Food & Drink | KONBINI WATCH

Only one of Suntory's two craft beer offerings manages to capture that small brewer vibe

by Patrick St. Michel

Special To The Japan Times

Suntory’s new Craft Select series isn’t craft beer. It’s not from a charming neighborhood brewery, but a beverage conglomerate that bought up Jim Beam.

These limited-run drinks are exercises in branding, but if you’re buying beer from a convenience store then you’ve already settled for a noncraft experience — which is significantly less expensive (¥257 for the regular size, ¥333 for a tall boy). More impressively, the pale ale offers a pleasantly bitter aftertaste pushing it far ahead of the run-of-the-mill brews clogging the shops.

The brown ale isn’t as impressive, tasting somewhat flat compared to Suntory’s flagship cans. These are affordable little upgrades over the usual convenience store fare. Still, the pale ale comes close to replicating the craft experience that people can pay three times as much for.

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