Home Beer Review Abashiri Okhotsk Blue Ryuhyo Draft by Abashiri Beer

Abashiri Okhotsk Blue Ryuhyo Draft by Abashiri Beer

by BeerTengoku Writer
Abashiri Okhotsk Blue Ryuhyo Draft is Abashiri Brewery’s most famous drink, and is supposedly made using drift ice and natural ingredients such as flowers and seaweed to give it its blue colour. It’s been the subject of many “Weird Japan” articles since being made available overseas in 2014. It’s a 5% spiced/fruit/seaweed beer.
Abashiri Okhotsk Blue Ryuhyo Draft

Blue. Like my feelings after drinking this garbage.

Abashiri Okhotsk Blue Ryuhyo Draft Aroma and Taste

Abashiri Okhotsk Blue Ryuhyo Draft is a dirty turquoise (Dirty Turquoise is also my 1976 pimp name). It smells happoshu-esque. It’s extremely sweet, and the starchy smell invades your nostrils. It’s like smelling a glass of fabric softener. It’s so artificial. Enhanced. No, not enhanced. Modified. You’d expect this kind of chemical vileness from some dystopian smoke-spewing factory with train lines running from it delivering Government Mandated Grain Based Beer-Like Pseudo beverage Batch #76B3 to the masses.
But this is little old Abashiri Brewery. They source all their ingredients from local farmers. They’re probably heroes in the region. I bet their mums are really proud of them. On paper, it’s the makings of a great craft beer success story. In practise, though, the whole does not equal the sum of the parts.
Abashiri Okhotsk Blue Ryuhyo Draft is garbage. Were you expecting anything else? Tasting it, there’s the potatoes again. It is thankfully not as offensive as Abashiri Jaga Draft. There’s also syrup all over the place- surprise chucks, saccharine starch is again the number one ingredient. Whatever 40-million-year old ice floe they supposedly got the water for this dreck from, I hope they lost a toe or two getting it (the addition of a gangrenous appendage to the mash tun of this beer would not have altered the flavour for the worse, though). The aftertaste seemingly dissolves in your mouth with only the slightly unpleasant syrup taste remaining. Still, I’m glad that I only have half a glass left as I write this.

Joe’s Soapbox Corner

So many breweries stick to the tried-and-true lineup of Pilsner, Pale Ale, Weizen and Porter, and are creatively unwilling or financially unable to branch out. Not all, though; I point to Morita Kinshachi as an example of a brewery using its local name to make some non-standard beers to great effect, such as their Aka Miso Lager. They also do a fine Imperial Stout.
So while I applaud Abashiri Brewery for their creativity, I think they should fire their recipe creator. Drinkers are more informed than they were 20 years ago, and know that “beer” does not equal “lager” and “specialty beer” doesn’t have to be “lager with blue in it” or “lager with red in it”. Make an ale with fish in it. Make a porter with those legendary Hokkaido scallops as big as your palm. Make a Pilsner that goes so well with lamb you’ll have people coming out to try it. Throw these joke recipes away. We- and you- deserve better.

Abashiri Okhotsk Blue Ryuhyo Draft One Line Review

There’s no reason to drink Abashiri Okhotsk Blue Ryuhyo Draft at all. Joke beers make me so angry I write big ranty articles like this one. Stop it, Abashiri.

Where to Buy Abashiri Okhotsk Blue Ryuhyo Draft

Please don’t buy Abashiri Ryuhyo Draft. Just don’t.

Rob’s Abashiri Okhotsk Blue Ryuhyo Draft Second Opinion

When people ask me why Joe and I set up BeerTengoku, I always come back to this beer. Abashiri Okhotsk Blue Ryuhyo Draft made me want to tell the world about beers that should not be drunk and as such, led me to find beers that people should drink. I still remember drinking this beer in the middle of a week tour around Hokkaido and emailing people about how bad it was. No one would believe me. They do now.

