When you think about Japanese beer, famous brands like Yebisu or Asahi Super Dry might be the first to come to mind, but if you delve a little further you’ll find there’s a whole world of exciting brews just waiting to be tasted.
One of those brews is the Adult Choco Mint, a surprising new release from beer giant Sapporo.
The colorful dotted can and the minty combination inside it is a departure from the norm for Sapporo, and it’s all due to their Hoppin’ Garage project, started in 2018.
Hoppin’ Garage, which comes with the tagline “Brew Your Idea“, is all about expanding concepts for new happoshu (low-malt beers) by collecting ideas from the public, which may then be commercialised in small batches based on reviews and marketability.
Some of the ideas commercialised in the past include Wamusubi (Japanese Knot), which symbolizes the ties that bind people around Japan, and is also used to signify good luck for celebratory events. The white part of the design is a rice ball, as the person who submitted this idea loves onigiri, and is also known as “The Man Who Ate 1,000 Rice Balls in 1,000 Days”.
▼ Wamusubi uses rice from Akita Prefecture and has a genmaicha (roasted brown rice green tea) aroma, making it the perfect partner for rice balls.
There’s also the Board Game Beer, a white IPA-style brew thought up by the owner of board game cafe Jelly Jelly Cafe. The vibrant aroma of citrus hops helps to create “a beer that makes board games more exciting."
And the Tadaima! Bitter, with tadaima being the expression used when people return home after being out, much like the phrase “I’m home!” is used in the West. This bitter brew has a barley-tea like taste, which conjures up the image of someone who comes home and says tadaima before going to the fridge to pour a glass of cold oolong-cha (barley tea) into a glass.
The idea for the Adult Choco Mint came from Arisa Koga, a “beer talent” who holds the highest certification in the Nihon Beer Kentei (Japan Beer Examination). Koga uses her expertise to review beers and give advice on pairings through videos on her social media channels.
Koga’s idea sprang from her desire to enjoy a good beer after a meal. The result is a sweet yet refreshing tipple and Koga says you can even add a dollop of ice cream on top to create “an adult float”.
All the beers above, except the Adult Choco Mint, are currently available to purchase from Amazon Japan, where they’re sold in 12-can boxes for 4,378 yen.
The Adult Choco Mint, sold at the same price point, can currently be pre-ordered from Amazon with delivery scheduled for Feb 2. Individual cans of Adult Choco Mint will also be sold at the Ginza Lion Shimbashi Training Centre from Feb 2 while stocks last, although the center just announced they’ll be closed until Feb 8 due to the state of emergency.
Only 1,600 cases of this variety will be produced, so if you’d like to get a taste of it, be sure to pre-order online, and keep an eye out for the Sapporo beer with the English spelling mistake on the label, which is due to be released on Feb 2 as well.
Ginza Lion Shimbashi Training Center Store / 銀座ライオン新橋トレーニングセンター店
Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Shimbashi 1-15-5 Plaza 115 1F
東京都港区新橋1－15－5 ペルサ115 1F
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m. (closed until Feb 8 due to state of emergency)
Sources: PR Times, Hoppin’ Garage
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