Japanese Name: アサヒスーパードライ ドライプレミアム
Release: June 2013
Type: Japanese Beer (ビール)
Purchase Price: Free trial
Last summer saw Asahi releasing a premium beer that was exclusively sold for the summer gift giving season called ochugen. Asahi Dry Premium could be purchased in special boxed gift packs for a few thousand yen. Fortunately, Asahi also sent out sample packages each quarter to a few lucky drawing winners. After months of entries, I finally won my trial package last December. Dry Premium has its roots in Super Dry’s lineage, utilizing Super Dry’s special yeast in addition to Japanese Golden barley malt, and adding a little bit of Amarillo hops from my home of Washington State. Interestingly, as a premium beer, Dry Premium is not an all-malt beer, but rather incorporates rice as common to the standard Japanese lager.
Unlike your standard Super Dry, Asahi Dry Premium shows off a deep golden color and sports notes of tangy malt on the nose, while tens of thousands of tiny bubbles combine to form a tempting creamy head. As you take in your first gulp, you’ll find an unexpected lightness on the front end. Towards the mid-palate is where the malt and hops kick in, leaving a nice rich bitter finish going down the throat. In the end the faint acidic tart of malt vinegar tightens up your tongue and cheeks, as you reach for your second gulp.
As Asahi’s first foray into the premium beer market, Dry Premium hits a sweet spot. I think that the keyword here is balance. Whereas other premium beers tend to be on the bitter side, Dry Premium manages to keep bitterness toned down while maintaining a full bodied flavor and thick creamy mouthfeel. It has a very well rounded flavor not going overboard in any one direction, and I think that will appeal to the majority Japanese beer drinkers. On Feb. 18th, Asahi Dry Premium will be released in a 6% ABV version to compete on the top shelf with Suntory’s The Premium Malts, Sapporo’s Yebisu, and Grand Kirin.