Sapporo is the best known Japanese export beer in the United States and its premium lager has been enjoyed by Americans for a long time running. The problem for those of us who like to try new things, however, is that Sapporo hasn’t delivered anything fresh and unique in quite some time and as a result, some would say Sapporo’s lack of an answer to the craft beer craze has caused it to fall behind. But now, Sapporo has answered its critics with a brand new beer, its first such offering in 12 years. The new brew is Sapporo Premium Black, a dark beer that just hit store shelves on September 1, 2016.
Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Sapporo USA. However, the opinions expressed are 100 percent my own.
New is Welcome
Sapporo’s new addition to its portfolio is long overdue. Louis Orui, president of Sapporo USA, says Sapporo Premium Black will help to expand the brewery’s product offerings in a new direction and enhance its image.
“The addition of Sapporo Premium Black further diversifies our portfolio of beers and encourages existing Sapporo fans to move beyond the perception that we are strictly a brewer of fine lighter lagers.” said Orui.
Sapporo’s Premium pale lager is a staple beer, popular at parties and sold across the United States. Having a dark companion to this familiar brew is a good idea and I agree with Orui that it will help broaden the company’s appeal and improve its image. The real test, however, is in the flavor. So how does Sapporo Premium Black measure up?
I Like Mine Dark
At Great Beer Now, we treasure any chance to try new beer but there is something especially exciting about trying a new dark beer- particularly a dark lager like Sapporo Premium Black. The reason the moment feels so special is because there are just not that many dark lagers on the market. Craft breweries scramble to create new IPA recipes and some might offer the occasional dark ale like a stout or porter. But when was the last time you tasted a dark lager? I would bet it’s been a long time- so long, that you probably can’t even name the beer.
Sapporo Premium Black is a very dark beer and the fact that it’s a lager helps to smooth out any rough edges. The beer has a roasted malt flavor with the added flavors of coffee and dark chocolate. There is some earthy bitterness in the finish, but this beer remains sweet overall. It has an alcohol content of 5 percent by volume, so it’s right in line with most mainstream beers, but with a better overall flavor profile than the typical American style lager.
Smoothness All the Way
Sapporo Premium Black is a smooth way to go dark and a good beer choice for those who like to visit the dark side every now and then but want something a little more approachable. It’s dark, but this beer is free from the alcoholic edginess and in- your- face extremities so common with the darker craft stouts and porters.
Sapporo Premium is available where other Sapporo products are sold. It is packaged in 22 oz. bomber size cans, so you get enough beer for a good single helping or to share with a friend. It’s a solid offering from Sapporo and a positive indicator of what may be on the horizon for this historic brewer as it broadens its product portfolio and seeks to capture more of the America craft beer market.
Rating: 7 Cheers out of 10