Beer brewers in Japan are always offering special beers. One of the most common is season beers for spring, autumn, Cherry Blossom season, and starting at this time of year…winter beer.
Around this time last year, I bought Kirin’s winter beer…and today, I bought a case of Asahi 「冬の贈り物」 (“Winter Gift”) beer.
(Actually a 発泡酒 (low-malt liquor)...but tastes like lager beer to me)
Do beer brewers in your country sell “seasonal beers”? Do brewers outside of Japan sell 発泡酒 (low-malt liquor) that is similar in taste and appearance to lager beer…but cheaper?
Have you ever tried a Japanese 発泡酒 (low-malt liquor)? What do you think of them?
I’m sure that many countries have beer posters and advertisements that feature pretty women.
I remember the Budweiser Beer “Bud Girls” ads in America.
I remember this "Bud Girls" poster from the '80s in America
Budweiser Beer has "Bud Girls" in Japan, too.
It’s interesting to see how advertising changes and evolves over time in a particular culture.
Pre-World War II beer posters are quite fun to look at. They’re so different from more modern advertisements. Sometimes Japanese 居酒屋 (pubs) and restaurants will have some of these old, retro beer posters on their walls. I like it when I go to a place that has them.
Old "Kirin Beer" poster
Another old 「キリンビール」 ("Kirin Beer") poster
Old 「エビスビール」 ("Ebisu Beer") poster
This one says 「サッポロビール」 ("Sapporo Beer") written from right to left.
When I first came to Japan, it was very common to see beer posters in Japan that showed girls in bikinis holding a mug of beer.
Nowadays beer posters with girls in bikinis can still be seen…but it seems to be more of the trend to have the models in the beer posters be more “conservatively dressed”.
Beer poster for 「サッポロ生ビール」 (Sapporo Draft Beer).
Beer posters are interesting, especially how they’ve changed over time…but what really matters is that the beer is cold!
I wrote an earlier post about Sapporo Beer‘s new “Ice Lager Beer“ for this summer.
(Click here to read it.)
Well, Asahi Beer has a new bar in Tokyo called the 「エクストラ・コールド BAR」 (“Extra Cold Bar“).
This bar is in Tokyo’s 銀座 (Ginza) area and will only be there until 2010 August 31.
In this bar, the beer is served extremely cold…between 0°C and -2°C.
Even the beer taps are freezing cold and covered in ice. Customers are welcome to pour their own beer from the icy taps if they want to.
If you’re in Tokyo before August 31 and you want to go to the “Asahi Extra Cold Bar”, it’s near JR 有楽町駅 (JR Yurakucho Station) or the 銀座一丁目駅 (Ginza 1-Chome Subway Station).
It’s hours of operation are:
Weekdays 6:00PM – 11:00PM
Saturdays 11:30AM – 11:00PM
Sundays and (Japanese) holidays 11:30AM – 9:30PM
(Last order is a half-hour before closing).
Today we went to a neighborhood festival that we usually go to every year.
While we were there, I went to buy a beer…and I found a retro style can of beer by Asahi Beer, so I bought a can.
Asahi Gold 50 year anniversary re-issue
It’s a re-issue of their “Asahi Gold Beer” in a can that looks like it did when that beer was sold in Japan fifty years ago.
Asahi Beer is selling this beer for a limited time only in the special retro design cans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Asahi Gold beer and also the 120th anniversary of Asahi breweries itself.
The original Asahi Gold beer that went on sale in 1958 in Japan was sold in cans without any tab on the top of the cans! A can opener was needed to punch two holes in the top of the can to drink the beer!
1950's can of Asahi Gold Beer with no tab on top.
This was also Asahi Beer‘s first beer sold in a can (rather than a glass bottle).
Of course, the cans of this beer being sold today have the easy-to-open tabs on top.
This is a good beer. I recommend buying some while they’re available.
I have a collection of unique beer bottles and cans…I’ve added this one to my collection!
Last Tuesday, Asahi Beer released a new beer (actually a 発泡酒 (Happoushu*)) called 「麦絞り」 (which translates to something like “Extract Of Wheat”).
* (発泡酒 (Happoushu) is similar to Malt Liquor. It looks like beer and tastes nearly identical to lager beer. Some people don’t like them…but, just as with regular beer, some taste better than others.
I think most of them taste exactly like beer.
The best thing about 発泡酒 (Happoushu) is that in Japan there is a high beer tax…but since 発泡酒 (Happoushu) isn’t technically a beer, there is no beer tax on them. So a 500ml can of 発泡酒 (Happoushu) is often cheaper than a 350ml can of beer!)
It says on the can 「アルコール分ちょっと高め」…which means “The alcohol is a little bit higher”.
And it’s listed as “between 5.5 – 6.5% alcohol”.
So, I bought this beer and drank it with dinner last night.
It was good. I recommend it.
I don’t claim to be a beer ソムリエ (sommelier), but I know what I like.