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Martin June 17, 2015 - 11:03 pm

I believe this beer was available at a craft beer festival here in Tohoku a couple of years ago. I remember seeing a big queue for it and trying a little of someone’s. It just smacked of a gimmick and trying to get unsuspecting newbies to buy one because it was blue and ‘kawaii’. Most of those who knew their craft beer wouldn’t go near it.

Rob June 17, 2015 - 11:10 pm

It really isn’t worth trying. Save your money and buy something else. Heck, we’d even suggest Budweiser over this.

Black Winter Knight September 12, 2016 - 12:02 am

Beer is a drink, drink appeals to the human senses, their are billions upon billions of humans on Earth, not all of them like beer all that much, less of them study it, less are so passionate to respect the art and the science that constitutes something like a “true pilsner” or a “true IPA”

Is the beer alcoholic? Does it taste like soda? Yes? No? Is jt made from grain and a fermentation process? Yes? Yes? To reiterate– are their people who like hard-lemonade or a Tom Collins? Yes, there are. The beer offers something different. Its got a cool theme, it’s attractive, and although I admittedly only just stumbled across this blog, after 2 weeks traveling all over Japan, this was the cooleat thing I could find in a store. For my hipster-American standards it doesn’t stand out –in a Sapporo beer store? It does. I didn’t ask for it too, it did.

Do I give a shit about ingredients? Absolutely. But after 2 weeks of Calpis sour and literally every kind of weird combination of soda/milk/tea/coffee/seaweed/lychee/peach/psweet-potatoe, forgive me if an artificial slightly sweet blue beer doesn’t russle my jimmies all that much.

This blog reeks of pompous elitism, and an overt cross over the line from “intellectual critique based from a passion”, and “haha wtf is wrong with people who don’t know beer”.

Go fuck yourself.

Joe Robson September 12, 2016 - 1:08 pm

I’m sorry you didn’t like my review, and that you think I’m a pompous elitist. I think I’m actually quite nice.

We’re trying to introduce people to beers from all over Japan, and that includes the bad ones. I’m not saying I’m an expert but I’ve tried a lot of beers and this was one I thought was terrible. That’s my opinion, which I wrote here.

If you want to try more beers with unusual ingredients, I recommend Outsider Brewing in Yamanashi. They’ve made really great beers with salmon and even shiitake mushrooms!

All the best,

Christopher Phillips September 14, 2016 - 3:41 pm

I don’t think this is a good beer but to tell people not to buy it is pushing things a bit far, IMO.
Describe it and give them the option, taking your description and opinion into account, of whether or not to try it themselves.
I dont think you should tell people they shouldnt buy it. Even if there is a good chance they wont buy another.
Some people actually like this beer, not me but some people do. I dont care for it but ive had far worse.
This beer has been selling well for years now, so, in the minds of the brewery, it is not a mistake at all. Its sells better than a finely crafted true to style ale would, ironically.
Tell us why you dont like it or why its in your opinion an awful beer but let us make our own minds up, wether to drink it or not.
Beer is subjective. As was your review. 🙂
I hope you don’t take offence with this reply, its not meant to be offensive or hypercritical. Im glad of the work you guys do. Keep it up.

As for the reply from ‘Black Winter Knight’, no need to get nasty at the end there.
Thats wasnt called for. Doing that basically lost you any support for your arguments.
You ended up fucking yourself.

Joe Robson September 14, 2016 - 4:11 pm

Thanks for your comment Chris. You’re right that this beer is bizarrely popular- even this review is our most popular (for most people anyway!). But I think it’s within my remit as a reviewer to tell you not to buy it.

I get that unless the beer is made by child labour or is damaging the environment, it’s unnecessary to actively tell people not to buy it. And we have always provided links to buy beers even if we hated them. But in this case I felt that fitting with the direction the review was going in meant recommending against it. After all, I had written that I hoped the brewers lost a toe while they were making it. In my mind it would have been incongruous to then say “go ahead and give it a try!”.

I can’t remember if Rob was so disgusted by this beer as to not include info on where to buy it, but I’ll get him to put it on if it isn’t.

Go have a beer,


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