i just have a quick question concerning japanese beer:
most people have a favorite beer which they always order..
so which beer do you drink/recommend? and why?
saporro,kirin,asahi? are there other good ones?
Out of the three, I prefer Asahi; there are not only enough interesting seasonal variations of the big brands, but also really wonderful microbrews that are really wonderful. If I had to choose between the defaults, though, I'd choose Asahi as well.
I'm an Yebisu man, I really don't understand the super dry, try not to drink it if I can avoid it, but like they say: cada chancho a su rancho.
Curious - do you work for a beverage company, are you in marketing, someone who wants beer recommendations?
Should our answers be limited to beers that are only available in Japan, or Japanese brands that are also available overseas?
To answer your question, my favorite was Sapporo Black Label until Suntory Premium Malts came out.
no i dont work in marketing or anything like that :-D
i will be traveling to japan for the first time, and was just wondering what beers the locals would recommend..
i personally like beers that arent very bitter(like pilsener).. i prefer a lot of bubbles in it and i look for the refreshing factor in a beer, rather than being purerly taste oriented..
You'll also want to complete a brewery tour if you get a chance, the Suntory factory in Bubaigawara isn't too far from Shinjuku (maybe 25minutes?) and at the end of the tour (completely in Japanese), you get free samples. There's a nice gift shop too.
The Kirin brewery in Nagoya was fun too.
re: lost squirrel
Not quite a full-blown brewery tour, but more easily accessible is the Yebisu Beer Museum in Ebisu; a side benefit is that the tour is do-it-yourself so you can read the information in English. The tasting isn't free, but it's only Y400 for a sampler of four different limited-edition Sapporo/Yebisu beers, which I've never seen anywhere else.
For my personal taste, I like Kirin "Ichibanshibori" because it has so many bubbles and is refreshing.
Asahi "Superdry" is very flat and easy to chug if that is what you need to do.
Yebisu is very creamy.
Sapporo Black Label used to be my favorite, but gave me bad headaches. I'm sure it was just me!
Suntory Premium Malts has a bitter aftertaste, but does not contain corn starch.
You say that you like your beer not very bitter, and refreshing, without being overly taste oriented. I think in that case, Asahi Super Dry is your beer.
Personally, I find that beer quite boring, but it does go well with a lot of foods (maybe because it is so bland and neutral), and in terms of refreshment really is very good.
I prefer Yebisu and Kirin. I always think how much flavour they have in comparison (though they are nowhere near as flavoursome as a high quality Czech or German Pilsner).
There are also some good local beers. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about them, I have forgotten many of their names. Otaru Pilsner type beer is good, as have been all beers I have had from Miyazaki (I have stupidly forgotten the names). I am sure there will be some Japanese beer connoisseurs on chowhound who can recommend places in Tokyo to you where you can try many Japanese beers which are not produced by the big breweries.
Yebisu is my favorite since it's more 'beery' (more malt? more beer flavor?) than most of the others. However I'm usually pleasantly surprised when I get a Premium Malts also. Both of them are more rare than the big 3.
Anyway, in most places you're stuck with whatever beer they stock, which is often just one. And avoid happoshu, unless you need to save a dollar!
Not strictly to your question, but the specialist beer places are mostly Belgian, or there's a place called Popeye in Ryogoku that has lots of Japanese micro beers (Tokyu Food Show in Shibuya is the retail outlet where I've seen the most micro-J-beer). Bento has a 'beer map', and I've got somewhere around 10 beer-oriented places on my own map.
Premimum Malts and Yebisu Premium are better than the big three.
I used to like Asahi super dry, but now I prefer a very cold Sapporo.
I like Asahi Super Dry and Kirin Ichiban Shibori they are available everywhere. Edelpils from Sapporo is good too but they only have it in some bars. Personally I would recommend Yona Yona Ale but if you don't like your beer bitter you'll probably won't like it.
One place that you cannot miss is Bar Popeye, 70 beers on tap.
i'm curious -- what do japan based hounds feel about the hitachino beers?
i like the red rice, it's very good.