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Posts Tagged ‘lager’

Asahi Super Dry Black

November 14, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.4

Not to be confused with the similarly named Asahi Black that I reviewed here a few years ago, this one is another dark beer from the brewery that I managed to try in Japan last month and one that is also my penultimate new offering from the brewery that I tried in the country. Seemingly a 2012 release, this one is a newer beer that their Asahi Black (or Asahi Kuronama as it is sometimes known) but unlike that offering, this one isn’t a beer that features in the 1001 beers list sadly. I managed to try this one in a Tokyo whale meat restaurant on my last full night in Japan and opted for it as the only non-pale lager on the menu despite it being one that I had already tried early on my trip to Japan; it is also a nice one to check off since it doesn’t appear to be an Asahi beer that is readily available in the UK either.

Appearance (4/5): Really dark mahogany to black in colour and sitting with an opaque body, this one has quite a thin head on top that sits just under a centimetre tall but fades to a thin surface lacing after about thirty seconds, with a little more build up around the edges at least.
Aroma (6/10): Darker malts and some roasted notes kick things off here, there was some earthy bitterness and light coffee in the early going too but neither overpowered thankfully. A little further on there was some grassy smells and a little sweetness but it was quite a basic, almost weak nose at times.
Taste (7/10): The beer opens with some dark and roasted malts, there was some chocolate showing too which provided an early sweetness that only showed towards the end of the taste. Around the middle some grains and subtle hops featured with a few touches of hay before coffee and earthy malts seen things out nicely.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and not overly dry despite the name, the beer was dark and bordered on fresh with a subtle hop bitterness that fades and turns almost watery further on. It was however an easy to drink beer with a nice balance without it being anything overly special on the way down.

Overall (14/20): This one was a fairly enjoyable offering from Asahi and a nice change from the usual pale lagers I was drinking with dinner most nights in Japan, this one was lively and fresh with a slightly dry feel at the end. There was plenty of roasted and dark malts throughout with some grains, hay and grassy hops working well together to help this one go down easily enough.

Brewed In: Tokyo, Japan
Brewery: Asahi Breweries
First Brewed:  2012
Type: Schwarzbier/Black Lager
ABV: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (334ml)
Purchased: Kujiraya, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Price: ¥450 (£2.98 approx.)

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Hinano

October 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.5

Another review of a beer that I tried in Japan now, this one being the only non-Japanese beer that I tried in just over two weeks in the country and the only reason I ended up trying this one is because the bar at the Umeda Sky Building in Osaka only sold beers from around the world (mainly other Asian and Oceanic offerings). This one is a beer that I went for mainly because it would be the first from Tahiti that I will have tried and my thinking was that I’d probably never see it again or get another chance to try it; although I did end up seeing it in a couple of convenience stores later on into my trip but likely wouldn’t have tried it then since there was other Japanese beers on offer too. Brewed in the capital of Tahiti, Papeete since 1955 and using ingredients from Europe, the beer is probably the only one from Tahiti that I’m likely to try since I can’t imagine stumbling across many more from the French Polynesia area without travelling there either so in that sense this one is a good beer to try despite it not being a Japanese one.

Appearance (4/5): Clear, golden amber coloured and topped with a half centimetre tall, foamy white head that held well initially with some visible carbonation showing too.
Aroma (6/10): Light on the nose as expected, there was some corn and basic adjuncts coming through alongside touches of maize and subtle biscuit malts. I detected a few hints of sweetness and the odd grassy notes as well as some citrus seeing things out.
Taste (6/10): The taste matches the nose with this one, there’s some biscuit malts and light lager ones kicking things off alongside subtle citrus flavours then some hay and grassy hops a little further on. The taste is definitely a basic one but the subtle hop bitterness towards the end was quite good too.
Palate (4/5): Light bodied and quite thin but it was fresh with some light sweetness coming through as well. It’s definitely an easy and refreshing one to drink with a nice balance too and it was a lot better than I’d expected going in.

Overall (14/20): Quite an enjoyable beer that was basic but surprisingly fresh and drinkable, going down easily with little sign of any skunk or off-flavours. There was some subtle sweetness from the corn and touches of biscuit malt worked well with the usual grassy hops and hay flavours. It’s enjoyable for what it was and is definitely one of the better mass-market pale lagers out there, I’m glad I stumbled across this one.

Brewed In: Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Brewery: Brasserie de Tahiti
First Brewed: 1955
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Umeda Sky Building, Osaka, Japan
Price: ¥500 (£3.31 approx.)

