Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Coedo Beniaka - BOTTLECoedo Beniaka
Japanese_flag - SMALL

Company info:
Coedo Brewery
Saitama, JAPAN


Bottle size sampled: 333 mL

Alcohol: 7%
Standard drinks: TBC

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for approx. $3.10 AU

Label info: ‘Imperial Sweet Potato Amber’
‘Super Premium Japanese Craft Beer’

What the label really means: It was the very mention of sweet potato that compelled me to purchase this beer. Keen to see how it tastes.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The label is predominantly red with silver text all over it. ‘COEDO’ stands out in huge letters, with ‘Beniaka’ in a cursive script beneath it. At the top of the label is the company logo that is flower-inspired, flanked by the words ‘Beer Beautiful’. A more subtle design element are the letters C-O-E-D-O in a darker red, patterned across the label – it adds a nice touch of depth to the label which would otherwise be rather dull. However it’s the textured bottle (with the same letters scattered about) that this label scores big points with.

I give it a label rating of 7 out of 10.Coedo Beniaka - GLASS

AROMA: Caramel malty tones shoot out at all directions. There’s a slight alcoholic aroma in there too, hinting at the 7% contents.


Taste: GLASS – A surprisingly smooth mouth feel with strong, hearty, upfront malt flavours. Very easy to drink, and surprisingly not overbearing in alcohol. A very interesting and complex brew, despite no real detection of sweet potato flavours. It is certainly tantalising my taste buds and I am very pleased to be drinking this from its home country.

I give it a beer from glass rating of out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – From the bottle Beniaka is just as good. It’s just as malty, remains very smooth and ultimately very enjoyable. The caramelisation is perhaps a little more pronounced now and it makes for one very delicious drop.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of out of 10.

Accompanying food: Smoked duck with wasabi. I had this dish the night before (minus the wasabi) and I feel it’s the perfect accompaniment. 

Best season to appreciate: Most definitely a winter brew.

All-nighter beer? The perfect apres-ski beer that I feel is easily sessionable. An all-nighter.

Note: According to Coedo’s website, ‘Beniaka refers both to the unique potato with which it is made and to its vibrant, yellow-tinged red colour.
Because of its use of sweet potato as a secondary ingredient, Japanese laws classify Beniaka as a happoshu (malt beverage) rather than a beer’.

NEXT WEEK: Pistonhead (the beer I promised weeks ago)

Rising Sun PaleAle - BOTTLE Rising Sun Pale Ale
Japanese flag - SMALL

Company info:
Baird Beer


Bottle size sampled: 360 mL

Alcohol: 5%
Standard drinks: 1.4

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $8.99AU

Label info: Japanese text that I unfortunately can’t read.

What the label really means: N/A

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: I quite like this label. It has been designed in such a way that it looks as though it is a wood-cut. Mount Fuji stands to the right of the label with the typical red rising sun emblazoned within, highlighting its depth and magnificence. Over to the left some hops hang in a big bunch. It’s stylish, it’s well thought out. The colours make the label a little too jovial however and I think it could work infinitely better in monochrome.

I give it a label rating of 7.5 out of 10.

AROMA:  A little musty in aroma. It’s not overly pleasing.

Taste: GLASS – This is a full-flavoured, easy to drink brew that has an increasingly dry mouth feel to it. In fact the dryness is very similar in taste to many fine Japanese beers such as Sapporo. It’s good, it’s drinkable, but it’s hardly original – and it feels a little one-dimensional. I am a bit disappointed with this.Rising Sun Pale Ale - GLASS

I give it a beer from glass rating of 6.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – Loses a bit more of its flavour when consumed from the bottle. Plus it’s a tad fizzier

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: A well seasoned steak with salad could suit this beer well. 

Best season to appreciate: Due solely to the dry finish, I would like to suggest this beer is more of a cooler weather brew.

All-nighter beer? Not for me. The dryness is very draining. 



Company info:
Asahi Breweries Limited


Bottle size sampled: 350 mL

Alcohol: 5%
Standard drinks: 1.4

Cap type: Screw cap

Cost: I picked this up for $3.99AU

Label info: ‘Asahi beer is brewed from quality ingredients by using our pure cultured yeast and our advanced brewing techniques. Asahi beer has excellent richness, truly refreshing drinkability and satin smoothness. All year round you can enjoy the great taste of Asahi beer!’

What the label really means: For a beer that repeatedly advertises itself as dry and ‘super dry’, I don’t really believe that this brew will have a ‘truly refreshing drinkability’. In my experience dry does not equal refreshing. Still, I can hope to be surprised.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Asahi is a mass-market, mass produced lager that shows all the signs of its conveyer belt production in the label design. It’s uninspired, boring and dull. However, I am impressed by the aluminium bottle and it is this cool design that scores Asahi any points in the label review.

