Name of beer
What the brewer says
“First press is a process by which beer is made, from a single first pressing of the finest ingredients, giving you the sweetest, most flavoursome beer every time. Only Kirin Ichiban is made with such uncompromising standards, for a purer, superior taste."
It feels a bit cheeky. A beer on a Monday. But why not?
I've had a bottle of Kirin Ichiban waiting to be drank for a week or two and I've been "ichi'n" to give it a try.
This is a beer I've not had in around three years, since I visited Japan and fell in love with Tokyo.
Just along the road from our hotel was a bar, the word "Kirin" lit up in the windows. I didn't know who or what Kirin was at that point.
It could have been the name of the owner of the establishment, the Japanese word for "topless bar", a chain pub brand or, as it turned out, a popular beer brand.
Thankfully, we went in and I remember really enjoying the beer - even if it was closer to a lager than I would normally choose.
As if often the case when you have a memory like that, the excitement was mixed with a little trepidation as I took the cap off the bottle tonight and poured myself a taste.
As it left the bottle a very pale colour, that grew and I started to think "please don't just be a lager". Had I just remembered it more fondly because of the surroundings?
Ichiban means "first press", as in first press of the ingredients, which is, apparently what gives it its sweet taste. That flavour is what makes this more than a bland lager and gives it a more cultured taste that I would associate more with a beer.
To use that word, it tastes "crafted", like it's had some thought put into it.
At 4.6%, it's not a bad strength for a Monday night tipple. Or for any night of the week, in fact.
Ok, so it's brewed in Bedford. That feels a little disappointing, but certainly this isn't reflected in the taste. It's a little flavour of Japan back home.
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I’m 42, I don’t have a beard (partly because when I try it is patchy, has gaps, with ginger and grey bits) and don’t take a clipboard to the pub. So, I’m not the stereotypical real ale fan of old, in the style that I was always told to look out for...read more