Kirin Classic Lager

October 26, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.75

My fourth beer to fall under the Kirin banner now and the third of which I managed to try on my recent trip to Japan, eventually picking this one up about a week into my trip when I bought a bottle from a shop in the Dotonbori area of Osaka. Following on from Kirin’s Tanrei Green Label and their Ichiban Shibori Stout, this one is the third of five new Kirin beers that I sampled whilst travelling round Japan but I can’t imagine it’s a brand I’ll have many more from after I finish adding the reviews of those that I’ve already tried, mainly because very few of their beers make it to the UK despite the brewery’s beers being amongst the most readily available in Japan. The beer is one that I spotted countless times on my trip and despite it being a beer I hadn’t tried previously, I was initially reluctant to pick it up thinking it would be too similar to their Kirin Ichiban offering I reviewed here about six years ago and have been avoiding ever since.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a clear and light beer with a golden amber colour that was fizzy looking and had a lot of bubbles rising to the surface. There was a centimetre tall, foamy white head that was wavy and held quite well over the opening minutes as well.
Aroma (5/10): There wasn’t a huge amount coming through with the nose of this one other than some corn and basic adjuncts, a few grassy hops appeared near the middle of proceedings with touches of hay as well. Towards the end I got some citrus showing with maize and subtle biscuit notes but it’s one that would be hard to tell apart from most other Japanese marco pale lagers really.
Taste (5/10):
Matching the nose and coming through with quite a light taste, this one started with a combination of pale malts and biscuit before touches of maize and corn adjuncts started to come through alongside some rice as well. The beer was basic but had some biscuit and the odd grassy hop further on but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for a standard pale lager I’m afraid.
Palate (2/5):
Quite a light bodied lager that bordered on thin and basic; there was some earthy hops in the early going to impart a subtle bitterness at least though. The beer was smooth for the most part and it was moderately carbonated as well but it didn’t seem overly crisp despite still being quite easy to drink.

Overall (11/20): Very much a basic pale lager with the usual corn and maize adjuncts coming through with touches of maize and rice not far behind. There was a faint sweetness to this one at points and I managed to get some hay and grassy hops further on but there wasn’t a whole lot to this beer and it’s one that I could have lived without trying.

Brewed In: Tokyo, Japan
Brewery: Kirin Brewery Company
First Brewed: 1888
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Dotonbori, Osaka, Japan
Price: ¥280 (£1.86)

Kure Shimanowa Pilsner

October 20, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.8

The first beer that I managed to try on a recent visit to Hiroshima now, this one being my first beer from the local Kure brewery and one that I was actually on the look out for after reading a little about it before heading off on my trip. Brewed with oranges and lemons, this was definitely one that I went into expecting a refreshing, lively taste and thankfully it didn’t really disappoint either.

Appearance (4/5): Golden amber with a semi-cloudy body and a thin, white head on top that was foamy and covered the surface well, sitting just under a centimetre tall.
Aroma (7/10): Fresh and coming through with plenty citrus in the early going, the beer had some lemon notes with a little yeast and spice not far behind. There was some lively touches initially with some coriander that made it seem almost witbier like at times before some pale malts and grassy hops started to come through further on.
Taste (7/10): Fresh with some lemon and orange in the early going, there was a solid citrus taste that was backed up by some biscuit and pale malts with the odd grassy flavour towards the middle. It was a zesty beer with subtle yeast and hay further on alongside some tropical fruits and a hop-bitterness right at the end.
Palate (4/5): Quite a dry and fresh beer that was tangy with some citrus zest in there too. I found this one to be a well-balanced and drinkable beer that seemed refreshing and quite lively too, it was a well carbonated offering that I found very easy to drink.

Overall (16/20): A very nice, citrus style lager that was an excellent introduction to beer in Hiroshima and one of the best beers I’d tried in Japan up until that point. The beer went down very easily with a fresh, tangy feel that was well-carbonated but balanced and easy to drink; a subtle hop-bitterness and some background fruits keeping things interesting throughout. The nose could perhaps have been a little stronger at times but overall it was a very enjoyable beer and one that I’d happily have again.

Brewed In: Kure, Hiroshima, Japan
Brewery: Kure Beer
Type: Pilsner
First Brewed: 2004
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Keg (280ml)
Purchased: Golden Garden, Hiroshima, Japan
Price:‎ ¥700 (£4.64 approx.)

Kirin Tanrei Green Label

October 18, 2017 2 comments

Rating: 1.95

A fourth beer review from my recent trip to Japan now and one that follows on from the Kirin Ichiban that I reviewed here previously as my second from the Kirin brewery. For all intents and purposes, this offering is another pale lager from the brewery but in Japan it is known as a happoshu drink which is taxed lower than beers and is therefore quite popular and cheaper than beer; basically the key ingredient can’t be malt or the malt ratio has to be less than 67% to qualify as a happoshu.

Appearance (3/5): After an aggressive pour the beer sat with a two centimetre tall head that was bone white and foamy looking, leaving a little lacing on the sides of the glass too. The body was a clear one with a light, golden straw colour to it and head retention was okay too; not a bad start for the style.
Aroma (5/10): A lively beer on the nose, this one opened with some citrus lemon and a few floral touches before the odd background fruit showed itself; definitely fresher than anticipated but there wasn’t much else to it really.
Taste (4/10):
Quite a basic and very cheap tasting beer that was loaded with corn and vegetable adjuncts, there was some faint citrus at point but it was also quite a weak beer when compared with the nose. Towards the end the beer seemed a little watery with a subtle bitterness here too but generally it was a poor offering.
Palate (1/5):
Basic and cheap throughout, this one was loaded with adjuncts and seemed quite watery and bland later on. It was a weak, poorly carbonated beer with a faint bitterness towards the end.

