Tonight we ate at a Japanese restaurant, so I took the opportunity to have a Japanese beer. I had options but I chose the brand that I was most familiar with; Sapporo - and I was served a Sapporo Premium. Sometimes known as Sapporo Black Label.
The Japanese drink a lot of beer and happoshu - a lower malt beverage (grain less than 67% malt). My guess is that this beer (which may have been brewed at their brewery in Guelph, Ontario, Canada) contained some rice. According to Wikipedia, Europeans in the 17th Century started making beer in Japan to supply European sailors and the locals found that they liked it. This isn't to surprising since sake - coming from a grain - is a variant of beer. (Ultimate, p. 11) Sapporo was started in 1876 by a Japanese brewer who was trained in Germany.
It is an imported lager, but it doesn't have that skunky taste I found in last week's Peroni. It starts with a hoppy bouquet that quickly gives way to a crisp, dry finish. It's solid if unspectacular. And if you have been following this blog, (Hi Mary), my next sentence should not surprise you. I rate it a 3 - I'd have another. While I expected "3" to be my most common rating, I didn't expect 80% or more of the beers to earn a three. I guess when I choose a beer, style is a much more important factor than brand. Different styles are appropriate in different settings, and keeping that in mind - almost every beer I have tried I feel has a context where I might like another.
Speaking of context, Sapporo is a taste of Japan, but it is firmly in the European tradition. So I can see why you might order one in a Japanese restaurant, but in a liquor store or grocery store or even a cooler at a tailgate... whenever you are looking for a "beer" - instead of a "Japanese beer" - I am not sure why you'd want to choose a Sapporo Premium. Unless you really like Budweiser, but you are trying to appear more worldly.
-Jim from Milwaukee