Misc: Beers of Japan

Chuuhaifive is not a beer site, so I don’t post beer reviews. But I am a big beer fan, especially craft beer. Located in near Kanda Station, Chicago and Californian Pizza Kitchen/Craft Beer bar Devil Craft is my favorite restaurant in all of Tokyo. (And considering Tokyo has 16 million people and just as many restaurants, that’s high praise!)

Mainstream Japanese beer, the stuff made by Asahi, Suntory, Kirin, and Sapporo is very good and blows away American crap like Bud and Coors, but they lack variety – they all tend to be lagers. Craft beer and imports is the solution to this woeful problem, so it’s very nice to see Japanese brewers like Shiga, Shiroyama, and Nihonkai Club producing a variety of local and interesting beers.

BUT! Craft beer is too good for me, so I’ll continue to talk about the mainstream Japanese market.

Red Romance (pictured above) is a cassis-infused limited edition lager released by Suntory last year. Shockingly, it was neither very lager-y nor cassis-y, so I rather pleased by its medium-bodied texture. You can also see it had a ridiculously huge white head.

Meanwhile, Sapporo was busy releasing this classic-theme beer. It was decent and beer glass-worthy, but I’m not a regular Sapporo drinker so I can’t really judge whether this limited brew version is of much higher quality than their regular stuff.

As I write this, it’s March 3rd, and the cherry blossoms (“sakura”) are getting ready to bloom, so Asahi has put out it’s Ichiban Sakura Orion beer. Normally I kinda detest Asahi for their “super dry” label which 1) I dislike because it’s a brutally dry lager and 2) it was so successful in winning the “dry wars” Japanese beers try to be as dry as them. However, I do like the Sakura Orion because it’s nice, smooth, and medium-bodied; yet at the same time I am disappointed it does not taste like sakura. Instead, the idea here is that this is an ideal spring beer to drink while looking at the cherry blossoms. Psssssh. I want everything to be sakura-flavored and it’s still so cold here in Tokyo citrus beers like Hoegaarden are the way to harmonize with the weather.



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