Japanese Name: オリオン 生ビール
Type: Japanese Beer (ビール)
Purchase Price: ￥183 @Aeon
While I have reviewed a few Orion limited brews in the past, I have never gotten around to review their flagship, Orion Draft. With Orion producing a limited edition can for the summer, it gave me the perfect opportunity to add this one to the Beers of Japan blog.
Orion Draft pours easily forming that thick head common to Japanese beers. It’s a deeper golden color than other off the shelf lagers, and it has a nice malty aroma coming off the head. The first gulp has a decent amount of malty flavor and a ever-so-slight sweetness along with a thicker mouth feel. A slight bitterness comes through on the back end, finishing with a slight metallic tinge on the cheeks.
Outside of Asia, Orion Draft is pretty much the only “brewed in Japan” lager from a major brewer you’ll find in the stores. All the other Big Four brewers (Orion is a subsidiary of Asahi) contract with other major in country brewers to produce “Japanese” beers that end up tasting quite different from original. That being said, there’s nothing terribly special about Orion Draft. It’s a decent beer to quench your thirst on a hot day, but not one that you should go out of your way to buy. Still, if you must have something authentic at your friendly neighborhood sushi bar, skip the Asahi and ask if they serve Orion Draft.