I’m gonna try and make a list here of as many of the different beers I’ve tried that I can remember. And I’m gonna try to rate them (with a rating scale of 1-3 stars (★ ～ ★★★). One star (★) being the lowest, and three (★★★) is the highest).
I also wrote the beer’s country of origin.
The star ratings are simply my personal opinion. Kirin Beer is my favorite. And I think any cold lager is good.
Just so you know where I’m coming from.
- Kirin Lager (★★★) – Japan
- Kirin Classic Lager (★★★) – Japan
- Kirin Ichiban (★★★) – Japan
- Kirin Strong Seven (★★★) – Japan
- Kirin Tanrei (★★★) – Japan
- Kirin Tanei Double (★★★) – Japan
- Kirin Tanrei Green Label (★) – Japan
- Kirin Nodogoshi (★★) – Japan
- Kirin Enjuku (★★★) – Japan
- Kirin Koku-no-jikan (★★★) – Japan
- Kirin Aki-aji (★★) – Japan
- Budweiser (★★) – America
- Bud Ice (★★) – America
Bud Dry (★★) – America
- Heineken (★★★) – Netherlands
- Hitachino Nest Beer (★★★) – Japan
- Asahi Super Dry (★★★) – Japan
- Asahi Hon-nama Draft (red can) (★★★) – Japan
- Asahi Hon-nama Aqua Blue (blue can) (★ ) – Japan
- Asahi Hon-nama Gold (gold can) (★★★) – Japan
- Asahi Cool Draft (★★★) – Japan
- Orion Draft (★★★) – Japan
- Orion Southern Star (★★★) – Japan
- Suntory The Premium Malts (★★★) – Japan
- Suntory Malts (★★★) – Japan
- Suntory MD Golden Dry (★★★) – Japan
- Suntory The Straight (★★★) – Japan
- Suntory Jyokki-nama (★★) – Japan
- Suntory Gold Brew (★★★) -Japan
- Carlsberg (★★★) – Denmark
- Yebisu Premium (★★★) – Japan
- Yebisu Premium Full Malt (★★★) – Japan
- Sapporo Draft One (★★) – Japan
- Sapporo Nama Kuro Label (★★★) – Japan
- San Miguel (★) – Philipines
- Samuel Adams (★★) – America
- Miller Genuine Draft (★★★) - America
- Kamakura Moon (★★) – Japan
- Coedo Ruri (★★★) – Japan
"Coedo Beer" from Kawagoe (Koedo), Saitama, Japan
I may have tried others that I’ve forgotten. This is all that I can remember off the top of my head.
As you can probably tell by my ratings, I love beer…and I’m not real picky. But I’ve tried Guinness Beer and I didn’t think much of it. やっぱり、I like lager beer.
What do you think of my list? Have you tried any of these beers? Are your impressions different from mine? What’s your favorite beer? How often do you have a beer? I have a couple with dinner everyday.
Do you like beer?
Have you ever tried Japanese beer?
I ♥ beer!
「麒麟ビール」 (Kirin Beer) is my favorite…but I’ll take any cold lager!
Kirin Tanrei Double
Japan has five major brewers:
- Kirin Beer – This beer began in the late nineteenth-century in 横浜 (Yokohama, Japan). It’s named after a mythological creature called a 「麒麟」 (kirin) that looks like a dragon (it’s featured on the beer cans)…not named after a giraffe (which is 「キリン」 (kirin), also).
A mythological "kirin".
Many people don’t know that hidden in the creature on Kirin Beer cans is the word 「キリン」 (kirin):
「キ・リ・ン」 (Ki-ri-n) written in the creature's mane.
(I wrote another post that mentions Kirin Beer. Click here to see it.)
- Asahi Beer -Started in 大阪 (Osaka, Japan).
The Asahi Beer brewery is a Tokyo landmark.
(I have pictures of old Asahi Beer posters on the end of another post. Click here to see it.)
- Suntory Beer – Also started in 大阪 (Osaka, Japan).
Suntory Beer got it’s name because the founder’s name was Mr. Torii…or Torii-san. So, he took the words Torii and san and reversed them into San-torii and changed the spelling to Suntory.
(Another famous Japanese company got their name in a similar manner. The Bridgestone company was founded by Mr. Ishibashi…which translates into Stone bridge, which he reversed to Bridgestone.)
- Sapporo Beer – Started in 北海道札幌 (Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan).
Sapporo Beer bought the Yebisu Beer brewery (which was from Tokyo), so they make that beer as well.
Yebisu Beer (pronounced "Ebisu")
- Orion Beer – From 沖縄 (Okinawa, Japan)
Have you ever tried Japanese beer? Which ones have you tried? Did you like them?
What’s your favorite beer in the world?
As I said above, I like 「麒麟ビール」 (Kirin Beer) best…and probably オリオンビール (Orion Beer) as my next favorite.