Asahi Stout

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.

Had a few sips first...

Had a few sips first...

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.


10 Responses

  1. Popped into the New Zealand Travel Cafe in Roppongi last night and had a stubbie of Speights – as their website says “Probably the least sweet of all New Zealand mainstream brown beers, this characteristic allows the full flavour of the malt and hops to shine through.”

    First time in many years I have had one – tasty.

  2. They have the bottled Kirin Stout in the Queen’s Isetan at Shinagawa station. I just found it today when I went in to look for the Asahi Stout (which they didn’t have) on the way home from work.

    That “happoshu” link is useful. Now I know a) why Nodogoshi Nama tastes like piss, and b) which beers (or so-called-beers) to avoid in future.

  3. Happoshu is terrible stuff. Avoid it at all costs. And Nodogoshi is particularly disgusting.

    As for Kirin Stout, they seem to have pulled a bait-and-switch recently, replacing the original bottled version with the canned variety, but in a bottle. Turn the label over — if the ABV is 5% or 5.5% then it’s not the original bottled stout, which like the Asahi Stout was 8%. Bastards.

  4. It sounds good. I wonder if I will be able to find it here in California, maybe at the nearby Japanese market.

  5. Yes, it was the 5% stuff. Damn.

  6. @ Tornadoes, it’s worth a shot, but given the choice, I’d go with Lion over the Asahi. I looove Lion.

    @ David, shoot, that’s too bad. Another alternative is Tokyo Black Porter from Yo-Ho brewing, again available at snobby supermarkets like Queen’s Isetan. The can is very distinctive and has the name written on it in English. And if you’re in the mood for something lighter, the Yona Yona Ale from the same company is definitely worth a taste as well.

  7. The problem with the Japanese beers in the US, they are all brewed in either the US (at the Budweiser plant) or in Canada (one of them by Molson).

    I have heard by friends that Guinness in the US does not taste as good as Guinness sold in Europe.

  8. […] black beer By David Recently I’ve been trying to find a shop that sells this Asahi Stout bottled beer but it’s proving to be quite […]

  9. Correct. The Sapporo in the 22-ounce can sold in the U.S.A. has “imported” in larger letters – and ‘Guelph, Ontario, Canada’ in small characters at the foot of the curved bottom. 3=S>

  10. Asahi stout sin’t that easy to find. The canned stout could well be the ichibanshibori stout, which isnt the same thing.
    Try Tanakaya, in Mejiro, for good booze. Best booze shop in Japan. They have ana amazing stock of craft beer from Japana nd the world plus whisky, wine etc. Great place. Left at Mejiro station exit and go 100m or so and it’s downstairs, jsut before McDonalds.
    ps.if you like Yaho Tokyo Black, I reccomend Yaho’s National Trust Porter. Lovely stuff.

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