Three Japanese beers fall a little flat


Hugh the Neighbour and I decided to have a crack at some Japanese beers a couple of weekends back and the most impressive thing to come out of it was the Cherry Blossoms beating the Springboks in the first round of the Rugby World Cup.

Who knows if the two events were connected, but it seems to be more than a coincidence, don't you think?

Anyway, Hugh thought it would be a good idea to try some lighter and fresher beers, so we settled on three beers from the Land of the Rising Sun.

There are similarities to them all - 5% alcohol content, a cleanness on the palate.

First, the Sapporo Premium Beer. This is a pleasant enough German-style lager from the large Japanese brewers in the north of Japan.

First brewed in 1876, this is a crisp golden lager with some hints of malt coming through.

Next up, the Suntory Magnum Dry. Suntory is mainly known as a distiller and in some ways the beer did present as if it was a sideline to the main event. Not that there was anything particularly wrong with it - smooth enough with a little hops on the finish - but not particularly memorable, either.

Lastly, the Kirin First Press. Both HTN and I thought this one was the pick of the litter - a real crispness and slight bitterness made this perfectly drinkable.

In fact of the three we tried the Kirin was the one I could see myself putting into an esky and taking along to one of those occasions where there is a distinct possibility I will end up having more than two drinks.

As the regular reader would know, we have been enjoying some big and malty/hoppy brews over the past few months and that may colour one's expectations. While these beers were not bad in any way, they just seemed a little bland. HTN probably summed it up when he said that once you swallow there is nothing left on the palate. Maybe that is the secret of Japanese beers - they are only to be enjoyed in a brief moment.

Sapporo Premium Beer: 355ml bottles; 5% alc vol, $18.50 for six; $49.99 carton of 24

Suntory Magnum Dry: 500ml cans; 5% alc vol, $12.99 for six; $49.95 carton of 24

Kirin First Press: 330ml bottles; 5% alc vol, $17.50 for six; $47.95 carton of 24

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