Today we’ve got a Boozism special: Japanese beer!
My friend recently returned from a trip to Japan and upon his arrival, he presented me with several cans of Japanese beer (cheers Eric!). I’ve never seen any of these over here so I figured it would be a good opportunity to drink some tasty Japanese booze and share my worthless opinions. I can’t read Japanese which means I’ve got no idea what the fuck is written on the cans, so instead of drinking alone tonight, I’ll be drinking with my good friend Google Translate. This could make a fun drinking game: drink every time the translation makes no fucking sense.
Kirin Brewery – Nodogoshi-Nama
It took me quite a while to figure out what this beer is called because the whole fucking can is in Japanese, however it appears to be named “Nodogoshi-Nama” by a brewery named Kirin. I was able to find a marketing website which provided more information about this beer. You know a beer is just screaming with quality when the product description begins with the phrase “For tax purposes”. The article then goes on to talk about “Second category beer” which uses less malt and therefore pays less tax. It gets even better: this is actually “Third category beer” because it doesn’t use any malt at all, and instead uses soy protein. Lovely.
Nodogoshi-Nama is actually better than the above paragraph would lead you to believe. It’s 5% and comes in a 350ml can. Upon pouring it, the beer is a slightly darker colour than I would have expected, but not by much. It’s very heavily carbonated and has a slightly strange head which is quite light and made out of very small bubbles. The way the head clings to the sides of the glass reminds me of soap bubbles when cleaning a window. It smells somewhere between a cheap lager and a cheap pilsner. There’s not much taste to it and it’s a bit watery, but it isn’t unpleasant. This is a very easy beer to drink and I could see myself knocking back pints of this during the hot summer months. I don’t have a price for this beer, but going by the whole “for tax purposes” thing, I’d assume it’s pretty cheap which makes this a pretty great beer.
Boozism rating: 8/10 deliciouses
I’ve drank many bottles of Asahi Super Dry in the past as it seems to be the only Asahi beer which is available here. It’s a pretty decent beer and one of the few Japanese beers which is easily available. This is the first time I’ve got a chance to try some of their other beers so I’m looking forward to these ones.
Asahi Super Dry is brewed with rice. I’m not sure what’s in Asahi Clear, but I’m guessing there’s no rice. It comes in a 350ml can and measures 5%. It looks like any regular lager, so there’s nothing unusual here. The smell is pretty much as expected too. It smells like a regular lager although there’s a slight metallic scent which thankfully isn’t too up-front. There’s a bit more of the metallic aroma in the taste, but again it’s not overpowering and can be somewhat ignored. Asahi Clear definitely tastes different from Super Dry, but I’d chose Super Dry over this if I had the choice.
Boozism rating: 6/10 deliciouses
Asahi Clear Prime Rich
A quick flick through Google would suggest Asahi Clear Prime Rich is the big brother of Asahi Clear. Whereas Asahi Clear appears to be going for a lighter, cleaner lager, Prime Rich appears to be going for a heavier, more flavoursome approach. It comes in a 350ml can and weighs in at a hefty 6%.
This beer looks like any regular beer, however it has a strange smell which I can’t quite put my finger on. The smell reminds me of vegetables. Not nice vegetables, a bag of really shitty microwaved vegetables with a hint of the Christmas dinner vegetables which nobody ever eats. There’s also a metallic taste. A bit like blood, or if you’re ever handling a load of coins and then lick your fingers. You could also lick the coins directly but I wouldn’t recommend that. This isn’t the worst of beers, but bloody vegetables isn’t really a flavour I would go out of my way to seek. To me, Prime Rich tastes like a more intense version of Asahi Clear, which isn’t something I want. It’s drinkable, but if I had the choice I’d take the regular Asahi Clear.
Boozism Rating: 5/10 delciouses
Kirin – Hyoketsu Lemon Strong
I have no idea if I’ve got the name of this one right. It’s another one made by Kirin and there’s a lemon on the can. It’s another 350ml can but this one comes in at 9%. I had assumed this was some kind of beer mixed with lemon but I was totally wrong. It’s more like an alcoholic lemonade. A quick look on Google revealed another marketing page which provides a bit more information. I had again incorrectly assumed this was vodka and lemonade, but it’s actually a stronger version of another Kirin drink named “Hyoketsu” which is made of Shōchū, soda water and fruit juice. Shōchū is a Japanese spirit I hadn’t heard of until now. It sounds quite strange as it can come in a wide range of strengths and can be made from various things such as chestnuts or carrots. I’m sure it’ll turn up in a future review.
Hyoketsu Lemon Strong pours like a lemonade and looks the same. It’s carbonated and clear. It smells like a weak lemonade and vodka. It doesn’t taste as strong as I expected. Again, it tastes similar to vodka and lemonade. There’s some notes of lemon Pledge but it’s nothing overpowering. This isn’t something I would buy very often, but it tastes good and it’s pretty strong. Assuming it’s not expensive, this is a pretty decent drink.
Boozism rating: 8/10 deliciouses
Suntory – Strong Zero Lime
This one confused me for a while as I had once again made incorrect assumptions. After drinking the previous Kirin Lemon Strong, I assumed this was the same drink but with lime instead. Although it looks somewhat similar, it’s made by a company called “Suntory”. This also comes in a 350ml can and is 9%. This one is sugar-free which explains the “zero” in the name. I’m not finding as much information about this one online, but I’m going to make another (probably incorrect) assumption that this is made with Shōchū, diet soda and lime.
Similar to the Kirin Lemon Strong, Suntory Strong Zero Lime pours and looks like lemonade. It smells a bit like Sprite and tastes like Sprite with a splash of vodka. You can tell it’s sugar-free, but no more than the difference between regular and sugar-free Sprite. Like the Kirin, this is pretty easy to drink and tastes pretty good. I prefer this one slightly more than the Kirin, but that’s probably because I prefer lime over lemon. Both Suntory and Kirin appear to have these drinks in various different flavours such as lemon, lime, grapefruit and peach. I’m sure they both have regular and sugar-free versions too. It’s nice to know this one is sugar-free so I can literally drink as many as these as humanly possible and I’ll never get fat. I’m actually fairly certain I’ll end up like Arnie if I keep drinking these. Hopefully Hercules-era Arnie and not that period where he went all weird and saggy.
Boozism rating: 9/10 deliciouses
During my research for these drinks I came across another review blog which specialises in Japanese beers. He has a much more tasteful approach than me and seems to know what he’s talking about so I recommend giving it a visit if you’re interested in Japanese beers: