Near beer…no thanks

10 May

Suntory Beer has a new beer in Japan.
It’s called 「絹の贅沢」 (literally: “Luxurious Silk“).

Embarrassing name for a beer and a generic-looking can design…but it was on sale so I bought half-a-case.

It’s tastes good.

But don’t confuse it with Suntory‘s other new offering in a similar can…

I'd never buy this!

This is Suntory “All Free”. Non-alcoholic beer.
Non-alcoholic beer—none for me, thanks.

Do you like beer? What do you think of “non-alcoholic” beer?

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55 Responses to “Near beer…no thanks”

  1. Michael May 14, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    tokyo5 :
    >St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Belgium
    I don’t think I’ve heard of that one before.

    Yeah it’s a great, great beer, search it up and see some reviews.

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 14, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

      I “googled” it. It looks good (but the bottle’s label is goofy 😉 )

      Like

  2. Earnest Mercer May 14, 2011 at 3:38 am #

    In Japanese tradition stopping by and akachochin after work provided an avenue to shed inhibitions and speak of things not normally acceptable in Japanese society at large. By tradition, utterances made while “under the influence” were not to beld agains the speaker. Even speaking of dissatifaction with one’s boss in these circumstances was permissible. So, it was not unusual to see inebriated Japanese men inside and indeed outside the beloved akachochins.

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 14, 2011 at 9:29 am #

      Yes, it’s true that in Japanese culture, when out drinking with one’s boss and co-workers it’s permissible to tell them what you really think while intoxicated…and there will be no hard feelings at work the next day.

      Like

  3. thenakedlistener May 14, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    > In Germany people are able to drink responsibly.
    > That’s also why they are able to have beer gardens where 100s of people are drinking quite high-percentage alcohol beer, and there is no trouble.

    It is clear in my experience that people the non-English-speaking world tend to be relatively more responsible drinkers. It is, of course, highly a matter of culture. In Italy, where I spent my early formative years, I can’t even recall seeing anyone drunk. In the UK and USA, where I spent my later years, just too many. Of course, drink laws also have a lot to do with the situation. But generally, I’m sure most people here will agree with me that the drink laws in modern times had ADDED to binge drinking rather than minimising it.

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 14, 2011 at 1:09 am #

      >people the non-English-speaking…can’t even recall seeing anyone drunk.

      But Japan isn’t an English-speaking country and plenty of people here like to get drunk.

      Like

      • Earnest Mercer May 14, 2011 at 1:14 am #

        Baloney. I spent lots of time in Japan, Germany, China, South Africa, and many more and I saw no evidence of drunks in public places was any fewer than in the U. S.

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 14, 2011 at 1:23 am #

        >…in Japan…no evidence of drunks in public…fewer than in the U.S.

        Actually, the way I remember America is that even drinking outdoors (and public drunkenness) is illegal there. That’s one of the things I like about Japan—it’s perfectly acceptable to drink in public (even to the point of intoxication, if one so wishes).

        Like

  4. Masha May 13, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    Hate Suntory, like Kirin.. or Kirin chu-hi.. lemon

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 14, 2011 at 1:05 am #

      Chu-hi” are good…but beer is much better—Suntory, Kirin, Asahi, Sapporo, etc. They’re all good!

      Like

  5. pongrocks May 12, 2011 at 5:29 am #

    haven’t read your blog in a while, but i guess beer is the right topic to be back 😉
    So, yes, I love beer. And no, I don’t like alcohol-free beer, but alcohol-free beer seems to be quite popular here in Germany. There are a lot of tv commercials and stuff like that especially for alcohol-free beer. There is even one brewery which claims that their alcohol-free wheat beer is isotonic and good for athletes ;D

    I remember when my mother and grandmother had an intervention and my grandfather was only allowed to drink alcohol-free beer due to health reasons, poor guy 😉

    Legal drinking age for beer is 16 in Germany, 18 for the harder stuff. Of course I started for real when I was 16 and had my fair share of blackouts for the first few years… 😛 Like thenakedlist said, the obligatory drink every now and then before the legal age for drinking is common in Germany as well.

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 12, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

      >haven’t read your blog in a while

      Oh, why not? Please continue visiting and commenting often!

      >claims that their alcohol-free wheat beer is isotonic and good for athletes

      Really? That doesn’t seem like a very realistic claim.

      >Legal drinking age for beer is 16 in Germany

      As I said in a comment above…that’s too young!

      Like

      • thenakedlistener May 13, 2011 at 4:53 am #

        Oh, c’mon, not young at all. I got kids too, and they started way, way young, and have learnt when to stop. Come, sit, sit next to us, have a drink on us, let me change your mind over a nice pint…

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 14, 2011 at 12:57 am #

        >let me change your mind

        Probably not possible.
        I’m pretty open-minded…but I feel quite certain that alcohol isn’t good for kids.
        Just my opinion.

        Like

  6. musings May 11, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    I’m not a huge beer drinker. I take a little sip of my husband’s, but I’m more of a cheap wine drinker. When we were in Japan several years ago, we stopped at what we thought was a Brewery. Actually, it was a shopping center with a brewery museum. Anyway, they were offering beer flavored soft serve outside. We took a pass. Even my husband, who likes beer drew the line at beer tasting soft serve. I imagine my husband would like to try tasting the luxurious tasting beer. The non-alcoholic? I don’t know. Probably not.

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 11, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

      There are many breweries that you can visit around Tokyo…where was the museum that you visited?

      And if you’ve never tried non-alcohol beer…I recommend that you don’t bother! 😉

      Like

  7. Michael May 11, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    I recently turned 21, so I’ve started to try different beers from different countries. I haven’t gotten to Japan yet, but I did try some Sapporo Reserve before and I enjoyed it, very clean and crisp.

    I’m currently drinking some Jamaican Red Stripe lager as I type this.

    Like

    • thenakedlistener May 11, 2011 at 9:36 am #

      Good on yer, Michael! Shame you couldn’t have started drinking (in moderation, of course) like the rest of the civilised world does at 18. Back in my days in the UK, it was 11. Up the drinking age, and now we have binge drinking. Go figure.

      Like

      • tokyo5 May 11, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

        >…drinking…the civilised world does at 18.

        Which countries have a drinking age that low?
        It’s set at twenty-years-old in Japan.

        My oldest daughter will turn 18 in a few months…I think that’s too young to drink!

        >Back in my days in the UK, it was 11.

        Are you serious? The legal drinking age was only eleven?
        That’s crazy!

        Like

      • thenakedlistener May 12, 2011 at 4:29 am #

        >My oldest daughter will turn 18 in a few months…I think that’s too young to drink!

        Oh, come, come, 18 is hardly young drink-wise. Umm, sure, family culture and the culture of where a person grew up also have a lot to do with it. It’s hard to explain. In my family, people start pretty young, around 10, glass of wine during meals, that sort of thing. Maybe it’s also because we grew up in various places in Europe, where people of all ages do drink during meals.

        >Are you serious? The legal drinking age was only eleven?

        Oh, no, no, no. The actual legal drinking age was 18 even in my time. It’s just that nobody, not even the police, bothered to enforce it – as long as you behave and not go overboard. This was a time when you were 13 and could go to pubs with an 18-year-old who is allowed to get the booze for you, you get told by the pub landlord to sit in a corner with your drink and be nice. This was the time when 13 year olds could go to newsagent to get smokes (‘tens’ only, not 20s) quite legally. And go to concerts if you went with at least one 18 year old. Those where wonderful times.

        Like

      • David May 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

        thenakedlistener :
        The actual legal drinking age was 18 even in my time.

        The legal age was (and I think still is) 16 for drinking in restaurants.

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 12, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

        >18 is hardly young drink-wise….In my family, people start pretty young, around 10…13 and could go to pubs

        Those ages are all much too young! Still children!

