Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hoppy-Japanese Beer Flavored Beer?

Hoppy. What the hell is Hoppy? Is hoppy beer? Is hoppy a beer alternative? Is Hoppy really beer flavored beer? The answer would be a little bit of all the above.

Hoppy is a beer that is not a beer. If that makes any sense. Introduced in 1948 in Japan by the Kokuka Beverage Company as a beer alternative. At the time when was first released the common person in Japan could not afford to buy beer.

Hoppy is a combination of two beverages. The hoppy itself is mixed with shochu(Japanese distilled alcoholic beverage) to create a mild and refreshing beer like drink. It looks like beer but the taste is totally different. It lacks the bit of actual beer. If a person wants to have more of that bite that only beer can offer Hoppy comes on a black version providing a more bitter flavor.

Shochu has been around in Japan for about as long as there has been a Japan. It is made everywhere in Japan but Kyushu is the center of production. It is 25 percent alcohol which makes it slightly stronger than sake. When mixed with hoppy it becomes much weaker; although many bars but more shochu than hoppy to make the drink stronger.

So how does it REALLY taste?

I have tried hoppy and it really tasted like bland water. I could not even tell that there was any alcohol in it at all. I drank four of the hoppy/shochu mix and did not feel anything. I was tuned off by it but I would not ordered it if I wanted to get really drunk. It was almost like drinking stale tea.

Hoppy is not extremely popular anymore but many people still drink it in Tokyo. There days you are much more likely to see Japanese going for a Budweiser before choosing hoppy. Although due to the hardcore work schedule that many people in Tokyo have Hoppy is a nice drink to have when you cannot get hammered because work starts early the next morning.