Japan Today
Image: SoraNews24
food

Is Japan’s new Asahi Super Dry beer better or worse than the original formula?

34 Comments

In Japan, the most popular brand of beer is Asahi Super Dry, so it was big news when the company decided to change its recipe for the first time ever last year.

We like to keep our stocks of the beer in good supply, so we’d never gotten around to trying the new version until this week, when we were just about to open our final cans containing the original formula. In order to fully savor and appreciate this special no-longer-available beer, we decided to compare it to the new version that’s now on the market, and just by looking at the cans themselves we could tell they were totally different.

▼ New version (left), original version (right)

Screen-Shot-2023-09-19-at-8.11.57.png

There didn’t seem to be any major difference in terms of calories and alcohol content — the only difference was a warning on the old version (marked in red, below) that read: “A dry draft beer with a smooth and sharp taste.”

Screen-Shot-2023-09-19-at-8.12.10.png

Asahi Super Dry has been satisfying the country’s thirst for beer with this smooth and sharp taste since it was first released in 1987, so it seemed crazy to mess with a good thing. Our reporter K Masami was particularly dubious about the new beer, so she took charge of the tasting duties, pouring each one into a glass for a visual check.

Screen-Shot-2023-09-19-at-8.12.18.png

Although the new beer looks slightly darker in the photo above, in reality the hues looked the same. With no major difference in terms of hue, it was now time to check the taste.

Starting with the new formula, Masami took a sip and was surprised to find that it tasted like the same Asahi Super Dry she’s been drinking for years. It was refreshing, with a gentle bitterness and light texture that made it incredibly easy to drink.

Screen-Shot-2023-09-19-at-8.12.27.png

Next, she took a sip of the original beer, and that’s when the difference in flavor came to the fore. This beer tasted entirely different, with a more rounded flavor and a much stronger bitterness. She’d never noticed the beer’s bitter quirk or how dry the formula was until now, when comparing it to the new formula, which seemed much lighter and easier to drink by comparison.

Screen-Shot-2023-09-19-at-8.12.34.png

Even if you take into account that the old beer has been out of production for a while, the difference was obvious. Masami had always thought that the Super Dry’s selling point was its ease of drinking, but as it turns out it did have a sharp bitterness that may have been too strong for first-timers.

For the record, Masami’s personal preference is for the original, which had a more robust flavour, but she can see the appeal of the fresh new formula, which is markedly more accommodating for people who aren’t used to drinking beer.

In that sense, the new formula lines up with Asahi’s promotional spiel for it, which stated that it “improves the drinking experience”. We’re curious to find out whether it’ll last for decades like the original version, because with Asahi now releasing a new low-alcohol spinoff, it looks like the company is focussing on the future rather than the past.

Photos ©SoraNews24

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japan’s favorite beer, Asahi Super Dry, to get new low-alcohol spinoff

-- Keanu Reeves teams up with Suntory for new series exploring Japanese whisky and monozukuri【Video】

-- Asahi Brewery asks: Why not mix beer and Calpis? So we do…

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

34 Comments
Login to comment

Masami had always thought that the Super Dry’s selling point was its ease of drinking, but as it turns out it did have a sharp bitterness that may have been too strong for first-timers.

Verdict: Asahi succeeded in making a tasteless beer even more tasteless.

Should call it Superer Dry.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I prefer the older version, but to each his own.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Is Japan’s new Asahi Super Dry beer better or worse than the original formula?

It depends who's drinking it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Not for me.

Water, BARLEY malt, Corn starch, Maize, Hops, Rice.

I prefer 100% wheat beer.

Kirin Ichiban uses 100% malted barley for its grain bill.

I always read the labels.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Not for me.

Water, BARLEY malt, Corn starch, Maize, Hops, Rice.

I prefer 100% wheat beer.

Kirin Ichiban uses 100% malted barley for its grain bill. 

I always read the labels.

You tell 'em!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Only four ingredients are needed to make the best beer.

Barley, water, hops and yeast.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

If there is any change in taste at all it will be minimally toward the same, generic taste that all the big beers are homing in on. It would have been easier to just change the design of the can or bottle. It usually works.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I prefer 100% wheat beer.

Any recommends?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I know my wife gets confused too about the term. 小麥 in the context of brewing beer means barely. Kirin Ichiban Shibori is 100% barley as is Yebisu.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

They both taste great.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Hawk

   I prefer 100% wheat beer.

> Any recommends?

Different beers different stores but they are easy to find.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I prefer the one that the boss is buying the team.

It just tastes that little bit fresher when it's free.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Can't be any worse!

Sapporo is the best!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Sanjn

Sapporo does taste a bit better doesn’t it. Heading to Sapporo next week, may have some bevvies, lol

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Different beers different stores but they are easy to find.

