27. Kirin Ichiban

Now then. Finally an actual bottle of pale lager that has no pretensions of being anything else. There are—perhaps unsurprisingly—very few of these in The Book, and whilst I’m by no means a lager drinker, I’m willing to consider that the handful that are in there are chosen for a reason.

Apparently Ichiban (meaning “the first”) is made with the single, first pressing of the wort in the mash tun. The finer points of the mechanics of brewing are lost on me, but I suppose that must be the beery equivalent of making extra virgin olive oil.

Kirin Ichiban

Kirin Ichiban certainly looks the part, with its very smart silver and gold embossed label featuring Japanese text and an ornate depiction of what seems to be a horse/dragon hybrid creature.

It’s pretty fizzy and pale, as befits a lager, with a generous frothy white head. There’s a nice malty whiff to it that I’m starting to learn is typical of the better quality examples of the style.

Ichiban is actually rather tasty. It’s fuller-bodied than expected, and very refreshing, but with enough of bitter finish to make this really quite a satisfying bottle of beer. Not bad at all.

Incidentally, I note that my bottle is actually brewed under licence in the UK, by Wells & Young’s of all people. It would be interesting to see how the original Japanese version compares.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Wells and Young’s, Bedford, England
Style: Pale Lagers
ABV: 5.0%
Found at: Bossman Wines, Lordship Lane, London SE22
Dispense: 330ml Bottle

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