Suntory The Premium Malt's
Like most Bog Standard Beers, Suntory's The Premium Malt's is a Japanese take on a European pilsner but brings a fair amount of original malty flavor to the table. Conceived by Ryuzo Yamamoto, a Japanese brewer who studied many Czech and German style pilsner beers, The Premium Malt's was carefully crafted over a decade-long R&D period and has helped to solidify Suntory as a premium beer manufacturer.
The Premium Malt's was first marketed as Malt's Super Premium in 1987, and was seen as a distinctly different beer than Suntory Malt's beer, which Suntory was known for at the time. Using the same base as Suntory Malt's, The Premium Malt's focused more on using fine Czech Saaz aroma hops to give this beer a distinctly balanced flavor. After other naming variations, "Malt's Super Premium 2001" in 2000 (sold only in cans) and "Malt's Super Premium" in 2001 (sold in both cans and bottles), the current name was settled in 2003 to The Premium Malt's and has kept the concept of a premium malty beverage alive and well in Suntory's alcoholic offerings.
Similar to Kirin's Ichiban Shibori, The Premium Malt's has it's own specialized manufacturing process known as the Double Decoction Method. This method heats up the mash twice in a specific way to break down more of the sugars for the yeast to convert to alcohol and also allows the beer to have a distinctly crisp, dry malty characteristic common of many German or continental lagers.
The beer itself is a fair pilsner beer with a good amount of delicate aroma hoppiness that balances well with its earthy malt characteristics. This beer has a little more character than some of the other Bog Standard beers and can go well with more robustly flavored dishes and still stand up.
Beer Style: Lager, Pilsner
Author Notes: This is an interesting pilsner style beer that, while well carbonated, does not come off as dry as Asahi Super Dry or Kirin Ichiban Shibori. This very earthy beer does well to focus on the malt and is a welcome change from the usual fair. However, this beer, like its namesake, comes at a premium and can cost more than Asahi or Kirin in many izakayas (and/or may come in smaller glasses).
Personally, I prefer Suntory's ale version of The Premium Malt's (found in a distinct blue-colored can) which works extremely well with their usual malt and hop combination.