We are pretty skint. For beer drinkers in Japan, this means we are drinking happoshu. This is low malt beer that is almost half the price of regular beer. Our usual happoshu is mugi to hoppu (see below) by the Japan brewery big-boy, Sapporo.

To be honest, it really isn’t that bad. It’s got the lager bite and I’ve even picked up on some yeast flavour, albeit very slight. We have tried lots of happoshu beers and this is probably my first choice. It doesn’t claim to be anything flashy and so doesn’t let you down.

Anyway, we were given a can of real full-malt beer by the major brewery Suntory. To my excitement this claimed to be an ale. I cannot describe my disappointment. The drink was way to carbed to be an ale and taste wise, I wouldn’t say it had an ale-like flavour. Certainly no hop flavour that I could recognise. The ‘ale’ in question is below.

I know ales come in all shapes, so maybe this hits the spot for someone and I’m sure they did their research. However, there are so many superior brews by much smaller breweries here that, for me, this is pretty embarassing for Suntory.

Does anyone out there have an opinion on the big brewery’s ales in Japan? Should the small guy be afraid, or not?


4 thoughts on “Ale?

  1. Here in the UK the “small guys” are called micro breweries and they’re popularity is always increasing. If ales are your thing and they’re scarce in Japan then go for it, be a disruptor. The big guys won’t know what hit ’em! And as sfjy has said quality beer is appreciated.


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