Pours a gold colour, shiny, clear. There was a bit of head when first poured, but it's settled to nothing and now looks astoundingly dull and plain. Bit of bead that saves it from being completely uneventful.
Smells grainy, lagery. Light rice and corn notes, but a twang of metallic hop as well. Slight fruity tang which is quite nice but largely flat and not a lot of nuance.
Taste is actually not bad; light, simple grainy note upfront, with a touch of adjunct but then the hop character takes over midway and gives it a grassy and slightly resinous note. Almost works but then the back has a whisper of dry yeast character which is a bit unfortunate. Otherwise a plain but perfectly palatable and even refreshing lager.
Plain texture; not a lot of body and anything else. Kind of stodgy actually.
Fairly drinkable lager; good malt and bitters balance, and a good pairing for the spicy soup I'm having with it.
77 / 100
Risky acquisition from the tap at the Quarrymans.
Pours a pale amber colour, with a gilt edge. Head is small bubbles, decent foam retaining. Thin lace but looks alright. Yeah pretty nice.
Smells intriguing. Grainy and husky like puffed rice and popcorn, with a touch of rye spice maybe? Hint of smoke and a whisper of citric hop. Really quite nice. Plus intriguing.
Taste is not bad either. Full grain flavour, really big and husky with a nice rye spice to it as well. Just tastes like sucking grain husks, but in a really nice way with a fair whack of spice. Gritty, earthy; not a lot of sweetness which when it's all grain is quite an interesting concept. Grainy, rye spice. Really interesting lager.
Bit too much carbonation, but it creeps up slowly from a well padded front. Not bad really.
I can picture this being a complete and utter commercial disaster: being hated alike by both beer geeks and your typixal lager drinker. Which I think is a shame. but only in the former case. This is a very interesting drop with ballsy flavours: a lager for the beer connoisseur. And I don't mind putting my hand up and saying I like this a lot.
Pale gold with steady bead. White head, large bubbles, steady trickle. Decent retention. Pretty decent lager.
Smells grainy, sweet. Rice notes and corn. Caramel popcorn. Slight sorachi lemony tang on the back. Decent, refreshing.
Taste is grainy, caramelly with corn and rice. Maybe oxidised? Slight citric bitterness, and a bit of carbolic on the back. Medicinal in a sense; not very sorachi esque. Disappointing.
Fizzy, has a nice texture and body on the back, pads it nicely.
Refreshing; could use more character but has some there. Not bad at all really for the style, which is invariably a big nothing.
77 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Barny's in Alexandria. I drank this beer a lot on tap at the Mallow in Ballarat, but I'm not sure I ever got around to the bottled version.
Pours a bright, crisp, clear golden colour, with a frothy, vibrant head of white fed by strong streams of effervescent carbonation. Body is light but clean as it should be. The head leaves scaly tracks of lace as it goes down. Overall, it looks just as it should.
Nose is clean and fairly light, with a slight green hop crispness, perhaps not as pithy and pungent as I remember from the draught version. Malt is very clean and thin, giving a lightness to the aroma that doesn't ever get too sweet. It's a good combination.
Taste is unpretentious and very clean. Light thin pilsner malt gives a weak, but direct base through the centre of the palate, while the hops provide crispness through the centre. The carbonation, while seeming excessive in the glass, actually helps provide a slight sharpness to the palate, aided by the mildly acidic hop character. It's very well-balanced and very crisp.
Feel is light but with a very bright twinkle to it.
Overall, this is superbly drinkable, crisp and very, very refreshing. A well-balanced but flavoursome lager like this is one of the most underrated styles—and I've certainly not had as good a rice lager as this one. From memory, the version on-tap was even better, but this one—even though it's probably a little old—is still one of the most refreshing beers brewed in Australia. Cracking stuff.
43 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne by Sam and given to me for Christmas.
Pours a dirty yellow colour, quite hazed, with a very light body. Head crackles with large wispy bubbles, but burns out quickly, leaving only a very fine edging to the glass. Some fine carbonation. Overall, it looks a bit flat and a bit unappealing.
Nose is dusty and slightly woody with Sorachi hops. Underneath is a rather dank malt character, probably some of the rice coming through in a sticky flat mess. Aroma is certainly muted overall, but the characters that are there are not what I expected anyway.
