Japanese Name: 一番搾り プレミアム
Release: June, 2014
Type: Japanese Beer (ビール)
Purchase Price: ￥280 (330mL bottle) @Aeon Liquor
June of 2014 saw the release of the first “premium” beer from the Ichiban Shibori line, however it was only sold in their Ochugen gift sets in 330mL bottles. Since I do not purchase these gift sets, it was a beer I never thought I’d get my hands on. But by chance, I snagged a single bottle being sold at my local grocery store the other day. Ichiban Shibori Premium was brewed under the supervision of Kirin’s Braumeister Takamasa Kurokui, and is made with a generous amount of Kaikogane hops from Yaiyu, Akita Prefecture. In addition to its gift sets, Kirin will be releasing Ichiban Premium to restaurants starting May 13th.
Ichiban Premium pours out a standard straw color, with a decent layer of foam. Immediately noticeable is the fragrant hoppy and cider-like aroma that comes off the head. It is quite flavorful up front, but quickly lightens up leaving a smooth, clean malty finish with a round bitterness. The flavors are quite light, but do build somewhat throughout the glass, evening across the palate. The overall taste is a little sweet, with hints of red apple with some kiwi like acidity.
This beer travels down a completely different path than the standard Ichiban. Kirin’s brew master did a wonderful job of putting a completely different spin on the Japanese lager. The flavors are very complex, building with each sip, yet this beer remains very easy drinking. I would love to try this one on tap and would not hesitate to purchase Ichiban Premium as a seasonal gift pack for a coworker. Cheers!