13 September 2010

Honorable alternative

Asahi Black seems to be one of those beers that's generally regarded in the UK as a paragon of mainstream quality. Over here we only get the pale one, contract brewed by Shepherd Neame in Kent, so when I noticed this in Brighton's Waitrose back in June, I snapped it up.

I'm glad I did too: it's lovely. A 5% ABV black lager it feels quite a bit stronger, having the big and slightly sticky body of quality export-strength stout. There are some very interesting smoke and burnt caramel notes as well, both in the aroma and on tasting. It finishes sweet and a little bit herbal with a touch of chocolatey grittiness.

I'd love to have a regular supply of this, and to see it in an oriental restaurant or two. And for anyone who thinks that using maize and/or rice in beer automatically makes it of poor quality -- get some of this into you.

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