Beer Review: Asahi Super Dry

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.

Asahi Super Dry bottle

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.

Asahi Super Dry bottle top

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.

Asahi Super Dry neck label

The front label is somewhat overcrowded. There’s definitely a lot on there to get through.

Asahi Super Dry front label

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.

Asahi Super Dry back label

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.

Asahi Super Dry poured into a glass

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.

Rating: 2.5

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.

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32 Responses to “Beer Review: Asahi Super Dry”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    The bottle cap text says “supa dry.”

  2. DH Says:

    The cap says Su-Pa Do-Ra-E, Katakana for “Super Dry”

  3. shane Says:

    asa = morning
    hi = day or heat

  4. zoot Says:

    If your testicles shrink to the size of sultanas, see a doctor immediately!

    Also, asahi is brewed in some weird places.

  5. travis Says:

    what’s that? a hot plate the beer is sitting on? who even uses hot plates anymore?

  6. Mark Says:

    The Asahi Dry I have purchased in the U.S. is both brewed and bottled in Tokyo. It has a very unique flavor which I suspect the U.K. brewed variety does not have. It is a mild flavor similar to Japanese soba sauce and is cleanly balanced. I would recommend trying an authentic Tokyo import before passing final judgment. In my experience brand products, not just beer, can vary wildly in quality depending upon where they are manufactured. Cigarettes and cigars are a classic example of this.

  7. Ian Says:

    I just bought Asahi Draft Beer Super Dry and I have to say for draft beer it really isnt anything special taste wise but quality wise it was pretty solid. Unfortunately I was mistaken into thinking it was made in Japan. Instead it is made by Molson in Canada but has quite a distinct taste.

    I have tasted other Japanese and Asian beers and this comes off as quite “low-grade” among the lot. I dont know if it because of being brewed in Canada or merely the Japanese equivalent of “Bud” but I suspect it is a combination of those two factors.

    However, it short crisp taste would be a perfect accompaniment to some meat dish like BBQ chicken wings or some sushi or some such entree. I dont think it is something worth ordering in a bar as it feels quite watered down and isnt really “potent” or complex enough to interest a casual drinker.

  8. John Says:

    The large Japanese text written below Asahi (辛口)reads “karakuchi” which means “dry”. I have lived in Japan for about 7 years now and would say that Asahi Super Dry is the #1 sold beer in Japan. Actually, I’m drinking one now and that’s exactly the can says. Also, just to let you know, the Asahi Super Dry in the tastes exactly the same as it does in Japan. It’s not particularly a fabulous beer but as you stated it is very drinkable. It goes well with “yakitori”, “oden”, and other Japanese foods. I wouldn’t recommend it for sushi though because the carbonation will overwhelm the fish. I recommend salty and heavy foods, but stay away from spicy foods. It burns too much!

  9. tabby Says:

    first of all, i love ale beers. i didn’t like lager that much. thought it was boring. but this summer, i went back to japan, and had asahi super dry as banshacku (drinks accompanying with dinner), i got to love this beer first time in my life! sorry that many of you didn’t like this. but i didn’t before either. i always preferred kirin which is much hoppier. but with this clean and crisp taste, i can drink this as if it were sparkling water. almost :) but it tastes better thank many of other ordinary largers, i think.
    anyway, all the translations here are right. it’s say “super dry” in japanese (su pa – do ra i) on the cap, and “dry” (ka ra ku chi) on the label. “hi” in “asahi” is day or the sun. asahi is the morning sun, as the company says “the rising sun”…

  10. Ben Says:

    Actually I live in London and this stuff seems to be everywhere these days…

  11. Dry Z, - dry what? What's up with "dry" anyway? - My Les Paul Forums Says:

    [...] Dry Z, – dry what? What's up with "dry" anyway? grrrrr, Beer Review: Asahi Super Dry Hywel’s Big Log They've even got a "dry" beer. What's up with "dry" anyhows? I may have to [...]

  12. jamlovely Says:

    I could review a lot of the asahi beers if u like, im sluggin’ on a asahi style free beer. and it realy is free of any style ..well thats not entirely true here is how this beer tastes; imagine if you got a can of shandy that fizzy drink with 0.0001% of alcohol we drank as kids because we could, right take ur can of shandy and drink a mouthfull then take a swig of linden village or scrumpy jack and back wash it into your shandy….thats what Asahi style free tastes like, I can send a picture of the can but I’ve finished the beer in the can now, I didn’t see it but I’m sure it was yellowish in colour and might have had a head if I had poured it into a glass. Regards, James in Korea.

  13. Himajin Says:

    Asahi means morning sun.

  14. John Gunning Says:

    I drink Asahi Super Dry in the summer and Kirin Lager in the winter…not sure why, maybe the Asahi has a more refreshing taste..that thrist quenching beer effect. Kirin seems to fit better on colder days here.

  15. Graham Says:

    Our local Morrison’s is currently selling Asahi SD for £1 (500ml). Pleasing taste, contains alcohol. I usually drink Russian and Polish beers, so perhaps I like the more basic, does-the-job taste.

  16. Charlie Says:

    Would a glass of 1/3 stout and 2/3 Asahi Super Dry be good?

  17. krayzie Says:

    That is the UK asahi superdry, Only thing about that which is japanese is the name, It has alot more body and a tad sweeter than the japanese or thailand brewed version.

    For anyone who doesnt believe me drink them side by side.

