Suntory Debuts “The Premium Malt’s” Pilsner Beer in the US

The brand's draft master, Hiroshi Ohno, teaches us the perfect “Kami-awa” creamy foam pour in NYC

As Japanese beer brands continue to diversify their offerings within the US, Suntory builds upon their near-125 year legacy with the arrival of The Premium Malt’s stateside. It’s a bright and foamy pilsner beer—and yes, “Malt’s” despite its grammatical shortcomings, is the correct spelling of the name. The intention is to rethink every aspect of the brewing, pouring and tasting experience. Suntory Draft Master, Hiroshi Ohno, and the Suntory team propose that beer should have more foam—a 7:3 ratio, rather than the 8:2 many Americans have come to favor. Taking it a step further, they believe the foam should reappear with every sip.

At the NYC launch of The Premium Malt’s, Ohno explains today’s cultural norms across geographies and how they’ve progressed with time. First he demonstrates the 8:2 pour, and then the 7:3 preferred Suntory pour, which is created using their new draught tap. “Pull the tap toward you and fill the glass, tipped at 45 degrees, with seven parts beer and no foam. If you have the ever-so-intentionally designed beer glass by The Premium Malt’s, you can simply fill to the center of the logo. Then, push the tap forward, rather than toward you like before, which will dispense a creamy foam, referred to as ‘kami-awa.'”

The foam is dense but not obtrusive. The beer offers a smooth and delicate mouthfeel, an everyday brew that pairs well with all kinds of dishes. And there’s just as much function as form in the design. The creamy foam offers elevated protection, locking in the aroma and carbonation while preventing oxidation. The result is a finish which isn’t too bitter or bubbly. Sure enough—with every sip, the same amount of foam emerges. As an experiment, they shined a light from the bottom of the old pour as well as a new pour to reveal that no light appears through the new pour. With a few flicks of the wrist and a straw, you’ll find that the old pour doesn’t overflow, while the new pour does—proof that the carbonation is truly locked in.

On the many sensations of The Premium Malt’s, Ohno shares, “The flower aroma greets you the moment it’s poured. Rare, traditional malt is produced in the Czech Republic and surrounding regions. We strive for a deep-boiled brew with a rich umami taste. And since beer is nearly 90% water, we carefully source natural mineral water from Japan.”

The Premium Malt’s is brewed exclusively in Japan and now available on tap at 25+ bars and restaurants in New York City—including some CH favorites, like En Brasserie, Ippudo, as well as a number in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Images courtesy of Suntory