Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Beering in Mind YouTube Channel Beer Review #152 -- Nihonkai Club Kanazawa Lager




Nihonkai Club Kanazawa Lager is a truly pleasant beer. The aroma and taste are both richer than those of most lagers. 

Click HERE for my YouTube review.

New Beers from the Japanese Majors in 2019: Sapporo Breweries / 日本の大手企業からの新しいビール 2019: サッポロビール


We’re into 2019 now. It's time to take stock of new beers brought out in 2019 by the four major breweries in Japan: Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo, and Suntory. I'll discuss them each in a separate post. I'll also give the current RateBeer weighted average score and my own rating score (both scores out of a possible total of five), keeping in mind that most of these newer brews have fewer than ten ratings.



Now, let’s have a look at Sapporo’s new offerings in 2019:


Two very limited-edition beers, each with hops from a single producer:


Sapporo Seven Premium Kamifurano Oosumi-san no Hoppu Batake Kara

Pale Lager - Intl / Premium / 5% /My Rating 3.1 / RateBeer Avg: 2.96

What a weird name. Did they really get ALL the hops from that one guy's hop field? Thick fruity nose, some grass and hay. Bright clear gold color, thick sponge-like head. Ripe stone fruit, thin bitterness. Flavors fade after mid palate. Thin body. Hmm... certainly has some decent hop aroma, but flavor is thin and disappointing. This one will not be around very long, I'm sure.






Sapporo Seven Premium Aomori Takko-machi Tanuma-san no Hoppu Batake Kara

Pale Lager - Intl / Premium / 5% / My Rating 3 / RateBeer Avg: 2.91

7-11 limited brew. Nose of grain and a pungent sort of grassiness. Medium gold color and a quickly dissipating head. Flavors of grain, punchy fruity hops with moderate bitterness, and a light peppery finish. Thin-medium body. Pretty malty, with some tangy hoppiness,..... but anyway....








Four new beers in the Yebisu line:

Sapporo Yebisu Shizuku

Helles / Dortmunder Export / 6% / My Rating 3.3 / RateBeer Avg: 2.94

Thin malty aroma, fine noble hop nose, all very fresh. Medium gold color, with a thin creamy white head. Smooth malty initial, rich in mid palate. Goes a bit spicy and peppery with hops, Mild bitterness and a thin dryish finish. A pleasant variation on the standard Yebisu, with a little more richness and punch to it.







Sapporo Yebisu Joel Robuchon French Pils (2019)

Pilsener / Pils / Pilsner / 5.5% / My Rating: 3.40 / RateBeer Avg: 3.09

Sweet delicate malty aroma, with citrus and grapes. Bright gold color. Smooth malty initial, some citrus tang, grape juice or wine, and a light metallic note in the finish. Medium body, a little heavy for the style, and some fuzzy carbonation tingle on the tongue. Champagne malt (whatever that is) and two kinds of hops. The grape / wine note makes it feel a bit more alcoholic than it really is. Almost seems like a hybrid. This is the seventh, and the last, beer that Joel Robuchon supervised for Sapporo before he died in August of 2018.



Sapporo Yebisu Premium Ale


Red Ale / Intl Amber Ale / 5.5% / My Rating: 3.3 / RateBeer Avg: 3.15

Can. Light spicy nose, with berries, and mild stone fruit. Deep copper/brown color, moderate head. Fruity flavor, with mild caramel. Bitterness hits pretty hard in mid palate and extends through to the finish. Thin-medium body. Interesting mix of flavors (for a Yebisu). Nose isn't much. Bitterness quite strong.



Sapporo Fukkoku Tokusei Yebisu

Helles / Dortmunder Export / 5% / My Rating: 3.4 / RateBeer Avg: 3.09

Malty nose, with lightly pungent grassy notes and all a bit fuzzy on the sinuses. Bright gold color, thin white head. Thick malty initial, heavy and bready in mid palate, with a surprisingly sharp bitterness near finish. Medium body. Nose is "Yebisu," but the flavor incorporates more bitterness than most beers in the Yebisu line. The body is heavier as well






Sapporo Hokkaido Nama Beer

Pale Lager - North Am. / Light / 5.5% / My Rating: 3.2 / RateBeer Avg:     2.91

Can. Light malty nose, some grass. Medium gold color. Mild bready malt, pleasant gentle bittering, then a bit sweetish, and a fairly bland finish. Thin-medium body. Okay. Nothing really special or "Hokkaido" about this one.










Sapporo Beer Surprise Shifuku no Kaori

Pilsener / Pils / Pilsner / 5% / My Rating: 3.3 / RateBeer Avg: 3.14

Nose is herbal, with plenty of citrus and noble hops. Bright gold color. Smooth fruity flavors, lightly bready, and has rather sharp bittering from mid palate onward. Thin-medium body, very light hop burn. The sharp bitterness is similar to that in other beers is this series. “Beer Surprise” – such a wonderful name....;((



Sapporo Honkaku Karakuchi

Pale Lager - North Am. / Light/ 5% / My Rating 2.1 / RateBeer Avg: 2.49 

Nose of spirits, grain, some grass, and light alc. fumes. Medium gold color. Mild malt, spirits emerge pretty quickly, light sugars, and a thin touch of bitterness. Thin-medium boy. Pretty not good.










