Orion Premium Draft Beer | Orion Beer Co., Ltd.

108 Reviews
Read the review
Orion Premium Draft BeerOrion Premium Draft Beer

Brewed by:
Orion Beer Co., Ltd.

Style: Japanese Rice Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gusler on 12-11-2002

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 108 | Ratings: 271
Photo of Bricelyn
3.64/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is straw yellow with little hints at orange in the shadows. No head as the Japanese lady that poured it filled it right to the top so the surface tension of the beer was all that was holding in in the mug!!! It has a little head that appears from me jostling the glass and a tiny bit of film lacing

It smells like a bud to be honest grainy and almost sweet.

This brew tastes amazing I do have to warn you that I have what is known as Oki Goggles!!! It's truly the only fresh beer on island and lets be honest The Japanese could care less how they store this stuff. Its grainy almost no hops a little sticky but smooth and no skunk to speak of so it makes me happy.

It has a very light soda like carbonation it feels very smooth not gonna say perfect but with oki goggles this brew feels awesome in my mouth I sometimes just chew on it cuz it has no skunk and that is a beautiful thing

If its on Tap I am drinking it! probably a little to irresponsibly

 968 characters

Photo of Cylinsier
2.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

large bottle

Pours very light clear gold, white head, so-so retention.

Smells grainy and a tad sweet.

Taste follows, barley malts and a bit of rice sweetness.

Thinner with mild carbonation in the back of the mouth.

This isn't really a beer that you would drink for the beer's sake, but it does actually compliment Japanese cuisine very well. Besides that, it's just a typical rice lager, nothing more. Kirin and Sapporo are better. It may be on par with Asahi for me. Pair it with food and it gets the job done.

 519 characters

Photo of bmwats
3.1/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 633 ml bottle into an imperial pilsner.

A: Medium golden color. Heavy carbonation. Pours about a 3 finger, foamy, white head. Disintegrates fairly slowly, leaving a pock marked surface as it does. Light lacing remains.

S: Lightly pungent grainy nose with a hint of floral sweetness.

T: Tastes like it smells. A little baked bread graininess, with a bit of a funky pungent flavor, and a slight non distinct sweet note.

M: Light body. Very refreshing quality. A little pungent aftertaste, not much else.

D: Refreshing quality, and nothing off putting makes it an easy drink.

Atmosphere is decent. Nice full, foamy, head. Nose is pretty non-distinct. Flavor similarly, is nothing special, but not off putting either. Overall, this is a decent quaff.

 764 characters

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer review from BA Mag Oct 2007.

There seems to be a lot more lore within Japanese culture associated with the Orion star cluster compared to Greek mythology. Thankfully, this is a beer review and not a historical debate.

Fizzy foam builds up to two fingers in height then slowly dissipates to a thin crown of lace. Bright and clear and pale golden yellow. The aroma starts off with a noticeable cooked veggie smell, some hay-like graininess and herbal hop layered underneath. Watery mouthfeel with a light body, ample crispness. Malt flavor comes across this but not astringent, though perhaps a hint of barley husk. Clean with a slight hop bitterness and a tiny kernel of malt dextrin in the middle. Dry grassy finish.

Clean from the start to end, undoubtedly one of the more flavorful mass-produced lagers from Japan. A sure pick for us when next thinking of sushi.

 872 characters

Photo of srandycarter
3.48/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this at the local sushi place in bomber.

A - Straw colored, very white 1 inch head, slowly leaves with tight bubbled cling lace.

S - Light malt, light hops. Breadier than expected. The operative word is light.

T - Taste matches smell. Light and easy on all accounts.

M - Light bodied, good coating and carb.

D - Very easy to drink - - would have a few out by the pool.

 377 characters

Photo of Beejay
3.08/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Straw yellow with white head fading to just larger bubbles.

S: Skunk up in this grill. With a bit of malt in the back, no hop aroma. Hint of rice.

T: Not a lot of skunk in the flavor which is nice. This is a lot more delicate than american versions. Definitely taste the rice, quite clean and easy drinking.

M: Clean, crisp, and cool. A little highly carbonated, but that seems to style.

D: Very drinkable, but not flavorful enough to want multiple rounds. I would still order it over some american macros though, just because it is a fresh taste for me.

