When we’re feeling a little salty, let's all do a Constanza and start a mental health conversation with Jerry (or a mate not called Jerry!) over this cold craft and few pretzels.
Origin – Dandenong, Victoria
ABV – 4.2%
Size – 375mL can
Style – Lager
'I got the sheets but not the bed. I got the jam but not the bread. But, heh, I'm big in Japan.' So sang Tom Waits in Big in Japan. The 1999 hit single was a nod to a rock-n-roll in-joke that success in the far east is cause not for congratulations but mirth. The cliché representing a comical second chance for bands who can't make it at home was made famous in the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, which ends with the hard-rock has-beens reforming for a Japanese tour. The urban dictionary captures its recent use perfectly; To pretend you are someone of stature somewhere else, a status that is meaningless and not verifiable where you currently are.
It's a definition that couldn't be further from the truth regarding this Hi-Fi Dry Japanese lager. Rather than pretending to be something that it's not, it leans into its easy drinking and low ABV attributes. Overtly targeting beer drinkers looking for a 'better for you' option, this Japanese lager boldly states its stats on the label: zero-carb / 87 calories. The combined brainchild of Managing Director Paul Bower and head brewer Jon Seltin, along with the introduction of the no-alcohol Sidewinder range, this latest launch is part of Brick Lane Brewing's overall mission to start a conversation and change the culture of masculinity itself. 'You don't need 1000 beers to open up and have a conversation with your mates about what's going on when you're battling.' Jon shares with me.
But creating Hi-Fi Dry has been a struggle, taking time and technology to move it from idea to its first commercial canning. 'It took time to figure out, but the result was worth the effort.' Clear and crisp, from the first glance at this pale and sparkling beer, it's clear that it's going to be uncomplicated and affable. Sitting on the lighter end of the lager camp, there are subtle floral notes and a touch of biscuit sweetness from the malt.
Given the growing numbers opening a can filled with a healthier version of the amber nectar, I'd be as bold to suggest this one will be more than just big in Japan!