THIS week, I feel like trying some of the growing number of Asian beers on our shop shelves. The big names like Cobra and Tiger will follow shortly, but I wanted to start this round-up with this: Asahi Super Dry.
Just one corner shop on my local Bethnal Green Road stocks this Oriental oddity. Curiosity took over and I just had to see what this would be like. The closest I’ve had, have been Chinese beers like Tsingtao during my gap-year. Whether this Japanese beer will be anything like that legendary Chinese beer, I’m looking forward to finding out.
The bottle top has a very stylised “Asahi” name. Plus the Japanese calligraphy for what I presume is the same name. If you can translate the Japanese text, I’d be very interested to hear from you, so leave a comment at the end of this post.
The neck label is the first time we see Asahi’s unique look. The black and red print on a shiny silver background is excellent. The text on the neck label tells us that Asahi is Japan’s number one beer. A fact that must count for something. The word “Premium” is on their too. Whether that means that this is “Asahi Premium” or if the “Premium” refers to something else, I’m not sure.
The front label is somewhat overcrowded. There’s definitely a lot on there to get through.
At the very top and outside the octagonal border are the words “Asahi Beer”. Also outside the border, and in equally small lettering, it tells us that this has been brewed under licence from Asahi Breweries Ltd, Japan. And again, outside the border, but this time at the bottom of the label, we’re told that this is a 330 millilitre bottle. And that it has a volume of 5%. Not outstandingly strong, but far from weak. And that’s a promising sign.
In the bordered area of the label are all sorts of text and Japanese text. It’s hard to know where to begin. Under the Asahi Breweries Limited logo is the slogan “A Beer For All Seasons”. As slogans go, it’s not what I’d call memorable.
The Super Dry description is amusing. For reasons know only to themselves, only the word “Dry” has quotation marks. Not the word “Super”. So it reads as Super “Dry”. As if the characteristic of dryness is ironic. Has something been lost in translation here?
Under the large, stylised Asahi name is an unusually big block of text. And that block is split and underlined by some Japanese text. If you can translate what it says, do please leave a comment at the end of this post.
The English text however, starts off with the usual mentions of quality ingredients. It then describes what to expect with words including “Richness”, “Refreshing” and “Smoothness”. And an extended version of their slogan: “All Year Round You Can Enjoy the Great Taste of Asahi Beer”. Not if you live in London. It’s not exactly widely available yet.
Over on the back label, and everything is cleaner and neater.
It opens by telling us that Asahi is pronounced “Ah-Sah-Hee”. Also that it’s Japan’s number one premium beer. And that it is known for being “clean”, “crisp” and “refreshing”. All good, if vague stuff in my opinion.
Under where it says that it contains barley malt is a disappointing piece of news. Asahi Super Dry hasn’t been imported. Instead, it’s been brewed and bottled in the UK. Still, at least you can write to their European headquarters in London using the postal address given. Or visit their website at http://www.asahibeer.co.uk/. Finally, tucked away in the corner is the familiar UK units of alcohol symbol. All of 1.6 for this little bottle.
In the glass, everything looks fine.
There’s a thick head, which dies down a little over a minute or two. And the colour is a light yellow with a lot of bubbles. This is going to be a fizzy and gassy experience by the look of things.
The smell is… not sophisticated. It’s of malted barley and possibly hops. But it’s not overpowering either.
Just a couple of gulps confirm just how gassy this is. It is one of the most gas filled beers I’ve tried. Asahi Super “Dry” tastes much as you’d expect. An indistinctive blend of malted barley and hops. It reminds me of lager rather too much.
But it’s not all bad. It is “clean”, “crisp” and “refreshing”. And quite a fun, drinkable beer. But the “richness” and “smoothness” it promised are hard to find. And what’s “Super “Dry”” about it, I’m not certain.
To sum up Asahi Super Dry, this is a decent, if unsophisticated beer. It’s not got complex flavours or aromas, but then it never promised that. Instead, it provides a simple, straightforward and refreshing beer. Not bad, but I want something more. I will though, be looking out for Asahi’s other beers. If they have a Super “Wet” to compliment their Super “Dry”, I’d be interested in sampling it.
Have you tried Asahi Super “Dry” or any other Asahi beers? Where did you find them on sale? Can you translate any of it? Is the authentic Japanese version better than the one brewed here in the UK? If you can answer any of these questions. Or just want to leave a rant, comment, suggestion or correction, then do so now.