Total Score: 6.6/10
An intriguing one I found at my local Genko Mart on “quick sale”: Suntory The Premium Malt’s. So “yet another Japanese take on a German/Czech Pilsner…” I hear you moan. Yes, I can hear you, I’m monitoring you right now and can see where your hand is… you know you shouldn’t touch it all the time – you’ll wear it out… [your 2015 Pfizer annual general practitioner conference stress ball that is]… the question of where the cameras are hidden aside [remember that potted plant you didn’t buy], Suntory don’t have the best reputation when it comes to beer, however I noticed I haven’t tried a single one of theirs yet – let’s give ‘em a shot Doc. What’s the worst that could happen? The apocalypse? Perhaps [LOOK OUT!!!].
Poured from a 334ml bottle into a Sapporo (Ooo, sacrilegious!) stein.
A: Hazed golden body with a thin white lace ring… it sorta didn’t even manage to conjure up a head… bit disappointed with that rather lackadaisical effort from a Japanese Lager… perhaps it was the Sapporo glass? You should never cross the streams (or the glasses) it would seem. 5/10.
S: Toffee/caramel malt forward with a light floral note towards the back. An almost Fuggles (hop) earthiness lingers around too, is this a Lager or an Ale? The aroma itself is confused as to the answer. Without a doubt one of the weirdest Pilsners that I’ve ever sniffed, and I’ve sniffed a Pilsner or three over the years. 6/10.
T: Floral, minty hop notes mingle with grainy/earthy malts, some toffee sweetness and a hint of ume plum sourness… yes, this is quite a mixed bag of flavours from a Japanese Pilsner, however it goes down alright. Finish is less dry/crisp and more grassy bitter than most other Japanese Lagers out there. I get the general impression that this 5.5% ABV Pilsner doesn’t like to be trifled with… bit of warmth in the aftertaste as well. 7/10.
M: Surprisingly gassy carbonation given the non-existent head. Mid to light bodied, bit of chewiness in there as well. 6/10.
D: What an odd fellow this beer is – it reminded me of a clash of cultures, like a proper English gentleman from the Victorian era with a handlebar moustache, meerschaum pipe and stovepipe hat, who also wears a kimono and practices kendo in the evenings… an odd mix, that works in an odd way, and is oddly good. Which makes this Suntory one of the best Japanese Macro Lagers I’ve had (plus it isn’t brewed here under licence). 7/10.
Food match: Stew, Japanese cream stew if we’re sticking on theme.