Thursday, December 20, 2012

Grand Kirin and Sapporo 100% Malt (Exclusively at 7/11 Japan)

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I usually don't go to convenience stores unless I have to pay an occasional bill that can't be paid through an ATM or really need to use the restroom. Well, I kind of deviated from this stance when I stayed at a hotel in Tokyo with my wife a few weeks back.

I'm a frugal man so I avoided the convenience of buying a super expensive beer in the hotel from their vending machines in the lobby and instead opted to visit a nearby 7/11 convenience store. To my surprise they had a pretty decent variety of beers, many of which I have never seen before. 2 beers immediately caught my eye, the first being a unique stubby glass bottle of Grand Kirin and the other, a silver and black pinstriped can of 100% Malt by Sapporo. Both beers were and still are exclusive to the 7/11 and Ito-Yokado 7&i owned convenience stores and groceries across Japan. So this will be a double review as it's been a few weeks since I've actually drank the beers but I did buy the beers again for this review for picture purposes and the fact that they were tasty enough for a second go.

Grand Kirin


This beer is unlike most Japanese beers as it comes in a stubby, longneck style, brown glass bottle. The stubbiness cuts off about 20ml from the volume of the drink but it doesn't seem to take away from it's overall value. I felt more willing to pay more for the glass bottle as it is pretty uncommon here in Japan to find a single serving of beer like that. Kirin Grand poured smoothly from the with a nice, thick head that stuck around longer than the average Japanese macro brew. I kind of cheated and took a little swig directly from the bottle and immediately fell in love. The beer had a mild sweetness and went down smooth. It had a great aftertaste and left me pretty satisfied despite its smaller 330ml size. I can't say much more than the fact that it made me want to buy it again and I did. Even with its high price tag of 275 yen or so, it made me realize that sometimes its worth it to spend more. I really hope Kirin keeps this label around to try to compete with the luxury brands like Suntory's Premium Malt and Sapporo's Yebisu brands. I think it would fit quite well in that genre.

Sapporo 100% Malt


At first glance, the Sapporo 100% Malt beer reminded me a lot of an Asahi Super Dry, not by its taste, but more because of the can's design. Asahi has the most recognizable can because of that simple silver design. 100% Malt pours like a Budweiser with a weak head that disappears kind of quickly, very reminiscent of ta happoshu although it is a true beer. The color is also somewhat like a Budweiser as it comes in a pale yellow color. The beer had a welcoming aroma but I really couldn't put my finger on what it was like. As for taste, it isn't not bad and even leaves a nice bite at the end. The only real saving grace for this beer was that it was the cheapest beer in the convenience store at 195 yen. I won't be buying it again but it was to try something new.


Both of these beers are exclusive to 7/11 owned stores for now but I think Kirin Grand will eventually make it to other competitors eventually. I've only been able to find the Kirin Grand in 7/11 convenience stores though. The Sapporo 100% malt is a collaboration between 7/11 and Sapporo which I found very interesting. Usually collaborations occur with food and soft drinks. This is the first time I've personally seen a beer collaboration. But hey, if it can keep the price of a beer down, I'll buy into it.


  1. Since you love your beer, have you tried the micro-brews in Japan (地ビール 'ji-biiru')? Cannot go wrong with anything by Hitachino-Nest or Yona Yona.

  2. Oh yes, of course I am always up for a good microbrew. I haven't tried either of the ones you mentioned above but you've given me something to do this weekend.

    It would be a pleasant change from daisan and happoshu.

    Oh and by the way, I enjoy your blog as well. Thanks for checking mine out as well even if my content is a lot lighter in tone and content than yours. :)

    1. Everyone's content is lighter in tone than mine...

      BTW, you can get the beers on Nothing like ordering at home in your sleepwear! Some recommendations for a tasting (the bottled are more expensive, but bottles taste better!):

  3. Thanks for the Amazon link. I completely forgot it's ok to send liquor online here. How nice. :)

    I found a Yona Yona over the weekend but its been sitting in the fridge becasue I want to be able to enjoy the nearly 3 dollar can of beer. That means coaxing my son to sleep on time so that I can just unwind over a science documentary or something on Youtube to get me all mellow.

    I look forward to trying it just for the sake of change. I had two mugi to hop kuro this evening and it reminded me that I need to write about the little flavor swap they pulled over December. It's not the same as the one I reviewed earlier... My local friends seem to be pretty against the change, as for me I'm not really sure. I need to write more on it. I have so many things to do for my dormant blog.