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Things I Dig… Sapporo

March 8, 2009

In the vein of Nick Hornby’s 2003 novel Song Book, I wanted to write the occasional blog posts about things that I’m into, beit bands, television shows, appliances, kitchen tools and gadgets or in today’s case, an amazing beer. What follows is an albeit short explanation beyond my love for a certain Japanese pale lager.beercanbottle

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not a big drinker. To append the previous disclaimer, I’m not someone who drinks a ton often. I’m not the guy who’s going to wake up on a Sunday morning in a bathtub in an XS Emerson, Lake and Palmer t-shirt with crude doodlings of various intimate body parts scribbled across his epidermis. That being said, I do enjoy a good beer (or in the case of Miller High Life, a good, cheap beer.) 

Japan’s cultural contributions to live in the States is typically limited to Hello Kitty, Ichiro Suzuki, well-made quality automobiles, sushi, Haribo Gummy Bears and beautiful-looking televisions. People don’t often associate The Land of the Rising Sun with quality brew. Those people haven’t tried Sapporo Premium or its maltier sister Sapporo Reserve.

Available in every grocery store, including Wal-Mart, most people look past Sapporo thinking that while the Japanese do a number of things well (hit streaks, make cars that run forever, etc.), crafting quality isn’t usually considered one of them. They’re nuts. Think the Original King of Beers only with much more body, and a bolder, crisper, smoother taste. 

I hadn’t tried this beer, touting itself as Japan’s Oldest Beer (a fact somewhat confirmed by Sapporo’s WikiPedia page, which claims that Seibei Nakagawa, a German-trained brewer, produced the first Sapporo Lager in June 1876 as the first brewmaster of the Kaitakushi Brewery) until this year. Having become somehwhat bored with the chilled selection of beers in the cooler of my local Publix, I opted to take a chance on the Japanese beer with the same cultural reticence of those who’ve yet to try the lager no doubt harbor. What I found was a beer that was full of body, smooth and lacked the bite and nasty aftertaste that I’d foolishly expected going in.  Sapporo is available for the cost of most imported or micro-brewed domestic 6-packs. I paid $8.99 for a sixer at Publix on Saturday.

Sapporo Premium is somewhere in the top 5 of my favorite beers of all times and I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t tried Sapporo to trying turning Japanense. Feel free to applaud my reference to late 70’s New Wave legends, The Vapors.

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