For this father and son trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, we’re drinking Sapporo Reserve. Of course we didn’t actually go to Japan to get this beer, and technically this beer didn’t even come to us from Japan. Our cans were actually brewed at the Sapporo Brewery in Ontario, Canada. We’ll call it Japanese in the same sense as your Toyota that’s built in Kentucky. Take off, eh?
Sapporo Reserve is touted on the can as an “all malt beer” though if it was really all malts and didn’t have the yeast, water and hops that literally created and defined a beer we’d probably be quite disappointed when we opened the can and just dried barley fell out. So we’re guessing “all malt” does not mean what they think it means. That or something is lost in translation, like the instructions for putting your bookcase together (“Happily insert slot A with regards to cam B while flange dowel anti-clockwise”).
For our test we poured our 650 mL (22 oz for those not versed in the metric system) can of 5.2% ABV Sapporo happily into a regular British pint glass. We got a starting beer temperature of 45 F.
Our initial pour yielded an average 1 1/2″ frothy white head that left virtually no lacing as it dissipated quickly. There was a medium amount of carbonation to the sparkling clear yellow/gold body of the beer.
Our initial aromas were barley, grain, very light floral, light soap and light corn. We’ll grant them that there are a lot of malt smells in there.
Our initial flavors came in with a light sweet and very light bitter that evolved in the finish to a very light sweet and light to moderate bitter. Our tastes came in with barley, very light lemon, light ginger and light corn. Overall the whole beer is very light on the nose and taste. Crisp and clean for sure, almost to a fault.
The finish length is short to average, the mouthfeel is dry, the tongue hit is front to middle and there’s no body lacing. On our patented malt to hop scale it comes in just a click to the right of balanced on the hoppy side.
For our bottom line notes we got a yes to drinkable, repeatable and balance, while getting a no for harmony, memorable, wow factor and buy again.
Overall it reminds us of one of our favorite obscure quotes from our all-time favorite Christmas movie A Christmas Story: “This wine’s not bad. It’s not good either.”
Sapporo Reserve is crisp and clean, yes, but so is water. Unlike water though, Sapporo has enough hops to know it’s beer, so that gives it an edge over water. It’s actually fairly hoppy for an “all malt beer” like it touts itself. It would be highly sessionable as long as you don’t let it get too warm.
The best part about the beer? Seriously, it’s got to be the can. The can is an absolute beast of a steel can. You can’t crush it with your hand and if you tried to crush it on your head like real men did in the 1950’s and 60’s you’d quite possibly knock yourself out. Even Agent Gibbs probably couldn’t figure out what did you in after you bludgeoned yourself to death with the mighty steel vessel.
The second best part about the beer? Probably the 22 oz size. A really great, perfect single serving size.
If you’re at a Japanese Steakhouse where they flip the shrimp into your shirt pocket against your wishes, it’s not a bad beer to get. You can feel a lot better about yourself ordering up a Sapporo than a rank American domestic. Is it craft beer? Technically they might make too much of it to fit the definition of craft beer, but we’ll spot you this one.
Sapporo Reserve Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)
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