Thanks, but which are your favourites? I'm partial to wheat beers myself. I'm not sure if they're 100%, but I like Echigo White Ale and, while I'm not sure you'd like it because of its Belgian style, Hitachino Nest. My local Yamaya has them on the 3 for 1000¥ shelf. Next to the Brewdogs!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If they are available and good prices I will buy craft beers.

No Echigo White Ale in my location but I would be good with that and the price is good.

For the commercial beers

Suntory The Premium Malt’s

Sapporo Yebisu Beer

There are also seasonal beers to watch out for.

Can't drink beer this year until I reduce my blood suger levels.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Asahi Dry - Tacky taste! Sapporo and Kirin rock!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I don't really know why, but I never liked Asahi Super Dry, maybe because I like bitter beers? From the same category (and price), I prefer Kirin Ichiban Shibori.

Agree with Wallace on Premium Malts and Yebisu, I personally sligthly prefer Yebisu. And they have some nice varieties, the blue Yebisu (pale ale) is my favorite.

A bit more expensive, Spring Valley is also a good choice, especially the white one (they call it "silk ale"). And a recent one, unfortunately a bit on the expensive side, Suntory's Master's Dream is a great, deep-flavor lager that reminds me of my beloved Pilsner Urquell.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Answer to the question in the title: who cares? Undrinkable.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Sapporo Classic is a nice beer. I can get it around my manor when out and about with the missus.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

From the same category (and price), I prefer Kirin Ichiban Shibori.

That's my favourite of the 198s as I call them, due to their price. I haven't adjusted the name for inflation. And I completely agree with the rest of your post as well.

I also like the Suntory Craft range, especially the pale ale. Good value for money.

Asahi Super Dry has always been my least favourite beer.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Not a fan of Asahi Super Dry. Its beastly and processed stuff that doesn’t provide good nutrition you see.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

On the other hand, it’s better than no beer. :-)

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Its beastly and processed stuff that doesn’t provide good nutrition you see.

Indeed. Ghastly yucky-wucky stuff that is processed beyond recognition. Oh help. I'd rather drink New-key brawn me-self man leek. It's what geordeis gawn doon the toon drank pet why eye. Might get myself a few bevies of it this weekend. Hee hee I'm such a cad you see

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It is the number one selling beer.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

When it came out, Asahi Dry was dry. It's now Budweisered into oblivion. I cannot understand why it sells. I agree with many of the posters here. Sapporo Classic, Ebisu, Kirin are decent beers. Sapporo Sorachi is a nice hoppy beer. Even Orion is much better than anything Asahi can come up with. Kirin's Aki Aji is very nice too.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Here in the UK all Japanese beers are brewed here so I'm not sure they taste the same as original Japanese ones. My preference is Sapporo, followed by Kirin Ichiban and lastly Asahi which to me reminds me of weak tasteless American beers like Budweiser and Coors.

Next time I'm on holiday in Japan I will try some craft beers especially as they aren't available in UK.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I never liked the old formula. I always found it too "dry". I drank it recently, and enjoyed it. I found it smoother, more like Kirin Ichiban, which is my usual. I assumed it was my tastes' changing. But, now I know why it tasted different. It was actually different.

I also recently had Asahi's draft in a can. The entire top pops off, and you drink it right out of the can, like it was a glass of beer. They have a snap-on handle you can use to turn it into a mug. I found it to be a good summer beer. Icy cold, crisp, and refreshing. So, I'm pretty sure you Brits and Brit-adjacents will hate it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

timeon

I don't really know why, but I never liked Asahi Super Dry, maybe because I like bitter beers? From the same category (and price), I prefer Kirin Ichiban Shibori.

But, Kirin Ichiban isn't bitter at all.

Agree with Wallace on Premium Malts and Yebisu, I personally sligthly prefer Yebisu. And they have some nice varieties, the blue Yebisu (pale ale) is my favorite.

Now those two I understand. Although, I find them more sour than bitter, which is why I don't really like them. (I'm not really a beer nerd. So, maybe sour and bitter are the same thing in beer world?)

A bit more expensive, Spring Valley is also a good choice, especially the white one (they call it "silk ale").

I found Spring Valley to be quite smooth, not bitter at all. I quite enjoyed it. I haven't seen it in a while, though. Is it seasonal? (Like literally a Springtime beer?)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I see that most commenters here don't care for Asahi. But, if you just like to see the beer making process, and you live near an Asahi factory, you can take a factory tour. I don't know if all their factories have tours. But, the one in Suita (Osaka pref.) does. My niece was a tour guide there for a while.

At the end of the tour, you get a nice tasting of a few of their beers, and some snacks. It's an interesting way to spend an hour in the afternoon. Plus, free beer and snacks.

It's right next to the JR Suita station. So, you don't even have to drive. (That means more beer.)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites