Saturday, January 17, 2015

New Beers from the Japanese Major Brewing Companies in 2014: Asahi / 日本の大手企業からの新しいビール 2014: Asahi

We’re into the new year now. It's time to look around and take stock of new beers brought out in 2014 by the four major breweries in Japan: Kirin, Asahi, Sapporo, and Suntory. I'll discuss them each in a separate post. I'll also give the style and the current RateBeer weighted average score followed by my own rating score (both scores out of a possible total score of 5), keeping in mind that most of them have fewer than ten ratings.

In the previous post we looked at Kirin's new beers. Here are twelve new beers from Asahi, which seemed content to bring out mostly several low-malt, no-malt, or cocktail brews:

Asahi Double YeastAsahi Double Yeast 
(Premium Lager)        2.73     2.9
A grassy nose, with some light sweet malt, bath cleanser, and scrambled eggs. Light straw color, nearly colorless at the edges. Light creamy fruitiness, with a gentle and pleasant bitterness. Finish is smooth, with trickles of whole wheat breadiness. Thin body. Strangely satisfying for mass market stuff. Unusual bittering and body.

Asahi Crystal GoldAsahi Crystal Gold 
(Pale Lager)    2.55     2.2
A typical daisan spirity sewer stink, with some rotten lemon peels. Clear bright golden straw. Harsh starchy maltiness. Sticks in the craw, near acidic and bitter. Thin-medium body. Pretty bad stuff.

Asahi Aqua ZeroAsahi Aqua Zero 
(Pale Lager)    2.4       1.9
This one has a minimal malt nose, like garbage floating in a sewer. It pours out a clear dull straw color, with fat explosive bubbles shooting up. Thin tangy initial, some citrus, with sharp knives of bitterness (ouch!), and then fades into nothing with a blessed suddenness. Thin, with very harsh carbonation. Has less flavor than most happoshu or daisan brews. Not so much "spirits" character, thankfully. Fourteen lousy ingredients. No need to try this one...really.

Asahi Clear Tsumami Tate Hoppu (Freshly Picked Hops)Asahi Clear Tsumami Tate Hoppu
(Pale Lager)    2.55     2.1
Asahi picks up on the wet-hop trend. A light cardboard nose, with a teeny hop note, and some shoe polish. Very "clear" pale straw, wispy head. Light pale malt, spirits (not too harsh), and a tiny sweet finish. Thin body. Not terribly offensive. Some small hop aroma, but nothing much in flavor.

Asahi Dry Premium Hatsu Shikomi Premium 
(Pale Lager)    2.87     2.8
A sweet and rude fruity nose. Really seems like there are spirits in this one (though no spirits are listed among the ingredients. Dark amber/gold color, fat-bubbled head, tiny carb rising. A mild sweet initial, followed by a whisper of bitterness, some corn starch notes, and very light hop tracks in the finish. Thin-medium. Better than Super Dry... but just a little bit. Too sickly sweet with (faux) maltiness.

Asahi Super ZeroAsahi Super Zero 
(Pale Lager)    2.3       1.8
Geez! Aromas of white grape juice, spirits, white flour, and glue. Weird bright glowing deep straw color. Tart, sour, weedy initial, followed by more spirits, and it all flutters off into a dull sweetness. Thin-medium body, harsh carbonation. Pretty bad, as are all 0% purine beers. But perhaps not the worst.

Asahi Fukairi no AkiAsahi Fukairi no Aki 
(Oktoberfest/Märzen)             2.69     2.4
Aromas of caramel, fish flakes, cardboard, and light alcohol fumes. Pour out a deep glowing copper color. Caramel, roast malt, spirits ... and then the familiar happoshu fade out. Thin body. Not much here, and it doesn’t really rise to fall as an Oktoberfest should (or rather, it autumns out very quickly).

Asahi Hoppu Kaoru Pink Beer Cocktail - Fruit Beer/RadlerAsahi Hoppu Kaoru Pink Beer Cocktail 
(Fruit Beer/Radler)     2.42     1.1
A slight indeterminate fruity nose, like a cologne. Weird light rose water color, barely tinted pink, and no head. Minimal fruit flavors, maybe strawberry and artificial sweetener. Thin, watery, and fizzy. There is no "hoppu" kaori here. There is almost nothing at all. Thinned out and insipid.

Asahi Beer SpritzerAsahi Beer Spritzer 
(Fruit Beer/Radler)     2.58     1.5
A candyish aroma of grape juice and chewing gum. Clear light straw color, no head. Sweet fruit flavors: apples, grapes, and strawberries. Thins out and fades away very quickly, like a underdone cider. Thin body, and quite flat. Not sure why they introduced this in autumn since it seems like a summer sipper. This is getting pretty far from beer.

Asahi Cola & MaltAsahi Cola & Malt 
(Spice/Herb/Vegetable)          1.89     1.2
Well, this one has a decided COLA nose. It’s a light COLA brown color. And it has a COLA flavor, with just the smallest tinge of bittering in the final (tastes like someone broke a ballpoint pen and squirted the ink into the bottle). Thin COLA body. Not really beer, but COLA!!!! I wonder if this should even be called a beer. It has exactly 0.1% lemon flavoring. COLA!

Asahi Lime Black Asahi Lime Black 
(Spice/Herb/Vegetable)          2.41     1.7
A light cola nose, with some spicy citrus, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Medium translucent brown color. Light harsh roast malt, which quickly thins out, followed by minimal hopping. Thin body. I can’t see the point of this. Maybe it’s better with the suggested wedge of lime?

Asahi Orange & BlackAsahi Orange & Black 
(Spice/Herb/Vegetable)          2.25     1.9
The aroma is mostly orangeade. Dark translucent brown, little head. Flavors of thin ashes over a bit of cracker-like malt, a tinge of orange flavor (not really zesty), and then it morphs into light bitterness in the finish. Thin body, very light. There’s so little here. Another silly novelty beer cocktail thing.

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