Total Score: 8.2/10
Found this classic Japanese all-malt beer in a quaint little Japanese shop called Genki Mart (in Alderley, Brisbane). This is probably the first Japanese all-malt beer that I’ve gotten my mitts on. Now ‘all-malt’ is a bit of a nebulous term – all beer contains (or should contain) malt right? In the US it is used to distinguish beers that aren’t brewed with any adjuncts (corn, rice, basically anything that isn’t malted barley) however in the Japanese context it simply means that you’re drinking ‘beer’ rather than ‘happoshu’ [also beer] – which contains a malt ratio of less than 67% to avoid the dreaded ‘beer tax’… confused and slightly parched now? I know I am – so let’s dive right in – KANPAI TEME!!!
Poured from a 334ml bottle (odd bottle sizes again from Japan) into a stein.
A: Clear golden body, with a fluffy 1 inch white head and plenty of carbonation action in the glass. Quite Lagery I must say [indeed] why thank you sir [no thanks necessary sir] indeed sir. 7/10.
S: It’s a malty cereal invasion – this beer couldn’t smell more like Lager if it tried: Dry and without a skerrick of hops… welcome to Japanese beer! Aside from the obvious lack of hops there isn’t much else to speak of here – malty cereal invasion – sounds like a potential cartoon idea. 7/10.
T: Taste is quite clean – cereal malts, malty cereals, grains with a hint of – you guessed it: Malt… it finishes quite dry with a touch of honeyed sweetness that is lacking from most other Japanese macro Lagers. A hint of bread dough notes linger on the palate too. No hops detected (of course). The aftertaste is pretty clean and neutral – quite well-balanced as far as Lagers go. 9/10.
M: Medium bodied with a dense but slightly flat – because I left it sitting on the kitchen bench before opening it – carbonation. 8/10.
D: I would hate to say it, why? Maybe because this beer is brewed by a macro brewer: Sapporo – I hate macros yo, but this is one of (if not) the best Japanese Lagers I’ve laid my tongue on. It’s dry, smooth, well-balanced, and without that vegetal aftertaste that I find with most Lagers – and it pairs excellently with Takoyaki or Karaage. Overall if you’re seeking a decent Japanese all-malt beer experience you can’t go wrong with Yebisu… In fact I’m going to get a few more of these for my next Takoyaki cook-off, kore wa totemo oishi desu [or something along those lines]! 8/10.
Food match: Japanese food, natch!