 562 characters

Photo of xraided81
3.25/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 22oz bomber at a japanese steak house.
a: crystal light, blonde effervesent appearance
s; a subtle hint of sweetness, perfume like sweet smell blends with the alcohol
t: does not have the dryness that is present in mass produced japanese lager, i am getting a hiint of sweetness, that makes this beer have ale characteristics.
overall impression, i would drink this again but i wouldnt pay for more than one of these at a steakhouse

 446 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
2.67/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Aroma is crisp and malty, OK, but nothing special. It pours a clear straw-yellow with a fairly thick white head. Flavor is rather wan, malty and rather sweet with just a hint of hops, again nothing special but still drinkable. Texture is smooth, fizzy and just a tad on the thin side. I won't be seeking this out again, but it was worth a fair shake.

 350 characters

Photo of Bookseeb
2.74/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance is a nice golden color with a fine crisp head. Smell of rice with a light earthy note. Taste of the rice with good hop having a light metallic bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel has good body for a lager with a nice spike of carbonation. Not bad, but could use a little more balance.

 288 characters

Photo of deruiz10
3.23/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into a pilsner glass.

A - Two-finger head is white and frothy, retains pretty well. Pour is a clear yellowish gold.

S - Metallic, bland maltiness. Nothing stands out really.

T - Plain malts, hints of sweet honey and some meek hops. Finish is slightly biscuity and earthy.

M - Medium to light body with moderate carbonation, but crisp.

D - A refreshing beer, definitely goes well with sushi but nothing special.

 429 characters

Photo of theboozecruise
3.47/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured this one from a brown 633ml bottle (odd size...) into a German-style pilsner glass. The beer pours a clear golden color with a bubbly white head, about 3 fingers worth. A very typical lager appearance, nothing special here.

The smell is the same, just what you expect from a lager, and the adjunct rice used doesn't stand out particularly. The dominant aromas are grassy, earthy, cool smells.

The taste is better... but it's still nothing bold. Extremely crisp and refreshing, which might not be the best way to describe a beer's taste, but it works. There's nothing bad here, just nothing special.

I'm sure these rice lagers are extremely popular in Japan, their versions of BMC lagers or Euro macrolagers, but I do find this to be a little better than the American versions.

 786 characters

Photo of mightyj
3.43/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

have had this from the bottle a number of times.

A - clear light yellow color with an ok amount of head

S - not too much going on here. some barely w/ a slight hop smell

T - taste i feel is very similar to weihenstephaner original. clean smooth sweetness with a little hop at the end to round it off

M - against it's clean crisp with a good amount of carbonation.

D - this is definitely a session beer.

i keep thinking this tastes like weihenstephaner original. it's the same beer!

 489 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear pale yellow in color, a small white cap rises and slowly settles to a thin ring.

Not much aroma to speak of. Faintly crackery with the slightest hint of butter. Subtle yeast and lemon zest. Not bad, but extremely bland.

The taste is similarly bland; watery up front, dry and fizzy with a slight mineral flavor. The mid-palate reveals a hint of malt and a slight slickness. Dry and lightly bitter in the finish. A clean and refreshing lager, albeit pretty bland.

 469 characters

Photo of Devildog3
3.82/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my beer of choice when I was stationed on "The Rock" many moons ago in 1984. At the time, I remember it being available in mini plastic kegs, in beer machines on the street and on tap at local bars throughout the island.

I tried other Japanese brews such as Kirin, Sapporo and Asahi. Definitely decent and respectable beers in their own right. However, this particular brand was it for me.

Fast forward to 2009 and some things haven't changed. Drinking this again was like going back in time for me. Has a generic, floral taste with moderate spiciness and nice gold color and decent drinkability.

This may not be everyone's beer, but ahh, the memories!

 666 characters

Photo of Jablonski
2.44/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It pours a crisp clear gold with a very small head and no lacing. It smells very similar to the USA macrolagers, except a bit stronger (stronger not always better). Its a sweet smell with only a touch of hops. The taste is also very generic. Its incredibly sweet all the way through with a slightly metallic aftertaste. Mouthfeel is a bit thin with average carbonation. There's nothing foul in this beer, so the drinkability is rather high. However, I probably won't be buying this beer again.

