When I lived in Ontario, one of the many things I did when arriving home from work was head to the fridge, grab a beer, and just enjoy it with a video or two. Alcoholic beverages were always in the house while I was growing up and, after moving into an apartment of my own, they were always in the home waiting for someone to enjoy them. This changed in 2002 when I left Ontario for British Columbia. Alcohol became an occasional drink, as most of my friends there stayed away from the stuff. Later, when I moved to Japan, I managed to go almost ten years with fewer than a dozen beers consumed. It just wasn't something anyone around me really enjoyed, so I stuck to coffee and the occasional soda. Since moving into a development role at the day job, though, I've found myself reaching for a can or two of beer on particularly frustrating days just to offset the rage with a bit of dizziness. The distraction is often enough to give me reason to ignore the nuisances of the day. What this means is that I've had the opportunity to try a number of Japanese beers over the last two years, developing likes and dislikes along the way as one generally would. My favourite by far is Suntory's 頂1; Japan's most Canadian beer.
Suntory does not market this particular beer as "Canadian", but it has all the same elements that I had come to expect from a typical beer in that country. The flavour. The aroma. The alcohol content … which has recently gone from a respectable 7% to a solid eight. Halfway into a can I can typically feel the same buzz that I would associate with a good Molson and, given that I'm using the beverage as an excuse for nostalgic reasons, this means that I can read email or perform software testing without taking things too seriously. The only concern that I have is that it's rather unfortunate that I'm turning to a mind-altering liquid to quell the rages experienced at the day job.
This is hardly the model of professionalism.
All this aside, though, this is the beer that I'll reach for when given the opportunity. There are a number of other very popular beers that have their own strengths, such as Asahi Super Dry, Ebisu Premium Malts, and Suntory Rich Malt — all of which are very Japanese in their presentations — but none remind me of Canada like 頂 does.
If you happen to find a can of this in your travels, do give it a try. It's not as expensive as other Japanese beers, though it is a lot harder to find.
頂 (いただき) — Pronounced "itadaki"