Japanese Name: オリオン いちばん桜
Release: Jan. 31, 2012
Type: Japanese Beer
Purchase Price: ￥185 @Yamaya
A subsidiary of Asahi, Orion Beer hails from Okinawa and produces the only major Japanese beer available in the US that is still made in Japan. Around the end of each winter, Orion releases a limited production all-malt beer to celebrate the blooming cherry blossoms, that bloom early in Okinawa’s warm climate.
Orion Ichiban Sakura poured out of the can is fairly light in color, a standard straw you’d expect from a lager, and the malt is apparent in its aroma. In line with the color, the flavor is actually quite light on the front. The malt and hops come through on the back of the tongue, with a slight tartness and bitterness.
This beer is quite difficult to find, at least in my area, and I was lucky to pull the last one off the shelf of a large liquor store in my area. I’ve been wanting to post Ichiban Sakura for a couple years now, but this was the first time I’ve seen it in the store since trying it in Hiroshima. I’m sure it’ll be next to impossible to find right now, but come next year be sure to pick it up if you see it.