        Maybe it’s because I’m the father of teenagers, but I could never permit them to drink at this age.

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 12, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

        >The legal age was (and I think still is) 16

        Yeah, “Pongrocks” mentioned that.

        Even eighteen is too young to drink alcohol, I think.

        Like

    • tokyo5 May 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

      >try different beers from different countries.

      Sounds great! Which is your favorite so far?

      Like

      • Michael May 12, 2011 at 10:12 am #

        So far I’m enjoying St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Belgium. It’s a great dark brown beer with a creamy sweet taste, recommended.

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 12, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

        >St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Belgium

        I don’t think I’ve heard of that one before.

        Like

  8. cocomino May 10, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    I usually drink low-malt beer( Happousyu 発泡酒) because of the cheap price.
    First I don’t like it but now I think it usual beer.
    In particular I choose “Mugi to Hoppu 麦とホップ” by Sapporo.

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 10, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

      >I usually drink low-malt beer( Happousyu 発泡酒) because of the cheap price.

      Actually this 「絹の贅沢」 (“Luxurious Silk”) by Suntory is a 「発泡酒」 (“Malt liquor”) too.
      I also usually drink those due to their lower cost…they look and taste like beer, so I just call them “beer”.

      >(At) first I didn’t like it but now I think it usual beer.

      I liked them even at first taste…just like beer to me.

      >I choose “Mugi to Hoppu 麦とホップ” by Sapporo.

      I like that one a lot too.

      Like

      • David May 11, 2011 at 9:32 am #

        > Actually this 「絹の贅沢」 (“Luxurious Silk”) by Suntory is a 「発泡酒」 (“Malt liquor”) too.

        Which makes it almost as bad as non-alcohol beer, in my opinion 🙂

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 11, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

        >almost as bad as non-alcohol beer

        You live in Japan but you don’t drink 発泡酒? A lot cheaper than “regular” beer.
        And I think it tastes just like lager beer.

        Like

      • David May 16, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

        tokyo5 :
        You live in Japan but you don’t drink 発泡酒?

        Most Happoshu “beers” that I’ve seen have been lager-like, but I prefer to drink pale ales or wheat beers. And it’s not about the cost, I don’t mind spending a bit more money for a good quality beer.

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 16, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

        >I prefer to drink pale ales or wheat beers.

        Oh, I see. I drink lager almost exclusively…so 「発泡酒」 (Japanese malt liquor) is good to me.

        Like

  9. David May 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    “Luxury Silk”? Sounds like a toilet paper.

    German non-alcohol beer isn’t too bad. I used to drink Franziskaner’s non-alcohol Weissbier at lunch time.

    Chinese non-alcohol beer, however, is best avoided at all costs. Much like the regular beer, actually.

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 10, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

      >I used to drink Franziskaner’s non-alcohol Weissbier at lunch time.

      Is that OK?
      I don’t think I’d drink a non-alcoholic beer (if I liked the stuff) on a work lunch-break. Too much potential for trouble (coming back to work with “beer breath”, a co-worker noticing that you were “drinking” on the clock, etc).

      Now, lunch time on a day off…that’s another story—a “normal” beer is good then!

      Like

      • David May 11, 2011 at 9:29 am #

        This was in Bavaria, where it’s acceptable to drink beer for breakfast, and where many offices have restaurants/canteens that serve beer at lunch time.

        In my case I was was working in a small company (around 6 people) and we all went for lunch together.

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 11, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

        >…in Bavaria…many offices have restaurants/canteens that serve beer at lunch time.

        That sounds like a recipe for disaster, I would think.

        Like

      • David May 13, 2011 at 10:06 am #

        tokyo5 :
        That sounds like a recipe for disaster, I would think.

        No, not at all. In Germany people are able to drink responsibly.

        That’s also why they are able to have beer gardens where 100s of people are drinking quite high-percentage alcohol beer, and there is no trouble.

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 14, 2011 at 1:03 am #

        >In Germany people are able to drink responsibly.

