Kirin Ichiban Shibori Premium

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Japanese Name: 一番搾り プレミアム
Brewer: Kirin
Release: June, 2014
Type: Japanese Beer (ビール)
Alcohol: 5.5%
Purchase Price: ¥280 (330mL bottle) @Aeon Liquor

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Tasting Notes:
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!

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