The other day after work I went to the Japanese market to grab some dinner on the way home. It was a sushi kind of day. Anyway, I meandered down the beer aisle to see what the beer selection looked like. I saw the usual choices: Sapporo, Asahi, and Kirin then I saw one that I hadn’t seen before. So I grabbed a bottle and decided to give it a try.
Koshihikari Echigo Beer – premium japanese import – 5% ABV
It took a bit of beersoaked research and a lot of “Google translate” to get the following info from their website, which is entirely in Japanese. (http://www.echigo-beer.jp)
Echigo is Japan’s oldest craft brewery founded in 1994 in Niigata, Japan shortly after “deregulation” in 1993. They started brewing in December 1994 and sold their first craft beer in February 1995. In 1996 they won a bronze medal in the World Beer Cup for their stout. Since then they’ve won various awards over the years including a Silver medal at the World Beer Cup in 2009 for this beer, Koshihikari Echigo Beer, in the “Pilsner” category.
The brewery is in the heart of an area known for growing the most expensive rice in Japan, and the name “Koshihikari” comes from the type of rice used in the brewing process.
It pours a very pale golden color, and looks like a lot of the fizzy yellow stuff that I usually tend to avoid. It has a very ricey* smell to it, *(I know that’s not a word, but it is an accurate description). The taste is light and clean. It has a definite sweetness that comes from the rice, reminds me of a light version of a Czech Pilsner. It is very close to Asahi Extra Dry in my humble opinion, maybe a little sweeter. I think Kirin has a fuller flavor and isn’t as light as this. I haven’t had a Saporro in years, so can’t draw a comparison there.
With a craft beer price ($5.98/500ml bottle) I guess I expected more. It paired well with my Japanese dinner, (sashimi, salmon cut roll sushi and fried tofu.) But I wouldn’t drink it on its own. It’s a refreshing compliment to raw fish, but a bit too thin to hold its own as a stand-alone beer. Overall I’m glad I gave it a try, but next time I’ll go for their Echigo stout instead.
Two beer caps from me. Not bad, but not going to run out and grab another anytime soon.
Beer Soaked Erik