Monday, September 3, 2012

Sapporo 北海道(Hokkaido) Premium … happoshu!

ビールの本場は、北海道。 北海道PREMIUM [プレミアム]

Yep, it’s that time again for another near-beer, happoshu review! While I’d prefer to try new beers, there aren’t many new NATIONAL brand labels as of late but there’s always happoshu! Like the seasons change, so do the flavors/labels of happoshu. This review is no different as it is yet another new label I have encountered while doing regular grocery shopping at the supermarket…

Sapporo released their self branded “premium” happoshu. It’s not an incredibly inventive name but to me but it works. It beats some of the other odd-ball labels I’ve seen. Heck, maybe premium means they’ve put a true effort into making an acceptable substitute to beer. Well, let’s find out!

Sapporo Hokkaido Premium is priced competitively to its happoshu equals at a reasonable 100-106 yen for a regular can and 158 or so for a tall can. I am not sure if this stuff is seasonal or not but it seems like it could stick around for a while since there are no seasonal marks on it that would indicate summer/fall like some other cans that are on store shelves right now.


Time to get into the details; Sapporo Hokkaido Premium pours pretty nice. It pours with a light golden color and a convincing head. The smell that comes off of it is an equally convincing aroma. It doesn’t just smell like alcohol like many happoshu end up doing. The first sip of Sapporo Hokkaido Premium went down really smooth and easy. It had a nice sweet, rich, taste to it that I’d compare to regular beers. The following gulps were just as satisfying. It also went pretty well with the cheese I had at hand. So yeah, it’s pretty close to the real thing, I’d even wager it may edge out Mugi to Hop as king of the happoshu... at least in my book.

So if you’re looking for another happoshu to challenge or something that resembles beer without breaking the bank, Sapporo Hokkaido Premium may be the drink for you. Go out and get one, you might like it too!

You can find the official website for Hokkaido Premium here.


Oh, and while we’re on the topic of Beer, I did find one interesting thing at the grocery store as well. I found a new black beer by Yebisu, the flagship of the Sapporo brand. The beer is called, Yebisu Creamy Top Stout.

Hmm, sounds promising! Unfortunately, I didn’t have the cash or sense of adventure to buy a full 6 pack. Even though I find the Yebisu label my most favorite of Japanese beers, I would prefer to buy just one can for starters… you know, just in case. It would suck if the whole 6-pack was nasty or not up to expectations.

2012-09-02 18.01.06 2012-09-02 18.01.00

So, yeah, I’ll try Creamy Top Stout next. I am totally looking forward to another dark beer. Since it says LIMITED on the bottom right corner of the box, that means I need to stock up on it if I end up liking it. It looks VERY promising!


  1. I tried the Yebisu Creamy Top Stout yesterday; it was OK but I doubt I'ii buy another. Kirin Stout and Ashahi dark (Munich type) are better in my opinion.

  2. Hmm, Asahi Dark (Munich Type)... I haven't seen that before in my neck of the woods. I'll have to look out for that. I love Asahi's Kuro Nama, so I'm totally game for another true dark Asahi. I'm still not sure why Asahi is pushing their Dry Black label so hard. It's almost just a color swap of regular old Super Dry. At least to me...

    It's a shame creamy top is just OK. I guess it's better than being horrible or disapointing. I was hoping for something worthy of the Yebisu price tag. I still need to try it out but I'm not in as much a hurry now. :)

  3. Hi Scott. Kuronama is the Munich-Type. Sorry for any confusion, the reason I called it Munich-Type is because that's what it says on the can just above the kanji for Kuronama. Either way, it's good to drink!

  4. I must have either never noticed the Munich Type on the label or the label is a bit different in Japan. You saved me a frantic search for something I've already had and like. Haha. Thanks again!