Kirin Ichiban Review: An Unexpected Summer Malt

Ichiban means ‘number one’ according to the official site of Kirin, and since 1990, this Japanese malt has made a name for itself around the world. Made with European noble hops and promising a smooth bitter-free aftertaste, I was excited to sit down and relax with my first Japanese beer.

While critics have been harsh on Kirin Ichiban, it surprised me as a clean and refreshing craft beer that I could easily find myself enjoying again.

Everything On Tap Review: Kirin Ichiban:

Bottle: The bottle is a dark brown, as with most delicious malts, to preserve freshness and ultimately, taste. The label is standard size and has a hint of Japanese culture as it features the Kirin, a half dragon, half deer creature from Japanese mythology. This creature would not step on living plants, nor would it eat living things, making it a symbol of the quality that Kirin promises.

Pour: The pour leaves a small head of foam that dissipates quickly to reveal a pale color beneath. There is little to no foam lacing left over.

 Aroma: The aroma is a pleasant and mild malt scent. Not too strong, but not subdued by any means, it promotes the feelings of relaxation that comes with cracking open an ice cold craft beer.

Flavor: As I suspected from the aroma, the attack was an clean malt that immediately fills your mouth with a pleasant taste that doesn’t stick around for too long. The promise of no bitter aftertaste holds true and before you know it, you’re lifting the bottle to enjoy each subsequent sip.

Mouthfeel: It has a clean and dry finish and doesn’t linger. You aren’t overwhelmed by unnecessary flavors and it is a malt that lives up to its name.

Structure: The initial flavor is a mild malt but where this craft beer shines is when it has sat in your mouth for a moment. The full flavor bursts out just before swallowing to give each sip its own full-bodied texture and flavor. It doesn’t dissipate too quickly, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Food Pairing: I suggest this craft beer for any summer cookout. This is an ideal time to buy Kirin: Ichiban given that warmer days are ahead. It doesn’t fill you up and that perfect range of taste and texture won’t interfere with a meal, regardless of the flavors brought on by food.

Overall Rating Out of 5 Possible Beer Mugs:

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