        I see…but, maybe it’s cultural difference, but I’m not used to the idea of drinking “on the clock” at work.

        Like

      • David May 16, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

        tokyo5 :
        I’m not used to the idea of drinking “on the clock” at work.

        If it’s non-alcohol, you’re not “drinking” 😉

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 16, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

        >If it’s non-alcohol, you’re not “drinking”

        But you said in this comment that “many offices…serve beer at lunch”.

        Like

  10. Earnest Mercer May 10, 2011 at 6:53 am #

    Take a look at the description of my just released book “Skivvy Girl: The Love of a Post WWII Japanese Pleasure Girl. It’s on Amazon.com or my web site.

    Like

  11. Bob May 10, 2011 at 2:38 am #

    For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.

    Like

    • thenakedlistener May 10, 2011 at 5:51 am #

      Oh, yes, that rings a bell too!

      Like

      • tokyo5 May 10, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

        >Oh, yes, that rings a bell too!

        Did you like that movie, too?

        Like

    • tokyo5 May 10, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

      >For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.

      That quote (and your username (“Bob”)) are from that over-rated movie “Lost In Translation“, isn’t it?

      Do you like that movie?

      I didn’t like it at all.
      (I wrote this post:
      https://tokyo5.wordpress.com/2009/05/24/ramen-girl/ )

      I’m not a fan of any of the “Ford-Coppola” movies.

      Like

      • tokyo5 May 10, 2011 at 11:48 pm #

        Bill Murray stars in “Lost In Translation“…coincidentally, he had a minor role in the movie I re-watched tonite—“Zombieland“.

        (I’m not a big fan of Bill Murray either, though).

        Like

  12. gigihawaii May 10, 2011 at 2:33 am #

    I prefer beer to wine and especially enjoy CORONA. I drink 1-3 beers a week. Hubby drinks 6 beers per week.

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 10, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

      Corona Beer is good. I don’t drink it often because, due to being an import, it’s more expensive than domestic (Japanese) beer.

      Like

  13. thenakedlistener May 10, 2011 at 2:23 am #

    I was going to say non-alcoholic beer is absolutely revolting. Then it also occurred to me that, considering the other alternatives (usually from the West), the Japanese non-alcoholic beers aren’t actually that bad. They’re not great, but at least I don’t have to spit it out.

    @tornadoes28: Yeah, stupid name. But, hey, it’s Japan, so at least we could still reclassify it as ‘weird’ just for kicks.

    @Ernest Mercer: OMG! I have faint memories of that scotch you mentioned! Of course, I was a kid back in the 70s, but I recalled Dad bringing home a bottle from his Japanese trips. That Akadama portwine, yeah, faint memories too, but I seem to recall it was sold under a different name in Daimaru department store in Hong Kong. Thanks for the memories! Brings a tear to my eyes that.

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 10, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

      >Japanese non-alcoholic beers aren’t actually that bad.

      Personally I dislike any “near beer” very much.

      Like

  14. Earnest Mercer May 10, 2011 at 1:06 am #

    Suntory was a producer of a rot-gut whiskey in 1950-1954 and was avoided by everyone I knew then. But while living in Japan in 1975-1976, the company made the best imitation scotch whiskey I’ve ever tasted. Can’t remember the name, but it was bottled in a black glass bottle. Japanese beer was very good in the 1950s. My favorite was Asahi, but Kirin was popular. I also imbibed in the Japanese port wine Akadama on cold days in Chitose in 1951.

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 10, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

      >My favorite was Asahi, but Kirin was popular.

      Usually foreigners in Japan prefer Asahi Beer but most Japanese like Kirin Beer. I liked Asahi best when I first arrived in Japan, too…but Kirin is the best after all, I think now.

      Like

  15. tornadoes28 May 10, 2011 at 12:49 am #

    What a stupid name for a beer.

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 10, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

      Yeah, granted 「絹の贅沢」 sounds better in Japanese than “Luxurious Silk” does in English…but just barely.

      Like

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