Sapporo Reserve

Grade: C

A friend of mine who has been living in Japan (check out his ridiculously awesome blog Follow Rory) came back this past holiday season and gifted me the curious bag of bar snacks you see above. From what I can tell, they are essentially croutons and almonds with a judicious amount of salt. What, I wondered, could possibly go with these? As I passed the import section of a not-so-local bottle shop, Sapporo Reserve caught my eye. Perfect! Japanese beer for Japanese bar snacks, and what’s more, I’ve never had this kind of Sapporo before. I popped a crouton in my mouth and dove in.

Golden and nicely clear, with a slightly offwhite and frothy head. The aroma is immediately the sulfurs of a lager, it makes me think of Coors Light. Under that there are some slightly sweeter caramel and toffee notes. The maltier, more bread-like nose becomes more pronounced as the head drops and the beer sits for a moment or two. The mouthfeel is medium light, with medium low levels of carbonation. The flavors are subtle, but do continue the notes from the aroma, some caramel and toast. It’s very one dimensional, however. The bitterness is fairly low in this beer, and while it is a lager in style and shouldn’t be too hoppy, I still think it needs something more. The malts are very simple here, delivering the slight caramel and toffee from the aroma, but not much else. It finishes dry, and doesn’t leave much of anything on the tongue as aftertaste.

All that said, this is an extremely clean beer. No off flavors are present at all, everything is very crisp and meticulous. Like the macro-breweries of America, Sapporo may not be the most flavorful thing in the world, but it’s certainly one of the most consistent. Compared to the countless Sapporos I’ve downed at my local sushi place (Sake, in Wethersfield in case anyone’s interested) this beer registers as one notch higher on the flavor scale. It’s a crisp, clean lager that pairs quite well with yellowtail tuna and eel maki sushi. This beer is best enjoyed ice cold, by the pitcher, in a secret basement sake bar in midtown Manhattan. Try it yourself. You’ll see.

Oh, and the Cratz is actually quite tasty.


Rory Johnston said...

yay, I love the review.

and, im glad the cratz were tasty.