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Feb 18, 2002 04:36 PM

Dry beer

  • h

Does anyone here have any good, solid information about dry beer?

Bud Dry is the only beer I like. Unfortunately, it's not that easy to find; in fact, for some reason, dry beer in general is not easy to find.

I called the 800 number given on the side of the can to ask about Bud Dry, but all I got was somewhat ignorant, rather evasive nonsense.

I'd like to know the following:

1. What, exactly, is the difference betw dry beer and regular beer?

2. What's the alcohol percentage of dry beer? How does it compare to regular beer?

3. Does anyone have any ideas about any geographical areas in which dry beer is particularly popular, or any cultural or ethnic groups that are known for liking it (or alleged to like it)?

Tnx in advance. I find this beer to be very tasty--much tastier than regular beer. I find that one of these, when I'm thirsty, really hits the spot. Oddly, I never seem to have a thirst for more than 1.

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  1. j
    Janet A. Zimmerman

    "Dry beer" usually refers to a Japanese style of beer in which genetically altered yeast is used which turns the unfermentable sugars in the malt into a fermentable form. This means that the beer has much less body (and flavor, in my opinion) and is generally higher in alcohol. It's "dry" in the sense that it contains less sugar than normal beer -- but without the dextrins, the beer has little complexity or aftertaste.

    I think some American "dry" beers use rice as an adjunct, which would have much the same effect as the altered yeast -- rice ferments out leaving very little body in the beer, with a higher alcohol content.

    The best known dry beers are Japanese, although some of the big American breweries have adopted the style. Hard to believe they'd want their beers to have even less body and flavor, but obviously the style has its fans.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Janet A. Zimmerman

      Thank you for your explanation--very clear, detailed, to the point, and comprehensible!

      1. re: Janet A. Zimmerman

        Anheuser-Busch makes its Asahi Super Dry in Los Angeles. That should be relatively easy to find.

        1. re: Jim Dorsch

          Sorry, made a mistake. A-B makes Kirin, not Asahi.

          1. re: Jim Dorsch

            I believe you may be incorrect. Kirin seems to be brewed by Kirin Breweries LLC. A-B has a licensing agreement whereby Kirin brews Bud for Japanese distribution. I don't believe the agreement is reciprocal.

            1. re: Alan H

              I'll check tomorrow and report back.

              1. re: Jim Dorsch

                You were right about the Kirin A-B connection. Last night I was drinking some and according to the label: brewed under the strict supervision of Kirin's brewmaster by Anhueser-Busch, Inc. Los Angeles, CA.

                I remember when it was really imported and it was problematic getting Kirin fresh or handled properly. So I gave up on drinking a beer I had enjoyed in Japan. I started buying it again last year when I noticed that the label has the bottled date. Doesn't seem exactly the same, but acceptable as drinkable to me. Last nights batch was bottled on my birthday last month, so I knew that it was speaking to me.

                1. re: wrayb

                  People are often critical when a beer is made somewhere far from the original source, but you raise a good point about freshness/handling.

      2. I can help on some of your questions. Dry beer is a pretty new development which originated in Japan with brewers like Asahi and Sapporo. A beer traditionalist would probably call it a marketing gimmick since it was developed by large breweries in response to perceived consumer preferences rather than being an old authentic style. It was copied in the US by the big brewers like A-B around the time ice beers were popular in the mid 90's. I don't think it is as popular as it was when it was introduced and probably its distribution is getting spotty, which is why you're having having trouble finding it. Don't know about alcohol content, but I thought it was higher than regular beer.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rjka

          AAMOF, I was in Japan maybe 8 or 10 years ago, and I was drinking Asahi dry beer, and it was really delicious. (I was a tourist in Japan, and I found I was often quite thirsty, and I wound up drinking a half-liter at lunch, and then again at dinner--quite an amount, on a daily basis, for a person who claims he's not a beer drinker!)