Overall (5/20): Terrible stuff from Kirin here and a beer that I will definitely not be returning to in future, it was quite a weak and poorly balanced beer with the taste a massive step down from an already poor aroma. There wasn’t much of anything going on really, save for some basic corn and citrus flavours which made it one-dimensional and not very enjoyable; one of the worst I tried in Japan.

Brewed In: Tokyo, Japan
Brewery: Kirin Brewery Company
First Brewed: 2002
Type: Happoshu (Pale Lager)
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Family Mart (Hanzomon, Tokyo)
Price: ¥138 (£0.92 approx.)

Suntory The Premium Malt’s

October 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.0

Another random Japanese lager that I managed to pick up and try on my recent trip to Japan, this one a first from the Suntory brewery based in Osaka but one that I picked up from a Family Mart in Tokyo early in my holiday. The beer is one that I’d noted down to look out for, for what reason I’m still not sure but as it turned out it was quite an easy beer to find in the country. Available at almost every convenience store I visited during my trip, this is a beer that I only tried once and it is also one that definitely wasn’t as bad as I had feared upon opening the can.

Appearance (3/5): A fairly light beer that was a straw golden colour and topped with a thumb-sized, foamy white head of about two centimetres tall. Retention was a little better than expected with it holding its initial height well over the opening couple of minutes before eventually halving in size.
Aroma (6/10): Very light and basic smelling with a lot of corn and vegetable adjuncts coming through in the early going, this one is definitely a cheaply brewed pale lager that had some rice and cereal coming through at points as well. There was a touch of skunk towards the end but this was a bit lighter than anticipated before a subtle bitterness seen things out.
Taste (6/10): The taste was a little stronger than with the nose, I managed to get some corn and cereal in the early going before some touches bread and basic adjuncts made an appearance. There was some rice around the middle with a slightly earthy taste and some hay following but it was quite basic throughout.
Palate (3/5):Light-medium bodied and definitely a malty beer as the name suggested, this one was fairly clean and very much a mass-market offering. There was some subtle bitterness further on and thankfully the skunky flavours were kept to a minimum.

Overall (12/20): This one was a fairly basic but somewhat drinkable offering from Suntory, it’s not one that I’d go as far as to recommend anyone tries but it was fairly easy to drink lager with a solid malt taste and some subtle bitterness further on. There wasn’t a whole lot to it really but it’s not the worst Japanese lager I’ve tried either.

Brewed In: Osaka, Japan
Brewery: Suntory
First Brewed: circa. 2002
Type: Premium Lager
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Family Mart (Hanzomon, Tokyo)
Price: ¥142 (£0.95 approx.)

Premium Yebisu

October 16, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 2.35

The first of approximately forty new beers that I managed to review in just over two weeks on my recent trip to Japan, this one being a beer that I picked up from a Family Mart store on my first night in the country and one that I had actually been on the look out for as it was one of the country’s higher rated marco-lagers online. The beer was my third from Sapporo Breweries after reviewing their Premium Lager and Draft Beer offerings back in 2011 and not really enjoying either, the Premium Lager offering in particular being a poor one. I tried my best to avoid beers from this brewery when something different was available but did end up reviewing another Yebisu offering later in my trip so expect that to be added here soon too.

Appearance (3/5): Medium amber in colour with a very clear body and a lot of big bubbles rising to the surface. The head was white and about one centimetre tall with a foamy texture and good retention, fading to a small surface lacing after a couple of minutes.
Aroma (5/10): There wasn’t much in the way of an aroma to this one at all, I managed to get some basic corn and vegetable adjuncts in the early going with some cereal and rice in there too. Definitely a cheap and basic lager with some light earthy touches and subtle bitterness further on towards the end. Thankfully there wasn’t much in the way of any skunk on the nose but it was quite a light and cheap aroma anyway.
Taste (4/10): The taste is quite a close match to the nose with some corn and pale, earthy notes coming through alongside the usual basic adjuncts; namely some rice and vegetable notes. There was some light skunk right at the end but for the most part this was a fairly Asian-style standard pale lager.
Palate (2/5): Light to light-medium bodied but not quite as thin as I’d feared going in, the beer was basic and a little bland at times which in turn made it easy to drink but not overly enjoyable really. It was quite a one-dimensional offering with a slight dryness at the end but it wasn’t as crisp as I’d have liked.

Overall (9/20): A very basic and cheap tasting lager that didn’t have a whole lot going on really, I can now see why this is one of the Japanese lagers that never seems to make it as far as the UK. It was an easy enough beer to drink, mainly down to the fact that it was light and bland for the most part, it was however relatively skunk free expect for at the very end of the taste but it’s not really one that I’d recommend.

Brewed In: Ibaraki, Japan
Brewery: Sapporo Breweries
Type: Dortmunder/Export Lager
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Family Mart (Hanzomon, Tokyo)
Price:‎ ¥242 (£1.60 approx.)