Asahi Breweries began life as the Osaka Beer Company back in 1889, around the same time as fellow brewers Sapporo Brewery and Japan Brewery, fuelling the development and growth of Japan’s beer industry. In 1958 they launched what became Japan’s first self-produced canned beer – Asahi Gold, and by 1971 they had moved to aluminium as the canning material – another first in Japan at the time. Also in the early 1970s, they established the Mitsuya vending machine company, and as any of you will know if you’ve visited Japan, these gaudy boxes are seemingly everywhere in the country, enabling anyone to buy a beer or snack from a street corner or alleyway at any time of the day. Glorious, but also slightly sinister in my opinion.
Asahi Group Holdings have been aggressively snapping up breweries from both the Asian continent and Europe, with Holland’s Grolsch Brewery, Greenwich-based Meantime Brewing, Australia’s Mountain Goat Brewery and Italy’s Peroni Brewery all now in the company’s malty hands. They also own fair chunks of other breweries, such as Carlton & United Breweries, and no doubt have their eyes on other beery opportunities.
Asahi Super Dry is the brewery’s most popular beer, and was a huge proponent of Japan’s ‘dry wars’ during the 1980s. The crisp, dry, highly attenuated lagers that Japan is now famous for can be traced back to this beer, and it’s responsible for much of the company’s good fortunes in the last 40 years. Asahi Super Dry 0.0% is of course the brewery’s non-alcoholic version of their flagship product. It’s been around in various forms since the 2010s, but this version we’re reviewing is a European soft relaunch of the brew from March 2023, just in time for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, for which Super Dry is the official beer. We’ve reviewed a couple of Japanese-style nolos – Mash Gang’s Stoop Extra Dry and Impossibrew’s Lager. Both high scorers, but both hailing from the UK instead of Japan. However, Asahi Super Dry 0.0 seems to be have brewed at Peroni in Italy, probably for logistical reasons. Let’s give this latest alcohol-free version of a famous beer a try – kanpai!
The beer pours a light golden colour with good clarity and lots of visible bubbles. A sliver of white froth is produced, which translates to a fair amount of lacing as we drink. The nose is peppery and herby, with a honey sweetness and whiffs of corn. It’s reminding me of Peroni Nastro Azzurro, with maybe a hint more hop, which as it’s probably been produced in the same brewing facilities is not a surprise.
We get a nice kick of bitterness when we taste, with herbal hops and peppery spice giving a good start to the drink. It’s definitely following the dry Japanese style. There’s underlying lager malt giving a biscuity background, and a hint of citrus in there, but the flavour drops off after a few mouthfuls, with nothing really to back it up. The body is ok, mainly propped up by the carbonation, and the mouthfeel is fine, although looking at the beer’s ingredients I can’t help but think this is helped by the corn starch. I’ve never seen that ingredient in a beer before. We get a predictably dry finish to the drink.
Asahi Super Dry 0.0 easily stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the other macro nolo lagers, and I suspect it will be a familiar face in supermarkets, pubs and restaurants within the coming months. But I do think the beer could still use a bit of work in the quality department, especially with the high standards of non-alcoholic beers coming out of the micro brewery and craft scene.
Buy Asahi Super Dry 0.0
Asahi’s beers are widely available in bars and supermarkets throughout the UK. I bought my pack of Super Dry 0.0 from Waitrose, and I expect it to make an appearance in other stores soon, if not already. It’s also available online:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)|
|Water, Barley Malt, Corn Grits, Hops, Corn Starch, Natural Flavourings|
|Country of Production||Italy|
|Brewer||Asahi UK – https://www.asahisuperdry.com/en-gb/home/|
Asahi Super Dry 0.0 Review
Good initial aroma and taste then slowly tapers off into the background and gets lost. Will be a great nolo lager for having with food, or for quenching a thirst on a hot summer’s evening. But we already have so many of those…