I give it a label rating of 4.5 out of 10.

AROMA: Not much to it at all. It’s very faint with an ever so slight wheat smell.

Taste: GLASS – Yes this is dry (I’d even agree that it’s ‘super dry’), and yes it’s bitter. But, there are really no worthwhile strong flavours that elevate Asahi to a beloved level. It is disappointingly bland and not very enjoyable.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 5.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE –
Drink this from the bottle and you’ll find it’s almost exactly the same as from a glass. The only plus here is that it’s easier to throw back and slam down.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 5.5 out of 10.

Song of choice: Try this along side Local Native’s ‘World News’

Accompanying food: Juicy, fatty sausages and chargrilled vegies could really be a good thing for this drop.

Best season to appreciate: While this is no thirst quencher, I strongly suggest this is a Summer brew to be enjoyed in the afternoon sun.

All-nighter beer? No thanks. I’m not a fan of overly dry beer and this would have me reaching for a glass of water after two or three.

Other: This review is posted in honour of our fallen Japanese brothers and sisters following the devastating March 2011 tsunami. Despite the terrible devastation the country has suffered the Japanese people maintain a strong bond and determination that prove the country will rebuild and become great once more.
I read a heart warming story at the peak of terror involving factories that had been split apart, spewing their contents across the countryside. One of those factories was the Asahi brewery, and in lieu of running water the Japanese people walked about collecting cans, bottles, and kegs of Asahi. With the land around you in tatters, the only possible comfort could be free beer. 私たちはあなたと共にいて、強さを持って、勇気を持っている

NEXT WEEK: Endeavour – 2010 Reserve Pale Ale

Kirin - BOTTLEKirin
Japanese_flag - SMALL


Company info:
Kirin Brewery Company
JAPAN (this particular release is brewed in Australia by Lion Nathan for Kirin Brewery)

[No website listed on bottle]

Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 5%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for AU$[TBC]

Label info: “Kirin’s unique art of brewing ensures purity and smoothness. Unlike other beers, only the liquid drawn from the first mix of malt and water is extracted when ingredients are at their purest. This first pressed liquid is considered a blessing from nature in Japan”

What the label really means: I like the concept that this beer is ultra pure and I am sold on the technique immediately. Give me some of that damned purity!

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: I am firstly impressed by the simplicity of this label. A simple splash of white colour as though from the end of a bamboo paint brush strikes down the bottle and ‘KIRIN’ stands boldly beneath. The neck label has a very cool dragon strutting about with impressive wind-swept hair. I like the fact that Kirin are definitely letting the beer, and its first press method speak for itself without feeling the need to go with over the top imagery. 

If there are any Japanese people reading this that can tell me what the script on the front of the bottle says, I would be most interested to hear from you. If there are any French people reading this, bonjour.  

I give it a label rating of 7.5 out of 10.

AROMA: A real full-bodied lager smell that is extremely attractive.

Taste: GLASS – A malty wheat flavour that is mild, though enticing. I do enjoy this beer but my only negative comment is that it doesn’t seem to linger in the mouth for too long. I’m not quite sure why this is but it definitely shortens the sips lifespan and doesn’t allow you to roll it around on your tongue. 

Kirin - GLASS

I give it a beer from glass rating of 7 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – I am always surprised when a beer tastes better from the bottle than it does from the glass, and this is a fine example. When drinking Kirin from a glass I feel that the air gets in and discombobulates (ok so I just wanted to use that word, not quite knowing what it means) the taste, dispersing it throughout my mouth. When drinking from the bottle, you get straight to the heart of Kirin. It rolls around the mouth with a sweetness that is very attractive, and then leaves with a gentle bitterness. I also note that the carbonation seems less evident. Be damned if this isn’t going back as one of the ol smoothies.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 8 out of 10.

A word from the wife: “Light, crisp, easy on the tum. I could really enjoy this all night”

She gave it a taste rating of 8.5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: Ok this is a bit predictable and perhaps even stereotypical, but I would like to suggest that this accompanies all manner of tempura and sushi. It got me in the mood for a Japanese banquet.

Best season to appreciate: Being a fairly light beer in terms of colour and taste, I feel this beer would be a great Summer thirst quencher.

All-nighter beer? Yes, definitely – if you can afford this expensive import. (I’m sure it’s cheaper in Japan!)

Other notes: You’ve really got to check out the Kirin Australia website ( It is one of the finest designed sites I have ever come across, using familiar manga techniques. 

NEXT WEEK: Tooheys Extra Dry