It was fascinating to watch Japan’s major breweries stumble over themselves as they tried to replicate craft beer — but the amusement is starting to wear off. Now, consumers are left with a lot of big-company brews on convenience-store shelves that are mediocre at best. Kirin has been particularly keen to tap into this market, with its Grand Kirin series, but these beers are some of the worst craft beer options on the convenience-store shelf. The new Izayoi no Tsuki Kiwi IPA (¥255) is a step up from the burned flavor of the previous variety, Galaxy Hop IPA, but ultimately tastes like a standard Kirin beer with an aftertaste of warm grape juice. Convenience and affordability are great, but this drink is a reminder that sometimes it’s worth going out of your way (and out of pocket) to seek the good stuff.
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