 493 characters

Photo of UnionMade
2.44/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours clear, pale gold, with a thick, dense white head. Lots of lacing on the glass. Looks like a really nice pilsner.
Mild, soapy hops come through most in the aroma. Clean, with crispy, grainy pils malt. Nothing great, but there aren't any apparent flaws.
The flavor comes across as flat and emotionless. I hope for a vibrant, sparkling texture, but this is rather weak bodied and underwhelmingly carbonated. Strange, because the carbonation is there, but fails to add much life to the brew. If it's possible for beer to taste glassy and transparent, this is it. The finish is actually kinda watery, with a dry, vapidly bready aftertaste that's not quite pleasant. Mild hops are lackluster, and exist simply to provide balance. I think this might be equal to Coors Light in terms of the level of flavor.
I bought this mainly for the novelty of trying an Okinawan beer, and for the sturdy looking large bottle that looks great for homebrewing. I didn't have any expectations good or bad, but there's far better beers to be had from the nation of Japan.

 1,053 characters

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 633 ml bottle a clear lemon-yellow with a thin white cap of foam.

Aroma of sweet grains, pineapple, and table salt.

The taste is sweet and grainy along with some malts, lemon and just a hint of banana.

Lighter bodied, crisp and dry with a sharp carbonation.

Paired this with sushi and was pleasantly surprised. Not great, but not all that bad.

 361 characters

Photo of jsp2
2.52/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

633 ml bottle poured into pint glass leaves thick white foam with a clear, bubbly light straw colored liquid.

Slight aroma of faint barely and floral hops.

Slightly sweet barley taste followed by a slight hop bitterness.

Feel is very light, very little body.

Quenching and one could put away many of these.

I bought this for the novelty of it. Similar to a lot of light lagers but a little bit cleaner maybe.

 416 characters

Photo of gabe23
2.36/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pale, clear yellow with a frothy head. Practically no retention or lacing.

S - Unappealing grainy, corny aroma. A touch of skunkiness hit me right after opening, but it seemed to fade over time.

T - Overly sweet to start, with some sourness immediately afterwords. Stale grains, a metallic flavor, and a slight hoppy bitterness finish things up.

M - Watery with an excessive amount of carbonation.

D - I guess this is drinkable as far as cheap macros go, but I was not impressed at all. Definitely not one of the better Japanese rice lagers.

 549 characters

Photo of mmmbeer
3.28/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sweet 633 mL bottle with some code on the label; brewed with malt, cornstarch, corn grits, rice, water and hops. It's a crystal-clear, bright, light golden color, with light carbonation and three fingers of fluffy head that leaves a few patches of lacing. Very light aroma that is sweetish with a few notes of corn, and is almost pleasing really. Almost. Grassy and doughy malt flavors up front, backed by lemon, a hint of spicy hops, and a mild bitterness. The body is light and tingly, dry, and has a short finish. Not too bad of a beer really - it's nice and refreshing, and there are no real off-flavors. A decent, Japanese lawnmower beer.

 643 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The label on the bottle reads "Orion draft beer's clear mild taste is widely loved as an Okinawan original". Just exactly how "original" it is, I'm not sure. As for the "clear mild taste", however, I'm completely sure of that!

It pours a crystal clear golden body beneath an average-sized head of bright white that holds fairly well, bolstered by quick rising, fairly large bubbles from below. Minor lacing is left about the glass.

The aroma is clean, and quite generic. It smells like "beer" - a mild combination of lightly grainy and subtly sweet malt and some fairly non-descript hops.

In the mouth it's light-medium in body, and fairly effervescent, leaving it quite zesty on the tongue.

The flavor is as might be expected of any mass-produced golden lager. Straightforward, lightly grainy and mildly sweet malt is tempered with gently floral, and very subtly grass and spicy hops. It's superbly balanced, however, by a gently firm bitterness. The start is like the finish, the finish like the start, and there's not much of a bump in between.

Not that that's a bad thing, if that's what you're looking for. There IS some flavor here, and although it is basically "fizzy yellow beer", there's a time and place for that just as much as there's a time and place for a thick, rich barleywine. On a really hot day, out in the sun at a ballgame or out on a fishing boat, this would certainly serve a purpose.

 1,413 characters

Photo of Zorro
2.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Clear yellow colored lager with a small white head.

Light hop aroma mostly lemony with a faint rice aroma. Slight vegetable aroma but this really doesn't smell like much.

Starts out mildly malty with a slight hop flavor. Slight oxidation flavor and very mildly sweet. But the truth is this doesn't taste much like anything.

Mouth feel is your basic club soda.

Drinkable in the way club soda is. OK tried this once, NEXT!

 424 characters

Photo of SilentSabre
3.11/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Obviously, not my first choice, but it is what it is, and I rated it accordingly. Poured up a very light crystal clear straw colour with a one finger thick snow-white soapy head. Smell was a bit grainy like 100's of others in this style; honestly, there was little to it. Taste was extremely light with a small bit of perceivable rice and a slightly dry finish with a bit of a biscuity profile to it. Mouth feel was about as thin as it comes. Quite drinkable considering the style and when you'd be likely to have this. Would I go out of my way to purchase this for drinking at home? Certainly not. Would I order it at a Japanese place to wash down my sushi? Probably. Decent, considering the style and toward whom it is targeted. As always, glad to have the chance to try it out.

 780 characters

Photo of Weizenmensch
2.95/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Can of Orion Draft Beer, different from the old one in the picture at time of writing, and 5.0% instead of 4.7%. Freshness date 2009.06.

A: Pours a pale yellow with initial strong carbonation, with a small head that dissipates to almost nothing. Some carbonation retained though. Looks like a pretty mediocre island macro lager.

S: Not much to speak of. Poured at the appropriate temperature for drinking, albeit on a winter's night in Kyushu, a fair bit colder than it would be in Naha right now. Some vague grain aromas and that's about it.

T: Reminds me very much of Australian macros, more than any other lager I've had since coming to Japan. Maybe that reflects the fact that 100% malt is used, but many additives are involved as well. True Japanese rice lagers and happoushus have a sweeter, subtly poisonous taste that lingers skunkily on the palate. Orion has an unpleasant aftertaste too, but definitely in more of a Carlton Draught way than a Kirin Lager way. In short though, it's pretty easy drinking, and it's good enough, considering my taste buds have been numbed as I've gotten accustomed to the paltry efforts of Japanese brewers.

M: Nothing there. Nothing unpleasant remaining either though.

D: Actually better than most Japanese beers, to my surprise. Maybe there are different taxes on barley malt in Okinawa - this is the reason Japanese beers use so many unpleasant adjuncts such as rice, corn and other cereals.

Overall, worth a try, if only to broaden your cerevisial geography - for an East Asian macro lager, you can definitely do worse.

Re-review, 1 March 2011:

Re-reviewing this formerly well-known beer - it doesn't deserve the reputation it may once have earned. Long-term Japan residents still rave about it; not sure if it was always owned by Asahi but it's no better than any of their other Japanese market mainstream brews.

Tastes a little different - slightly malty, a little skunky. While it doesn't make for a great-tasting beer, at least it is evidence that they tried to make this resemble one. My can is nearing its freshness date and, considering where I bought it, may have spent some time sitting in the sun, or on the shelf for a long time.

I see this beer occasionally in Japan and due to its relative rarity, somehow think it's better than regular Asahi, Sapporo or Kirin lagers. It isn't and I should remember to stick to Guinness for want of anything more interesting. Stupid Japanese malt taxes.

For more tasting details, please consult my other review (the outcome turned out about the same).

 2,553 characters

Photo of July2Nov
2.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Very light golden hue with an inch of frothy head that soon went to half an inch and remained...very carbonated.

Smell: Got a sweetness along with an earthy (slightly skunky) scent.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Very light...has a sweetness reminiscent of what you would find in apple juice. Slight dry aftertaste. Very mild and weak when it comes to the overall life of the beer.

Drinkability: Nothing special. Average at best. Had it with some sushi and did it's job, just don't envision seeking this one out as a must have. I could see drinking many of these in one setting on a hot day, as it's akin to water.

 617 characters

Orion Premium Draft Beer from Orion Beer Co., Ltd.
2.97 out of 5 based on 271 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.