Japanese Name: ザ・プレミアム・モルツ〈コクのブレンド〉
Release: Sept. 24, 2013
Type: Japanese Beer (ビール)
Purchase Price: ￥200 @Aeon
Sometimes people are looking for something with a little bit more flavor than a standard lager, but yet aren’t interested in going all out for a dark beer like a schwarzbier or stout. For these people there’s the invention of the half and half, a mixture of lager and a dark beer. So the good ol’ folks at Suntory have used their blending expertise and once again made another beer blend. This time around, they’ve taken their premiere The Premium Malt’s (pilsner) and their “black beer” of the same name for a ride in the mixing vat. It’s probably not a 50-50 blend, because that would be too easy. I’m sure Suntory’s food scientists have calculated the perfect blend proportion for optimum koku in order to earn their winter bonus this year. Let’s take a test drive.
In the glass the only difference in appearance between Koku no Blend and a cold glass of Coca-Cola is the nice creamy head (and no ice cubes if you’re being picky). Koku no Burendo gets its color from the darker of the two beers. As with Suntory’s premium whiskies, Koku no Blend is best sipped to appreciate the flavors. Up front its got malt that clings to the tip of the tongue, the flavors are quite light here which is unexpected. Mid-palate Koku no Blend opens up and more generous amounts of malt and hops come through for its rich (koku) taste. I tasted some tootsie roll and hints of licorice on the back. It finishes with just a tad of tangy bitterness that builds throughout the course of the drink.
Suntory The Premium Malt’s Koku no Blend ends up being a very nice can of beer. On its own, Premium Black does have its deficiencies, however Suntory’s Pilsner picks up the slack and they really do blend together in harmony, even enhancing each other. Try yours while supplies last, but stay away from the convenience store cans. Not only do you pay more, but you lose 20mL with their special “convenience store only limited” 330mL cans. Let’s hope Suntory’s employees get a nice bonus this winter, well done!