I’ve reviewed a Kirin Ichiban before, but it wasn’t the same as this Kirin Ichiban, which leads me to believe that either last time it was a for export or strange international bottle, or they’ve changed their brew. (Or indeed, as I hope but doubt, "Ichiban First Press" isn’t the same as "Ichiban.")
Never mind, let’s just say this one is completely different. The label is different. The alcohol content is different. And as it turns out, the flavour is different. That’s enough for me.
Anyway, the bottle is plain brown glass (330ml, 5%ABV) with a reasonably plain (but sharp) label, with the ever present Kirin horse dragon thing.
Pours a clean pale yellow. Nice thick bright white head, leaving a good lace.
Interesting aroma, quite a nice malty scent.
Flavour is very strange. Slightly sour. A hint of apple. A bit of hoppy bitterness. Maybe not quite enough maltiness to counter the sourness.
Mouthfeel starts crisp and refreshing, probably from the slight sourness, but leaves you with a really dry aftertaste — indeed, a hint of cotton mouth.
What the hell?
Now – once again – don’t drink this one too cold, if you do you’ll only get the sour notes, you have to let it warm a bit before you’ll start to get the malt notes start to come through, if your fridge is too cold this beer will be pretty bad.
Frankly, my advice, don’t bother with this one, especially if you’re not a beer fan already, it’s a bit challenging, you see.
Indeed, I’d probably suggest that unless you’re in a Japanese restaurant, and sick of Sapporo, you probably don’t need to bother with this one at all.