Japanese Name: 北海道麦酒醸造株式会社 小樽麦酒オタルダーク
Brewer: Hokkaido Brewing
Type: Japanese Beer (ビール)
Otaru Dark from Hokkaido Brewing is the second bottle I received from a friend coming back from Hokkaido. The bottles have an interesting retro-styling to them with images of hop buds and barley in black. Against the dark label colors, they’re a little hard to distinguish. Interestingly, Hokkaido Brewing uses the kanji characters for mugi-shu or barley alcohol used in the old days to describe beer.
True to name, this beer pours out a deep brown in the glass, with a wonderfully creamy head. Notes of roasted malt come off the pour. Tons of flavor start from the lips to the back of the mouth on the first gulp. It is very well rounded incorporating sweetness, roasted malt, and bitterness in every drop.
Of the Hokkaido Brewing beers I have sampled, Otaru Dark is currently my favorite. I love the straight-forwardness. It’s a dark lager, there’s nothing fancy going on, it tastes as you would expect in a high quality craft beer. Big thumbs up.