is at the bottom of the can looking up at the sky. Unfortunately he has his back to you, so you get a good shot of his naked ass – this alone may be enough to prevent some people from buying this beer.

There’s a passage on the back of the can, but it’s not in english. I know enough Japanese to recognize that it’s written in Katakana, but I don’t know enough to translate it, so for now it’ll remain a mystery.

What’s in the bottle can?

The aroma is soft, sweet and pretty damn fantastic really! Vanilla was apparent first, followed by some caramel – not the oversweet caramello style, but the real stuff. There’s even a hint of miso soup?! But that may just be my memories of Tokyo playing with my senses.

There’s a hint of roast in the flavour, but it doesn’t overpower. There’s also a hint of dark fruits, followed by the same caramel and vanilla that featured in the aroma, that dance around a tang that sits on the tongue. That same tang last into the aftertaste, but it keeps throwing random flavours at you, as if it’s reminding you to have another sip. You’re constantly thinking of desert.

Final Thoughts

I love Japan, and drinking this beer brought back fond memories of my time there – even though all I drank during my time there was can after can of rice lager. The Yo-Ho Tokyo Black was a suprise package for me, and is now high on my list of dark beers that I’ll be stocking up on for next winter. Just don’t be put off by the Sumo’s ass…

Fact from the book…

This beer was created to capitalise on the popularity of Guiness in Japan, and to eventually exceed it. I’m not sure they’ve succeeded there, but I know which beer I’d reach for.


One thought on “Yo-Ho Tokyo Black

  1. Good blog. I like Porters on a cold winter night too. I’ll have to see if I can find this one since we’re going into our cold winter nights. Being Irish I can not see me picking a Porter over my Guiness. I did find a Milk Stout I really liked at a newer brewery named Rumspringa (Amish for going a little crazy) in Lancaster PA. Talk soon. John

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