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Beer Reviews

Taste-Testing The Asahi Super Dry's New Recipe for 2023

 

The Super Dry is Asahi’s proudest product, and for good reason. When it came to market in 1987, it represented a break from brewing tradition, and a new genre of beer that would resonate with the younger post-war generation (this was back when people born in the 1950s were considered young). 

After extensive market research and false leads, Asahi discovered that consumers had a craving for a high-alcohol, dry-finishing beer, in the same way that dry sake that often played a harmonious duet with sushi and sashimi. They created a new beer that combined flavour concepts of "kire" (crisp, briskness) and "koku" (body, richness), and created a distinctive beer that the Japanese market went ape over. 

While traditional beers tend to focus on rich heavy flavours that linger with a long finish, Asahi is designed to be delicious in its simplicity. The brand recently came up with the tagline “Quick Peak, Clean Finish” to describe the experience or tasting an Asahi. You take a sip and immediately experience a “quick peak” with a wave of crisp flavours. Then, quickly, the flavours of the beer subside to neutral with a very “clean finish.”

 

 

This was the Asahi Super Dry, a bet that literally saved the company from looming bankruptcy in the 1980s’. 

We have with us two cans of Asahi Super Dry. The sleeker, matte, more minimalist-designed packaging is the newly released Asahi Super Dry, made in accordance with the company’s new and improved recipe for 2023. This is supposed to amplify the unique sake-inspired crisp sensation of the original Super Dry.

The other can is the original Asahi Super Dry.

Let’s see if there’s a difference.

Asahi Super Dry (pre-2023), 5% ABV – Review

 

Colour: Yellow gold, light, fluffy layer of foam

Nose: Bright and noticeably dry. There's a clear presence of citrus paired with a honeyed sweetness. Behind that, an aroma of barley tea, a hint of malt, a touch of hops, and a gentle whiff of crisp yeasty sakes.

Palate: It starts with a mildly creamy texture, and you immediately get that hit of bright corn sweetness combined with a dash of honey and the subtle sweetness of pomelo. Throughout, there's this persistent zingy undertone of citrus peels and lemon juice. Not to forget, that distinct yeastiness that reminds me of dry sake.

Finish: Clean, medium length pretty straightforward. All you're left with is that simple barley note accompanied by a touch of dryness.

 

My Thoughts:

This beer is really easy to go down and there's a very satisfying refreshment to it. I get what they mean when they mention "Karakuchi" or that lightly prickly sensation that plays with your tongue. And just Asahi’s new tagline suggests, it does give you that "Quick peak and clean finish." If you're digging into some light Asian dishes like Japanese sashimi or even Vietnamese pho, this would be a spot-on companion.

Let’s see how the new recipe tastes.

Asahi Super Dry (post-2023), 5% ABV – Review

 

Colour: Yellow gold, a dense layer of foam that persists.

Nose: Bright and dry with clarity. There's a well-balanced citrus, but what stands out more are the more dominant barley notes. It's reminiscent of freshly steeped barley tea.

Palate: The texture feels slightly creamier, likely due to the denser foam. What's noteworthy is how it's more refreshing and its clarity in flavour. The barley notes are front and center, with hints of roasted barley, accompanied by a mild citrusy zing. The dryness comes forward at the beginning and dissipates rapidly.

Finish: It's short and gets to the point – showcasing basic yet pleasantly sweet barley undertones.

 

My Thoughts:

To be honest, there isn’t a world of difference between the two. The nose on this new version feels a bit more pronounced, especially with the barley. When it comes to taste, it seems that the peak comes a bit sooner, with a bit more dryness and less of that residual sweetness. It seems less sweet, slightly crisper and more refreshing. The finish comes quicker as well. Another thing I've noticed is that the foam layer on top lingers a bit longer, which probably aids in preserving its freshness.

Even if you're used to the classic Super Dry, the differences are very subtle here.

Overall Thoughts

🎶 It's like a light, breezy song that doesn’t overstay its welcome.

 

 

It's easy to see why this is so popular in Japan - in fact, it's Japan's number 1 beer. It has a lightness of being that is unmatched, which allows you to drink it at a cooler temperature and still taste the full range of what it offers (because it’s not complex to begin with) Its distinctive kick of karakuchi almost becomes a friendly greeting each time you drink it, as if to remind your palate “Hey, don’t forget you’re drinking Asahi Super Dry!”

I personally prefer beers that are a little more thick, but I can certainly see how the crisp and non-cloying quality allows you to drink more of it without beginning to find it too cloying. It’s like a light, breezy song that doesn’t overstay its welcome, providing light tunes without dominating your taste buds.

@CharsiuCharlie