This was to be one of the beers I was going to have during the Super Bowl, but my teenager was at a friend's Super Bowl party, so I needed to make sure I was presentable for picking him up.
In fact this beer was offered to me by its promoter a few months before, but I move slowly on beer reviews. But this has stayed in the fridge all this time, so it should still be as the brewer intended.
Sapporo Brewery of Japan has reintroduced its Sapporo Black to the North American market. This beer has been a minor part of their portfolio for some years, but now with the current fad for black version of any style beer, it is being promoted as Sapporo Premium Black. The beer is 5% abv, and comes in Sapporo's own shaped 22 oz. can. Sapporo's North American production has been at the Sleeman Brewery in Ontario, which they purchased in 2006. Some production is also contracted to City Brewery, the former Old Style plant in La Crosse, WI.
The pour itself is more of a porter brown than black. In the glass, it looks dark brown to black, but with brown highlights. The smell has a bit of light coffee roast to it, and a sweetness like toffee; hey, that rhymes. The taste starts with pinprickly carbonation. The roast has coffee notes and is a bit grainy, but is rather light to make up for it. I've always considered Sapporo's main lager to be dry, bu this has a residual sweetness that leaves a light coating on the lips, with a suggestion of a dark bock beer. Hop bill seems titlted toward German and milder bittering hops, resulting in a notable bitterness that works with the sweet malt.
The Sapporo promotions suggest this pairs with spicy international cuisines, or with creamy desserts.
Disclaimer: This beer was sent to by a brewer's representative.