Taste is similar, although here the Sorachi provides a buttery sweetness which rounds out a lot of the weird edges at least. Rice on the finish leaves it quite dry, but with a sticky sweetness as well. It needs something a bit sharper to make it crisp: as it is, it feels a little cloying and difficult to drink.
Overall, I'm not a fan. I've quite enjoyed some craft rice lagers recently; 2 Brothers Kung Foo is a case in point. But this relies on buttery Sorachi to do anything for it, and it just sort of melts into the overall messiness. Not for me.
43 / 100
On-tap at Kumo Izakaya in Melbourne during Good Beer Week 2013 for their beer and sake evening. Most of the beers and sake were provided by Herkimer, but this was our opening beer on arrival.
Pours an orange-tinged golden colour, very clear and very light in the body. Head is white and foamy, and looking absolutely stylistically appropriate, with a little bit of flair. Carbonation is very fine. I mean, it looks extremely good for what it is.
Nose is faint and clear. Some rice, but mostly just clean and dull. Again, for what it is, I'll give it a little credit, but it's far from being an exciting brew.
Light, dry and bright entry on the palate leading to a pretty dull, empty mid-palate. A little sweet, a little adjuncty. Very dry finish. Pleasant enough, with some lingering rice cloy.
Yeah, it's a rice lager. It's not a bad rice lager, but that's a pretty low bar. Still, I think I enjoyed this more than others like Sapporo, Kirin or Asahi. It was just clean throughout its length and dry and crisp on the finish. That's worth something.
10 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
Pours a pale golden colour, clear and still. Head was white and existed at one stage, now it's disappeared. Looks rubbish, frankly.
Smells sweet and adjuncty. Yum. Lots of corn and honey and rice, with some blandness and shitness thrown in. Not much to enjoy, not even much to look for. Pretty poor.
Taste is also pretty poor. Bland on the front but also sickly sweet with lots of honey and white sugar/sucrose added. Corn, grain, pearl barley - yeah I guess it tastes rather like livestock feed. Very little to appreciate here, in fact very little not to make me go on a murderous rampage through a crowded shopping mall. Take note, breweries: brew better beer. It could save lives.
Decently full body, bit of carbonation at the end. It's what I'd expect stylistically, therefore it's alright.
Bland, overly sweet. Bad beer. Bad, bad beer. Naughty.
Served to me blind by @LaitueGonflable, who purchased it recently in Hong Kong.
Pours a very clear and really disappointingly light-bodied yellow colour, with only a touch of white foam around the edges of the glass. No lace, not body, and a pitiful single stream of carbonation from one nucleation point in the glass. Looks like macro shite.
Nose is pounded with ricey adjuncts, leaving wet grain nothingness. To be fair, there's a touch of greenness to the brew, giving a lift above the abysmal, perhaps a touch of hops that really wants to break through. But really, this is a beer of nothingnessâit smells like a mildly more potent Asahi or something. Rice, way too much rice.
Taste is clean and clear, but that's about as good as it gets. Again, there's husky rice characters giving a mild sweetness and a very blatant emptiness, and just the touch of hops to bring it into the realms of "is-it-ok-I-don't-know!", but it's really weak and disappointing, really. It's light and drinkable enough, but really, it's not very good at all.
Really? What is this? My only opinion is that it's a very generic pale brew brewed to be quaffable and devoid of flavour by someone who knew what they were doing. It's not unpleasant, it's not offensive, it's not undrinkable: it's just goddamn boring as shit.
38 / 100
Pours a pale yellow gold, nice lucky colour, with very thin white head that dissipates to leave a few bubbles lying around the top like strung-out opium addicts. Light carbonation, looks pretty ordinary really, although "appropriate" for the style.
Nose is fairly pungent, with a strong rice aroma precluding any other grain or malt, slight piney hop, but smells very par for the style. Simply, inoffensive and bland.
Taste is certainly not a powerful one; has elements of sweet rice, grass and a very light phenolic character. Not a particularly long palate. Maintains a steady influx of mild Asian bitterness on the mid, then sinks a bit on the back, leaving a very inoffensive yeasty hang, with a slightly sharp and unpleasant mouthfeel, quite acidic on the tongue without the joy of a properly constructed acidic flavour.
