I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Kirin. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
Do you like trying new beers? I love going to beer festivals and sampling a little bit of everything, heading out to a taproom (Michigan has a surprisingly active brewery scene), or just popping into the “fancy” party store in town and grabbing a few bottles of whatever looks interesting that day. That’s when I was so excited from Millennial Central reached out with an opportunity to try Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light. If you’ve never tried Kirin beer (I hadn’t!), it’s a 100% malt, first-press beer — and if you’re anything like my friends, those words won’t mean much to you until you try it! That’s basically fancy beer talk for rich flavor and a smooth, clean aftertaste.
Because I’ve never been to Japan or even tried a Japanese beer, I had a little bit of learning to do about the customs involved. No point in trying something new if you’re not going to go all out, right? When drinking in Japan, you should never fill your own glass and you should never let someone else’s glass get completely empty. And instead of “cheers”, you toast with “kanpai”. I don’t know about you, but I really like idea of other people filling your drink for you. There’s nothing sadder than looking down into an empty glass and not knowing where your bottle went, but so long as you’re being a good friend and filling other’s glasses, someone will come up and fill yours. Perfect! Now before I even tried the beer, I Instagrammed it, obviously. My friend in Hawaii saw the post and started raving about it — her favorite beer! I knew it was going to be a winner. I live kind of in the middle of no where, so I thought even if it’s readily available there, there’s no way it’s going to be here. I was pleasantly surprised to find it at my “fancy” beer store and one of the local grocery stores. Pressing my luck even further, I called a couple of Asian and specifically Japanese restaurants — success! Kirin Ichiban was available at almost all of them. Though sadly, I’m not lucky enough to have access to Kirin Ichiban Frozen (where draught beer is topped with FROZEN Kirin Ichiban in select US markets, YUM!). If your local restaurants don’t have Kirin in bottles or on draught, don’t fret — Kirin has teamed up with celebrity chef Candice Kumai to bring Japanese-style beer to the growing Asian cuisine movement — which means special recipes and pairing tips on Kirin’s Facebook.
Enough chitchat, I know you’re dying to know how it tastes and what I ate with it (because let’s get real, food blog). I had a handful of friends over and poured them each a sampling (Josh poured my sample!) of Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light. My friends Josh and Brie do not like beer in general, and there were no surprises there (one day I will find their Cinderella slipper of beers!). As for everyone else, we thought the Kirin light was in fact nice and light, had a good amount of carbonation, a wonderful clean aftertaste, and was not at all bitter; Kirin Ichiban was slightly hoppier and a touch more bitter but still had a refreshing taste similar to a very light tasting American wheat ale, making it a good summer beer. I personally thought both were more full flavored than your average American domestic with a slightly wheaty caramel flavor. Because I was so kindly sent pretty much everything I needed to make sushi, I went with it and made sushi for the first time ever! I’m not a sushi expert and would do a miserable job explaining how to properly fan the rice, but this was seriously the first time in my life I had rice turn out properly. I filled the rolls with nori (seaweed) with avocado, cucumber, carrots, asparagus, and vegetarian “crab” (which I like to call artificial artificial crab). Because several of my friends have texture issues when it comes to nori, I made a few nori-free rolls with the same filling. I also made DESSERT SUSHI! Strawberry cheesecake sushi (recipe below) and banana sushi (slices of banana rolled in crushed peanut butter cereal drizzled with a little chocolate, to look like sashimi with a drizzle of sauce. I also made tamago (aka tamagoyaki) which is kind of like a Japenese omelet/ egg crepe. Is tamago traditionally filled with something? No idea but this is my American kitchen and I never claim anything to be authentic 😉 I filled them with asparagus, artificial artificial crab with avocado, and more of the strawberry cheesecake filling. Sounds a little strange with the strawberries, I know, but the egg mixture is slightly sweet and it works incredibly! The recipe for the egg potion is below. While the food pairings would be delicious for adults and kids of all ages, keep the Kirin for those 21+!
Overall, my beer-liking friends agreed they would get Kirin again, especially Kirin Light. It’s perfect paired alongside Japanese (or Asian/Japanese-inspired) foods, but I definitely wouldn’t turn down a glass next to a nice veggie burger with lots of ketchup!
I get it, that egg mixture sounds a little weird, but it’s AMAZING! I’ve already convinced Josh that this is how we should prepare eggs if we want them for breakfast. Authentic? No, not really. Delicious? Yes! Yes! Yes! Have it for brunch instead and then there’s no shame about having a Kirin alongside it, I thought it was a fantastic pairing and the carbonation from the beer cut through the richness and sweetness of the eggs. As mentioned above, I was compensated for this post. All opinions are 100% my own. Please drink responsibly and only if you’re of age.