I’m happy that the major Japanese breweries are taking a hint from the ever-growing craft beer scene, and try to add styles other than the usual lager to their lineups. Asahi rolled out a pale ale that’s definitely not terrible, and Kirin announced that they’d buy Yo-Ho, the craft brewery behind the Yona Yona ale among others.
Understandably, when I saw a Suntory labeled pale ale at the nearby convenience store, I couldn’t resist picking up a can. Last words first: I shouldn’t have.
With a vivid gold body and a big white head it looks more like a lager than an ale. The head is solid, lasts long and is rather bubbly than ale-smooth. There’s light lacing.
The nose once again is closer to a lager than a pale ale. There’s definitely an ale-ish hop tint to it, but it’s dominated by the grain aroma.
That applies to the mouthfeel too. Its carbonation is surprisingly strong, and the taste light. The bitters are on the edge of sour, and in general the hops are very subdued.
My impression is that Suntory’s “pale ale” is rather 99% lager 1% pale ale. Too bad.