Japanese Name: アサヒオリオン夏いちばん
Release: May 27, 2014
Type: Japanese Beer
Purchase Price: ￥320 @Nagoya International Airport Okinawa Fair
I first learned about Natsu Ichiban back in 2013. It’s a limited brew from Orion that was only sold in Okinawa, and thus I was never able to buy it. On a trip to Nagoya a while back, they happened to have an Okinawa Fair and I came across a can for a completely outrageous price. Being more affordable than traveling to Okinawa I decided to pick it up. The one I bought may have come from the 2013 lot, but I can’t verify that. Natsu Ichiban is an all malt (1.2x more malt compared to Orion Draft) and uses 100% aroma hops.
Orion Natsu Ichiban pours out with a little more color than most Japanese lagers and creates a nice head. On your first gulp you’ll encounter tons of malt without much bitterness. It has a very sweet creamy flavor similar to Sapporo Classic and finishes with just a tad of bitterness.
In the end, Orion Natsu Ichiban is just so-so. The flavors are a little disjointed. The sweetness comes on strong and the bitterness kicks in well after its down the throat. Finally, there’s a unique flavor that I can’t put my finger on, probably coming off the hops since it shoots off the bitterness. If you find yourself in Okinawa this summer, try it out for yourself and leave an opinion in the comments.