Apart from that, it's what you expect from an Asian beer. Minimal potency, light and subdued flavour, smooth drinkability without any party-animal excitement. A bland, stoic beer for the masses.
Pours a cola colour with very small bead up the middle. Very little head, little bit of lacing. Not special, unless you mean it in the sense of 'special needs'.
Has a roasted aroma with a slight smoked meat character. But not enough to make this delicious. Cos it ain't. It's not interesting.
Sour, weak coffee flavour to most of the palate. A bit of a cocoa-y finish but arrives early, because the palate is short. Mouthfeel is not great, very thin for a dark.
There's not really much to that, a simple, slightly sour palate and disappointment in a glass otherwise. Or at least it would be if I expected anything from it.
Amber clear body, quite dark - it looks the same hue and consistency as bourbon and coke. Fine bubbled head of light almost-white foam. OK.
Thin ricey aroma, a little dark malt, but not a lot. Mostly, the aroma is seltzer water. Quite similar to their light beer, all said and done.
Very light on the palate with a frothy mouthfeel. Not a lot of flavour, but there's a pleasant dark bitterness on the back. Too fizzy though; it feels bloating.
Is there such a thing as a dark Japanese Rice Lager? Probably, but all the examples I've seen have been thin, sweet interpretations of a pale lager. This is certainly a thin, and lifeless interpretation of a dark lager. Not a great beer, but at least it's not undrinkable.
49 / 100
This stuff is available just about anywhere in Myanmar, and I don't just mean restaurants and bars, but on the side of the street, in the temples... you could probably even get them to brink you one if you were lying in hospital, so ubiquitious is this green-and-red-labelled beverage.
It's served mostly in large 640ml bottles, which proudly shows off the medals it has won at awards (which I note bemusedly includes the Australian International Beer Awards).
I tried it first at a roadside food outlet in Yangon, but it was pressed upon me many other times during our two week trip as well...
It pours with a golden yellow body, with almost no head. No lacing, some large-bubbled carbonation.
Nose is slightly sweet, with a little bit of fragrance, but not much. It's a pretty bland smelling beer.
Taste is pretty smooth. A little sweetness first, but balanced surprisingly well with some refreshing bitterness. Reasonably full-bodied, not as weak as many an Asian lager. After a few sips, it feels like it's coated your mouth.
Pretty good for a dry lager. Enough character to keep you interested, but smooth enough to gulp down and ward off the humid Burmese nights.
As an aside, Burmese beer in general is significantly better than Thai or Cambodian beer, but what with international sanctions, it's unlikely to be discovered outside its borders. Myanmar Beer is not the best the country has to offer (I would recommend Mandalay Beer a hundred times over this), but it's good to be able to find a reasonable beer like this wherever you go.
Huge carbonation - looks so much like a soft drink it isn't funny. Hopefully it don't taste like it looks. Reminds me of that godawful Monteith's Summer Ale. Beer colour. No head.
Smells very lagery. Standard bitter nose.
Man, it tastes so lagery. Standard and bitter. Chilled and drinkable. Boring and beering. Cheese and whiskers.
Golden amber colour. Fizzy white head which blows itself out to a thin layer of bubbles on the top. Not a particularly appealing looking beer.
Smells very bland. A sweet grainy smell dominates with a little yeast. It's not bad, but it's definitely nothing exciting.
Tastes like just another lager. It's got a fair bitterness to it, but not enough to recommend it. Mouthfeel is thin and fizzy. Finish is very dry and ultimately the beer is quite refreshing. For a simple to drink beer, you could do worse, but it's quite bland really.
4 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
Pale yellow body, not much head, just a film of loose bubbles on the top. Not particularly inspiring.
Nose is a sickly sweet grainy smell, with a hint of something slightly rancid. It smells a bit like a rubbish bin that's been left in the sun. This is a really disgusting smelling beer.
The taste is again, very sweet and cloying. Leaves a rather unpleasant sugary taste in your mouth. There's no bitterness there to create some sharpness; it makes you feel sick in your stomach. Mouthfeel is watery. Truly awful.
This is an atrocious beer. I mean really, really awful. One of the worst beers I've ever tasted. Offensive and undrinkable. I cannot recommend enough that you stay away from this shit.