Tuesday, 15 December 2009

New Asahi beer in Korea. Style Free and taste free

Being in Korea, for a drinker like me, means a limited choice of decent beers. There are convenience stores seemingly on every street corner but they are littered with a poor selection of Budweiser, Miller and Korean beer which is, FACT, the worst quality of beer in the world. Big chain convenience store will have Heineken, maybe Hoegaarden and usually Asahi and from time to time different lagers or even Guiness. It's the supermarkets, particularly the bigger ones where you find a decent selection.

I have to say the selection is light years ahead of what it like just four years ago, so I am thankful. Browsing the local Lotte Supermarket I found this beer over the weekend - Asahi Style Free. Here I point out that I prefer Sapporo infinitely more to Asahi but I haven't found Sapporo in Korea for nearly a year now, much to my great sadness. However, Asahi does produce a few quality beers.

Intruiged by the packaging and the name I bought a few to try. Sadly the name should be Taste Free. It is similar but not as bad as Korean beer, having many of the problems of Hite, Cass etc etc. Some research into the matter and I find out that it is sugar-free and seemingly not made from malt or hops. What demographic does this fall into? Who buys beer based on its sugar or lack of? It is also only 4%. No style and no substance. Despite this I am eternally hopeful of stumbling on more beers in Asia that I haven't sampled before. I wonder where my drinking will take me?


AO said...

I find these "happoshu" beers (fake beers) to be kind of fascinating. They're a bit like the beer version of American cheese: there's something real in there, but it's mixed in with all sorts of additives and extenders till it becomes a whole new type of beast.

How long did Style Free last, I wonder? I had the chance to try Asahi Clear in Japan, which despite the name is supposed to be one of the best-tasting happoshus (it really wasn't bad at all by Korean standards). Have never seen any of them back here, though.

What you might have seen lately in Korea is Asahi Premium or Asahi The Master: the first is quite good, more malt and hops than regular Asahi, and the second I haven't gotten my hands on, but it's supposed to be better than both of the first two. They're real beers, and they're supposed to represent the high end of the Asahi line (though they cost nearly the same as Super Dry).

Talking to myself said...

I quite liked the Asahi Premium but I never saw Asahi The Master in Korea. Keep on enjoying your beer!

AO said...

I've seen it only once, at a Mini Stop near Songjeong Station (went back two days later and it was gone). That was about two weeks ago, and I've seen little promotional tags for it at a couple places since, so it might be coming back. Definitely try it if you stumble upon it.

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