Sapporo — Clear Lime

One of the things I can say about Sapporo is that their target audience is not people in their 20s. Unlike Asahi and Kirin, Sapporo makes alcohol for adults who know what alcohol is supposed to taste like and understand that a 9% beverage is not to be taken lightly … even when it's served in a 355mL can. This is certainly the case with Sapporo's Clear Lime Chu-Hi, which is about as bitter as one would expect from a drink inspired by the lime fruit. Weighing in at 9%, it's not something that kids in their early 20s should even attempt without first having a full stomach to help reduce the buzz that will come about from a single can of Sapporo's leisure drink.

Sapporo Clear Lime Chu-Hi

Today I tried one of these for the very first time and, I've got to admit, the smaller can has hit me hard. The lime flavour was very much what one would expect from a lime-based drink if they've ever had the fruit on its own and not as a drink accessory. The bitterness was incredibly refreshing. There is no sugar whatsoever in this drink. I know it's already been said, but this drink is not for people in their 20s. Younger people would like be happier with one of Suntory's "Sour" options given the sweetness of the liquor. The 99.9% vodka in this can is not to be taken lightly. A full 90 minutes after the beverage, I can still feel the buzz.

What's nice is that this can of Suntory Chu-Hi can be found for as little as 98円 at the local Apita or grocery store, with convenience stores charging about 40円 more. I chased it down with another 9% Double Lemon from Suntory, and the two compliment each other ever so slightly. Whereas the Clear Lime is quite sour and a little bitter, the Double Lemon is plain sour with a cleaner citrus taste. I'm not sure if I'll have another 9% Clear Lime, but I am very curious to know how strong the other flavours of the same label might be.

Stay tuned ….

Suntory Strong Zero Dry

TV Commercials for Suntory's Strong Zero line of Chu-hai drinks gives people the impression that there's a great deal of flavour and they'll come away refreshed with every gulp. As one would expect from marketing, reality is quite a bit different. Over the years I've tried a number of "dry" beverages from companies like Suntory, Asahi, and Kirin only to be disappointed. This drink, however, is a little different.

Suntory Strong Zero Dry

The tagline reads あまくないキレ味1 and I would agree with the first half. Strong Zero Dry has a distinctive lime flavour and tartness that would pair well with tempura or Pringles potato chips. The aftertaste, however, leaves a bit to be desired. I'm a huge fan of citrus drinks, even the artificially-flavoured ones. The lime in this drink does not strike me as lime. If anything, I'd venture that it's just plain carbonated water with alcohol in the can. Every sip just made me thirstier, which might be the point of a dry drink, but doesn't encourage a repeat buy if someone's trying to enjoy one of these on a hot day.

Given the choice between buying another one of these or a Sprite, I'd go with the latter.

500mL cans of Strong Zero Dry seem to go for around 220 Yen at convenience stores, but I picked this one up at a grocery store for 138 Yen. One thing I can say about this drink is that the alcohol did hit much faster than I've experienced with other 9% Suntory drinks. The first indications of the buzz were felt about 10 minutes after opening the can and stuck around for close to five hours. If the goal is just to have a long-lasting buzz, this will definitely do the job.

  1. Not sweet, clean taste.