Grand Kirin

Grand Kirin
Grand Kirin
Brewery: Kirin
Abv: 6.0%

Japan is a country that embraces canned beer - the majority of beer in the high street, and even in specialist beer shops, is sold in cans.

As a traveler, this is a Good Thing, because even though I'm a beer lover, I don't always travel with a bottle opener and there are few more depressing sights than an interesting-looking beer bottle in front of you with no way to get into it!

Occasionally, however, you come across a bottle like this one - instead of a standard cap, it has a much larger neck and a top that pulls off like a ring pull.

This is Grand Kirin, a 'specialty premium' 6% beer. Visually, aside from the nice bottle there is little to distinguish it from a standard Kirin - bright, golden with a big but fleeting head.

The aroma is certainly heavy on the malt with a distinctly grainy character and a nice earthy hop tone.

In the mouth, there's a sweet malt start quickly balanced with a sharp edge from the alcohol - if anything it tastes stronger than the declared 6%. Let it sit on the tongue for a little while and the hops begin to come through - earthy, slightly grassy and with a very distinct sticky oiliness.

It's nice to find a 'special edition' that isn't just the same old thing in a different bottle, even if I'm not particularly blown away by the result. 2.5 stars, but kudos to Kirin for being different.

This review was originally published 20th November, 2013. It was last updated 1st June, 2023.