The late and great authority on beer, Michael Jackson, devoted just one paragraph to Asahi Super Dry in his 1989 The New World Guide to Beer. The beer had been released in 1987. But when Jackson wrote the text, probably in 1988, he couldn’t have foreseen the scale of beer war provoked in Japan by Asahi’s new brew, nor that it would create a new genre of beer, imitated by all other brewers.
Dry or ‘Karuchi’ beer became the rage and still is today, thanks probably to its unique fresh and delicate but intense flavour. The manufacturing specifications on Asahi’s website are reminiscent, in some respects, of the protective techniques winemakers use on delicate whites like riesling.
In particular, the site talks of special, gentle malt-handling systems designed to keep out unwanted flavours – much as top riesling makers separate free-run juice quickly from grapes, minimising skin contact.
There’s more to it in beer, though, as hops add spice and crispness, where natural acids, present in the grape, do the same for wine.
Occasional encounters with Asahi are reminders of what a brewing masterpiece it is – a beer you can drink by the bucket; but also one to note and savour to the last drop.
Asahi Super Dry 330ml 6-pack $18.99
It’s probably not the beer for a Canberra winter. But Asahi combines delicacy, flavour and lingering hops bitterness in a style that suits both delicate and spiced food – the beer equivalent of dry young riesling. It’s imported by Fosters and current stock is ultra fresh – a must for this style of beer.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010