Sunday, May 6, 2012

Abbey-Beer Produced by Saint-Omer

…and sold at Ogino supermarkets for a low price of 179 yen!

DSCF0002I’ve noticed a trend in my website page hits over the past month or so and it seems a big portion of page hits have been directed toward my zero alcohol-zero calorie beer drink and Asahi Dry Black reviews. So I figured I’d go out on a limb here and see if its really a trend or just a fluke with a third review.

I usually don’t shop at Ogino because I live closer to Max-Valu and prefer the lower prices of Max-Valu but that isn’t the point of this review really. I decided to walk through the liquor aisle to see if I could find another can of Mugitohop Kuro since I liked it a lot last time. I was a little bummed out because the Ogino I went to didn’t sell any but they did have the less than desirable Asahi Dry Black (no thanks). I was just about to leave the store empty-handed but I happened to come across a unique label and noticed it was a cheap beer. So I decided to snatch it up because not only was it a beer I had never tried, it was a “Belgian style beer” weighing in at 330ml (a tad smaller than usual) and a whopping 6.0% alcohol by volume compared to the usual 4-5.

Without hesitation and much to my wife’s disapproval, I grabbed a can of Abbey-Beer  trotted over to the register where I paid a satisfyingly low 179 yen. I also stopped by Max-Valu for a tall can of Mugitohop Kuro (158yen) as well because I wanted to clear the possible bad taste out of my mouth just in case I made a mistake with the Abbey-Beer.

So with my Mugitohop Kuro ready at hand, I poured a nice cold glass of Abbey-Beer. I put my nose over the open can and took a whiff and found it to be not as appalling as I was expecting. At 6% alcohol I was a bit worried the flavor of beer would have been overpowered by a cheap liquor taste or something. Well, I was wrong and was pleasantly surprised with a decent welcoming beer smell very different from what I’ve been accustomed to in Japanese beers. To say the least, it was a nice change of pace from the usual.

Before I get into the details of Abbey-Beer, I’d like to share some facts from the can before I begin. First of all this beer was made in and imported all the way from France by the Tominaga Trade company. The receipt didn’t list the beer as Abbey-Beer but rather the Tominaga Trade company which I found kind of amusing. Its main ingredients are hops and wheat buds. Not much more is on the can besides a short introduction to what Abbey-Beer is. Basically its an old recipe passed down from generations and all that nonsense to make a creamy, golden, sweet tasting drink. Your usual fluff to make it sound important. Maybe its true, but I couldn’t really find anything on it in a short 5 minute Google search because it really wasn’t worth my time. Smile with tongue out

The Abbey-Beer poured well and had a nice, rich, dark-yellow color to it. It also had a decent head for pouring and wasn’t overly obnoxious with foam like many Japanese beers I drink often.  Although that could just be me being a careful pourer. Whatever.

DSCF0003So how did it taste? Pretty good. It was a little sweet and I think that’s what Belgian beers are like. I really can’t remember well as its been a while since I’ve had one. All I can say is that for the price and taste, I’d buy another. What’s really funny about beers like Abbey-Beer is that they are imported beers YET they are cheaper than domestics. Max-Valu also has their own store brand ‘German’ brewed Barreal brand beer which is significantly cheaper at 158 yen a can and tastes decent as well. It really makes me scratch my head to how other better well know import beers like say Heineken, Becks, or even Samuel Adams are much more expensive than domestics. Oh well its just one of those wonky Japanese loop-holes or something I guess.

Finally back to the topic of Abbey-Beer, bottom line, is it’s not bad for its price and is surprisingly drinkable for a random no-name economy beer. I’m thoroughly pleased that I at least have some options at the supermarket outside of the 3 headed beast of Japan (Asahi, Kirin, and Sapporo) Sorry Suntory, Premium-Malts doesn’t seem to have that strong a foothold although I do enjoy drinking you.

-EditConfused smile

Shortly after publishing this post I decided to look up Saint-Omer and Beer and found that a beer style does exist for it. Abbey-Beer does seem very similar in appearance to other images of beer sharing the same name on Google images. Go figure. I still don’t think it’s a real main-stream brand. Meh, it’s still drinkable.


  1. I just bought a 6-pack at the home centre today and enjoying it. It doesn't have a long history and it's not a real Belgian beer brewed by Trappist monks. But for 179 yen, it's a top brew!

    The brewery was founded in 1990 so it seems, so at least it's old enough to drink itself.

  2. Yes its very good stuff! I actually just bought some more this weekend. For 173 yen you can't go wrong for something as satisfying as this. Thank you for the wikipedia link I should have looked a bit harder.

  3. I just checked this in on the Untappd app.
    At first it was really unclear as to who brews this... I wondered "is it Traditional Brewery? Is it Saint-Omer?" I was so confused. Wasn't even sure if it was a Japan brew or a Euro-import. But this beer is legit! Seems this beer is made in Japan by Traditional Brewery and it's quite worth taking notice of.

  4. Interesting find. I am surprised to find that Abbey Beer has become a regularly stocked item. I was really expecting it to disappear within a few months or so because of how frequently cycled beer labels are here. It's still amazing the stuff is competitively priced even if it is 20ml less than the regular 350ml here. It's worth every yen.