  18. Bob V Says:

    I am confused as to one of the previous posts comments saying that they got an Asahi Super Dry in the US that was made in Japan. I think that the contract for that beer in North America is from the factory in Toronto Canada. Much the same with Sapporo beer.

    I can tell you that that version is nothing in comparison with the beer here in Japan. Super Dry is an awesome brew, when purchased in Japan.

    Another pure delight is a beer called Yebisu. This beer is deep in it’s taste, on par with Sam Adams Boston Lager.

  19. Elijah2012 Says:

    A word of enlightenment folks. The quality you identify as ‘gassy’ is in fact what it means for a beverage to be dry. A liquid with no carbon dioxide has more surface coverage with anything which it comes into contact (in this case your palate). Which is why when you are truly thirsty you will ordinarily crave water. As carbonation is introduced to a liquid (the fizz in beer), the amount of liquid coming in contact with a surface is reduced as carbon dioxide in the form of bubbles becomes interspersed throughout the liquid, resulting in a “dry” sensation as the liquid is ingested. Super Dry simply implies that it is drier than ordinary. The author confirmed the truthfulness of this quality when he states, “It is one of the most gas filled beers I have tried.” By the way, don’t confuse your locally produced version for the Asahi that is served in Japan. It is NOT the same. True Asahi is a wonderful thing. While we are on the subject, Singha (which is the real deal being both brewed and bottled in Thailand) should be drunk at something approaching room temperature (but not warm). It is not nearly as enjoyable when drunk cold by American/European standards… Besides, you can always do as the Thai and add an ice cube or two directly to the beer. For reasons I cannot explain, this works also…

  20. Me Says:

    wow, you had the same outcome as this place
    http://www.jamestownliquor.com/jstliquor/asahi_beer

  21. samir Says:

    Suntory is my fave brand in Japan, better than Asahi and they have better TV commercials too
    http://www.japansugoi.com/wordpress/suntory-beer-commercial-with-mikie-hara-and-yukie-kawamura/

  22. Mauro Says:

    Well actually the japanese sentence in the neck is “Super dry”…I been here in japan for 4 months now…tryed them all..nasahi is. Defenitely the best….ichiban

  23. richardpmurfin Says:

    I live In Taiwan and super dry and other Japanese lagers are huge here. We have the Japanese made version and I agree with a lot of what you have said. It’s refreshing and crisp and fantastic with food. Japanese beer is suprisingly good to be honest. I also think the Kirin Ichiban is a great beer.

  24. Erica Says:

    The Japanese writing underneath the asahi name On the cap says (phonetically) super dry. Or as close as it can sound in Japanese. (su-pa du-ra-ee)

  25. Anonymous Says:

    I bought a can of it in the U.S., it’s brewed in tokyo and imported to the California, fortunately we can get authentic imported beer here, not stuff brewed in canada.

  26. James Smith Says:

    had this beer earlier this evening, gave me indigestion so will never buy it again 1 out of 5!!! Stick to European beers, so much better than Asian beers!!

    • Maekong Mike Says:

      Not even remotely true… First off, the Asahi you had was probably brewed and bottled in Canada. THAT is not Asahi. The same for the Heineken brewed and bottled in Asia. IT is not Heineken. Not by a loooooooong shot. And the ‘big’ names of Cobra and Tiger are not big names anywhere except in your head. Asahi from Japan is a superb beer. Sopporo from Japan is one of the world’s finest. My personal favorite is Singha, which is brewed and bottled ONLY in Thailand. So you will have to pay top dollar for it as shipping costs for bottled beer is very high. There are many ‘decent’ beers in Southeast Asia. But Singha is a world class brew. After you are properly edified concerning the beers I just mentioned, come back and we will investigate China. ALL the aforementioned beers are equal to or better than their European counterparts. I have been drinking beer for 45 years. I follow my former government’s very simple nutrition guideline… ‘Breakfast, the most important beer of the day’… Okay, perhaps I tweaked it a little…

      • richardpmurfin Says:

        You can get singha in Taiwan now. Lovely beer. I wish I could get it on draught tho as the cans can be metalic ( going by other beers as an example). Yeh the Asahi in the UK and in Asia is very different. Other great beers of note are Kirin and Suntory. Mike id like you to try some Taiwan beer also ;) . Karakuchi!!!

      • maekongmike Says:

        Try to find Singha in bottles Richard. Even when exported to my former homeland some 14,000 km. from Thailand, it was usually in bottles, and still was able to be sold at the same price as most imports in the USA. Ironically, in the USA they had perfected the design of the can by lining it with some type of clear coat that did not allow the beer to come in contact with the metal of the can. When you factor in that the can is impervious to sunlight, it is actually a preferable way to store beer over bottles. But in Asia I only buy Sing in 650 ml bottles (called quarts here). It is difficult to find establishments even in Thailand that sell Singha on draught. I will look into Karakuchi as soon as the opportunity presents. Thanks for your feedback. Take care my friend!

  27. asimi.lf@gmail.com Says:

    I’m not by any means a beer expert, but this is so far the beer I love the most. Mine was imported, by the way.

    • maekongmike Says:

      Hey Asimi, help us out here… You failed to mention which beer you are referring to. I suspect you are commenting on Asahi, but you could be commenting on Singha. Please clarify! ;-)

  28. richardpmurfin Says:

    Love Super Dry. Clean , crisp and very good with food.

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