          However, I also recall that when I was growing up in NYC many years ago, Rheingold used a jimgle that said "my beer is Rheingold, the dry beer,...."

        2. Can't say I actually know much about the difference between dy beer and "wet" beer, but I did write to Bud once to settle a bet on alcohol pct. Here's the numbers from the horse's mouth:
          Alcohol Calories Carbohydrates Protein
          (by volume) (per 12oz.) (grams) (grams)
          Budweiser 5.0% 145 10.9 1.2
          Bud Light 4.2% 110 6.6 0.9
          Bud Ice 5.5% 150 9.1 1.4
          Bud Ice Light 4.1% 110 6.5 1.0
          Bud Dry 5.0% 130 7.8 1.1
          Michelob 5.0% 165 15.5 1.5
          Michelob Light 4.3% 134 11.7 1.1
          Michelob Golden Draft 4.8% 151 13.4 1.3
          Michelob Golden Draft Light 4.1% 110 7.0 1.0
          Michelob Amber Bock 5.2% 166 14.5 1.3
          Michelob Hefeweizen 5.0% 161 13.3 2.3
          Michelob Pale Ale 5.2% 166 14.0 2.1
          Michelob Honey Lager 4.9% 175 18.4 1.9
          Michelob Black & Tan 5.1% 179 17.8 2.2
          Red Wolf 5.4% 155 11.4 1.4
          O'Doul's .40% 70 15 0.7
          O'Doul's Amber .40% 90 18 1.9
          Busch NA 0.4% 60 12.9 0.6
          Busch 4.6% 13310.0 1.0
          Busch Light 4.2% 110 6.7 0.8
          Busch Ice 5.8% 170 11.8 1.3
          Natural Light 4.2% 110 6.6 0.8
          Natural Ice 5.9% 156 9.6 1.1
          King Cobra 5.9% 182 15.7 1.3
          Hurricane 5.9% 160 10.1 1.5
          Tequiza 4.5% 127 8.7 1.0
          ZiegenBock 5.0% 154 14.4 1.5
          Doc Otis 5.0% 247 37 .6

          1. Have you really tried exploring the world of beer? If you like Bud Dry it seems that you like very light and crisp tasting lagers and pilsners. (Ugh! In my opinion, but that's just me. Everyone has different tastes. I like very malty and full bodied hand-crafted ales such as Aventinus and Chimay or a barleywine like Foghorn)

            I used to be a Bud man many years ago and made a determined effort to really try different types. (An extended trip to Britain at 21 really changed my mind as I got to try real ale.)Once I had experienced the full range of beer styles my tastes changed over the years.

            There are so many fantastic beers of the pilsner type available that you can spend a long time trying them all. (A fun experience in and of itself)
            The one problem is that you have to make sure they are absolutely the freshest bottles possible, or buy it draught in a pub that has high volume sales, because they get "lightsruck" very easily. (A skunky, off, flavor that develops as an enzyme reaction when beer in clear or green bottles is exposed to bright sunlight for as little as 30 seconds. I don't understand why all beer isn't in brown bottles.)

            Some beers you may like are Pilsner Urquel and other fine European Pilsners, Asahi Dry (the original "dry" style beer)and other Japanese beers (including the Japanese Black lagers which while dark colored are very light and crisp, I think either Asahi and/or Sapporo make them. There are also some fine hand-crafted lagers and pilsners made in this country such as Rogue, Anchor, etc. Try going to a good beer distributor and ask the management, they may have some suggestions.

            Good luck and if you accept, have fun on your venture into the world of real beer. I did, so much so that I ended up working for an award winning brew pub in Seattle at one time and then got into the hobby of home brewing and competing.

            1 Reply
            1. re: The Rogue

              Re tasting beers, some years ago, on a trip to Edinburgh (Scotland), we went to one of the local breweries (it might have been Bass Ale) and did a tasting. The ale I had was very tasty... alas, it's hard to get that here.