The dark beer of Sapporo’s Yebisu label. I actually had one of these last night but I wasn’t doing beer reviews last night so I decided to take a 5$ bullet for the cause. Also, as it is the only dark beer I have been able to find in either of the two countries I have been living in for the past 6 months, I gots ta have more.
The happy fisherman is back. The label also assures us that he was “born 1887”. Keep on truckin’ little Yebisu fisherman. Other than the fisherman the all-black label contains informative and italicized text, to whit: this black beer has malt in good balance and a hearty roasted flavor (one wonders if they’re going after the oft courted malt crowd).
Lets see what this plucky milleni-generian can do! first sip: mmm that’s more like it. You can taste the beer before it even gets to your lips. The aroma alone will fill your stomach more than that last 20$ sashimi plate.
They don’t call it a porter. They seem to feel ‘premium black beer’ about sums it up. But this is a textbook porter. Enough carbonation and hopps to make sure you aren’t in doubt you’re drinking a beer and enough rich caramely malts to let you know you still have some tastebuds left. The two participants both hang around long enough to have a hearty punch up over who gets to define the aftertaste and you are left holding both their girlfriends.
This one pull alone contains more raw experience then a whole can of “The Hop”.
The thing is, I don’t actually like porters. They’re over carbonated and the hop-malt contest is missplaced. I just want the malt to win. My favorite porters are the ones where the brewer invites mr. alcohol to play. He inevitably picks malt’s side and they’re left partying while over-carbonation tries to console his well defeated partner.
Mr. Alcohol is at this party. You can hear him hollering over the sterio. But his heart just isn’t in it. He’s giving someting like 5%. If he were giving more like 7 things would start to get really fun.
As it is I have to rank this beer my favorite of Japan. I would like to compare it to Chang of which I have often said: “It’s a really bad beer. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t the best beer in Thailand”. I’m just not sure premium Yebisu has the pluck and vigour of chang. With a lack of charm it’s going to have to do things the hard way: it has to get by on it’s merits.