Can they really pack a full draft beer experience in a can?

One of the things I’ve never really gotten used to while living in Japan was drinking beer out of cans, the way in which most are sold here. It always tasted kind of slimier to me that way, and could never live up to the crispness of a bottled beer, or better yet, one straight from the tap.

Studies have suggested there isn’t really much of a difference, but I guess I’m just a slave to my subconscious. Even worse, getting a good draft beer continues to be a major challenge while the pandemic rages on. This leaves me stuck at home trying to convince myself how I’ve been wrong about canned beer all this time and it’s actually much better than the rest.

▼ “When you think about it…slime is an important component in any fertile ecosystem. Therefore…this is good.”

Image: ©SoraNews24

Granted, it’s far from the worst hardship in all this, but Asahi Breweries, makers of Asahi Super Dry, have a vested interest in it and were hard at work trying to remedy it by replicating the draft beer experience straight from the can. This ambitious project resulted in Asahi Super Dry Nama Jockey Can.

“Nama” is a Japanese word for “fresh” or “raw” and in the case of beer is used to describe that which is served on tap. “Jockey” is the Japanese term for a beer mug or pint glass, so putting it all together, we can see that this is a can which promised to taste just like a pint poured straight from the keg.

This is accomplished partly by a special coating inside the can which causes the beer to generate tinier bubbles, resulting in a smoother head than you would get from normally pouring a can of beer into a glass.

However, the other special feature of Asahi Super Dry Nama Jockey Can is that you don’t even need to pour it into a glass. The tops of these cans completely pop off like the top of a tin of pudding might.

This means you can take a big swig of it like you would be able to do with a pint and also enjoy the aroma to the fullest. Of course, the edges of the can are specially designed so as not to cut up your mouth while drinking, something which could significantly ruin the overall enjoyment of the beer.

Beer fans’ curiosities were piqued by this new beer, dubbed as a “first in Japan”, but also a little apprehensive.

“I’ll definitely try it. It looks interesting.”
“Cool. You don’t even need to pour it into a glass.”
“I’d like that can design for other drinks too.”
“I don’t really like foam on my beer. Thanks anyway.”
“It looks like a cola that someone dropped.”
“I love a good head of beer. I can’t wait.”
“So, if there’s more foam, then is there less beer?”
“Does it actually taste any different than normal Super Dry?”

If the studies that no real difference in taste exists in canned beer are to be believed, then the main purpose of Asahi Super Dry Nama Jockey Can would seem to be breaking that mental bias most people have against cans. In that case, there might not be any difference in the actual beer at all, just how it’s served.

The answer to this and other questions will have to wait until it goes on sale in convenience stores on 6 April, and elsewhere in Japan on 20 April. It’s a pretty bold attempt, but having been really impressed with how Kirin’s sugar-free beer turned out, I have some faith in Japanese breweries to pull off the occasional miracle.

Source: Asahi Breweries, Hachima Kiko
Images: Asahi Breweries (unless otherwise noted)
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