Sapporo Mugi to Hoppu So no Kaori


Pale Lager - North Am. / Light / 5% / My Rating: 2.5 / RateBeer Avg: 2.79

Can. Fuzzy citrus nose, light grass. Medium gold color. Mild stone fruit flavor, with light apple and pear notes. Tiny bitterness. Has some of the requisite spirits presence but not too much. Thin-medium body. Not terrible.



Sapporo Mugi to Hoppu Natsudzumi

Pale Lager - North Am. / Light / 5% / My Rating: 2 / RateBeer Avg: 2.70

Thin floury malt aroma, mild spirits + hop mixture. Bright medium gold color, with a spongy off-white head, and lazy carbonation. Fruity initial, then grain spirits slip in, and then a mild hop bitterness. Thin-medium body. Nothing special or even summery about this one.








Sapporo Mugi to Hoppu Hon Juku

Pale Lager - North Am. / Light / 6% / My Rating: 2.4 / RateBeer Avg: 2.72

Overripe stone fruit nose, mosquito spray, spirits. Clear bright gold color. Thick stone fruit extract, spirits. The spirits flavor extend to the finish, along with a mild hop bitterness. Medium body. Covers up the junky aspects somewhat. Not the worst turd in the Mugi to Hoppu punch bowl, but not worth purchasing








Sapporo Mugi to Hoppu Tohoku No Kaori

Pale Lager - North Am. / Light 5% / RateBeer Avg: 2.79

No chance to try this one
















Sapporo Hokkaido Off No Gochisou

Pale Lager - Intl / Premium / 5% / RateBeer Avg: 2.89

No chance to try this one





















Sapporo Mega Lager

Pale Lager – Strong / 6% / My Rating 1.8 / RateBeer Avg: 2.68

Can. Nose of sewer pipe, and crushed rotten fruit. Clear medium gold color. Harsh fruity flavors, rough sweet and sour stuff. Big carbonation jump in mid palate. Ouch! Yuck! Label says "beer taste" – Oh, yeah? Well, hardly, says I. Herkules hops -- so what? Avoid this one.








Sapporo Innovative Brewer Sorachi 1984

Blonde Ale / Golden Ale / 5.5% / My Rating: 2.8 / RateBeer Avg: 3.01

Aromas of stone fruit, soap, some sort of wine, and lemons fried up in butter. Dark gold color. Flavors of stone fruit, apples, light citrus, green onions, dill, mint, and more soap. Thin-medium body. Flavors are certainly unusual. Sorachi Ace seems a bit too strong to be used as a single hop. Hard to drink at first, and then the palate gets (somewhat) used to it.






Sapporo Innovative Brewer Sky Pils

Pilsener / Pils / Pilsner / 5% / RateBeer Avg: 2.76

No chance to try this one


Friday, January 24, 2020

New Beers from the Japanese Majors in 2019: Kirin Brewery Company / 日本の大手企業からの新しいビール 2019: キリンビール



We’re into 2019 now. It's time to take stock of new beers brought out in 2019 by the four major breweries in Japan: Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo, and Suntory. I'll discuss them each in a separate post. I'll also give the current RateBeer weighted average score and my own rating score (both scores out of a possible total of five), keeping in mind that most of these newer brews have fewer than ten ratings.



Let’s see what Kirin came up with:

.... only four new beers
..... but a couple of ciders



Kirin The Hop Kaori no Yoin

Pale Lager - North Am. / Light / 5% / My Rating: 3.1/ RateBeer Avg: 3.00

This beer has aromas of citrus, medium-strength maltiness, and something like grain spirits (though no spirits are included). It is sparkling clear gold, with a fat head which flattens out quickly. Flavors of citrus, sweetish malt, orange/lemon again in mid palate, and a hit of alcohol in the finish. Medium body. Okay. But not really much to say about it. The faux spirits thing in the aroma is weird.



Kirin Grand Kirin Orange IPA

IPA – Flavored / 5.5% / My Rating: 2.90 / RateBeer Avg: 2.90

A fuzzy citrus aroma, with light grass/weeds. Deep orange-tinted amber, and a filmy off-white head. Thick sweetish maltiness, orange peel, and moderate bitterness. Medium body, a bit heavier than expected. The orange peel complements the bitterness initially, but after a few sips it becomes unpleasant. More or less drinkable.




Kirin Nodogoshi Goku Goku

Pale Lager - North Am. / Light / 5% / My Rating 2.00 / RateBeer Avg: 2.63

Very fruity nose, with grain spirits, crushed weeds, and dead flowers. Medium dark gold, thin filmy head. Rude junky malt flavor, with grain spirits, and mild bitterness. Thin-medium body. Spirits intrude way too much.



Kirin Hard Cidre Dry Apple Brew

Apple Cider / 4.5% / My Rating: 3.2 / RateBeer Avg: 2.91

Smooth nose of fresh ripe green apples and light spice. Clear bright gold color. Tart, tingly apples, some honey or sugars, light acidity. Flavors fade out fairly quickly, moderately dry finish. Crisp, smooth body. Not bad.










Kirin Mercian Cidre

Apple Cider / 5% / RateBeer Avg: 3

No chance to try this one
















Kirin Ichiban Shibori Kiyosumi

Pale Lager - Intl / Premium / 5% / My Rating: 3.10 / RateBeer Avg: 2.91

Lightly spritzy stone fruit aroma, with a thin bit of starchy powdered sugar. Moderately fruity flavors: pear, apple, with some decent mid palate hoppiness to balance. Thin-medium body. Pleasant and maybe a bit richer than most varieties in the far too overcrowded Ichiban Shiborri series.