I missed my chance to try the Halloween special drinks. Oh. Well.
But I finally went to check out the new stuff at my local store.
I was not disappointed.
Staring at me was a whole lineup of Kirin branded drinks. Kirin, is of course most famous for it’s beer that can be found in all Japanese, and most Chinese restaurants in the U.S.A. Well, these are non-alcoholic. And they are the high-end, flagship soft drinks. By high end, I mean they cost an extra 50Yen more. Hah hah.
What we have here is a choice of Coffee, Green Tea, and Ginger Ale. I checked out their website: http://www.kirin.co.jp/products/softdrink/bekkaku/ Yes. It is the high-end quality oriented drinks. On top of the three I just found, there is also a regular tea offering.
At this point I will just jump out and say it. The Ginger Ale is the clear winner! Crack open the bottle and a pleasant smell of fresh young ginger hits your nose. I never experienced such smell from any big name drink companies. The taste is not overly sweet, with a bit of a honey aftertaste. (I am not actually sure it was sweetened with honey, but the taste is there.) The spice is that of good and fresh ginger, no artificial taste at all. Not bitter. And has a very pleasant gingery after-burn. (The official claim is that freshly graded ginger is used for this drink.) I would say, if you want same quality ginger ale you would absolutely have to spring for the expensive boutique drink brands. Now, I am not that big of a fan of ginger ale, (except occasionally with my whiskey), and normally don’t go shopping for it. But! I am very excited about this drink.
Next on my list of flavor favorites it the green tea. If I understood the website correctly, the tea leaves for this drinks are young (1 week?) and grown in low-light conditions (basically covered). The tea is then brewed at a temperature lower than boiling. What does that mean for the taste? There was no bitterness to the tea at all! And yet, it had a very strong leafy flavor. I would say, I could make tea like that by myself if I actually take care to brew carefully. But, I could not buy that type of quality in a bottle regularly. I drank this cold, and with a stuffy nose. I think drinking it warm, and with working sinuses would do it much more justice.
Finally, the coffee. The specialty of this are the “Bourbon Amarero (Brazil) golden beans”, and some rare syrup containing sugar. (Whatever that means.) This one is sweetened milk coffee. I think they claim to use more beans than usual in making this brew, I believe this because the coffee definitely has a strong caffeine kick. The flavor it … …decent. Better than other canned stuff. Worse than any coffee shop. The sweetness it at a good level. The coffee taste does not have any of the not that great flavors that typically come with the canned stuff. I still can’t decide if the milk was creamy or not. (Weird). It’s a decent drink. But more of a purchase of opportunity. If I have time to think, I would go get something from a cafe instead.