I might’ve had amber ale before, I just don’t recall. More likely, I haven’t. Hokkaido in general has quite a unique scene for gourmet stuff, be that food or drinks, so I looked forward to this beer from the northern island.

Otaru Bakusyu Amber Ale

I don’t know what exactly defines an amber ale, but judging from the name, chances are it’s the color. In which case this definitely is not an amber ale, since it’s got a clear gold body I couldn’t spot a tone of red in it, and believe me I tried. It has a big, smooth and light head. There was no lacing as far as I could notice.

The nose is malty, with a lush earthy tone and a hint of banana fruitiness.

The label says it’s a smooth, malty ale. That much is definitely true. It’s got a thick body, with medium carb. The first (and then every other) impression was that it’s smooth. There is a forceful honey-caramel sweetness, and a full-bodied grainy bitterness. The light, fruity hops don’t get a role to play here the lead is the malt, and it goes all the way.

The aftertaste is mostly about the thick body’s presence, and the honey note stays to emphasize that. On the other hand, the lingering bitterness makes it thirst-quenching despite all it’s fullness.