Japanese Name: アサヒ 世界ビール紀行 ベルギー ベルジャンエールタイプ
Release: Nov. 30, 2010
Purchase Price: ￥247 @Heart-In Conbini
Just released yesterday, I moseyed on down to the conbini at the train station to buy this beer, as it wasn’t at the local Jusco or other conbini I visited. This is the second beer in Asahi’s World Beer Travels series, the Belgian Ale.
For some unknown reason, it is rare to find an ale in Japan outside the craft beer scene. Back in the US, I often drank local IPA type beers, but Asahi’s Belgian Ale is quite different than anything you’d find outside of the country. Their website news release even states that they’ve toned down the hops level compared to an ale you’d drink England or the US, for better or worse.
Pouring this beer it’s got the same light straw color you Japanese lager drinkers are accustomed to, however the nose is quite different. I detected a lot of yeast in the nose, a fragrant fruitiness, that I thought was a little more acidic than the aroma from a more well hopped beer. There’s a lot of flavor here, and as with the nose it’s fruity and somewhat sweet. I loved the long finish, with some slight bitterness and lingering acidity on the back of the tongue.
Asahi’s World Beer Travels Belgian Ale is a breath of fresh air in the Japanese domestic market of lagers. I like how they’ve taken a different direction of adding less hops, and showing off the fruitiness of the top fermenting yeast. The flavors are well rounded and long lasting, and if you’re looking for something different in the grocery store, this is the brew you need to try. Available in Japan while supplies last, 200,000 cases worth.