Japan has some incredible locally produced beers (地ビール, or jibiiru) and wonderful microbrews, but most of what you’ll find in convenience stores and supermarkets is either macrobrewed crap or happoshu, which is utter shite. If you go to one of the more upscale supermarkets, however, you’ll find that even the macrobrewers put out a few specialty brews to offset all the swill they regularly produce. One of those is Asahi Stout.Asahi Stout only comes in bottles, as all beer should, dammit. It is thick and bittersweet, and clocking in at 8% ABV, it’s definitely a sipping beer. It is also a breath of fresh air from the gnarly rice- and corn-infused excrement that passes for beer here. (America, you’re just as guilty — a plague on the house of Budweiser!) I’ve switched to Asahi Stout recently over my usual fallback, Kirin Stout, because I can’t seem to find the latter anymore. Kirin at one point was making two stouts, the canned variety that is still readily available and a bottled version that was a different and far superior brew. Unfortunately, it seems to have disappeared from the usual shelves.
Asahi Stout is not my favorite dark beer. I prefer it over Guinness, which frankly I think is overrated, but the honor of favorite stout belongs to Sri Lankan Lion Stout, which is rich, flavorful manna from heaven. That being said, you’ll likely only find Lion at specialty import stores, whereas Asahi Stout can be found at your average snobby supermarket such as Queen’s Isetan. It will set you back about 270 yen for a 334 mL bottle, but it’s definitely worth it when things start getting cold outside and you’re in the mood for a heartier brew.
Filed under: Booze