Hitachino Nest beer review: Red Rice Ale and Japanese Classic Ale

[image-1]Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale (Belgian Strong Ale), 7.0% ABV

This brew, for the style, is very unique. It pours a nice reddish, almost berry-colored hue, with aromas of fruity sweetness and sake. The tasting notes on this beer are very different then expected. It looked like it would be very sweet and tart, which was not the case at all after tasting it. It was very light with hints of sweetness from the malt and had a fruity, wine-like quality followed by a milky sake taste, leaving a  slightly sweet, smooth and refreshing after taste. The sake notes that come from the rice are very unusual but show how playing with different ingredients in traditional styles pays off big time. I personally could only drink a few, but I can see how this is a very popular beer among the craft beer drinkers. This brew would pair well with a light arugula salad, a creamy cheese with some fruit and grilled salmon.

Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale (English style IPA), 7.0% ABV

[image-2]This twist on the classic English IPA results in a remarkably complex, yet sessionable brew.The Japanese Classic Ale has aromas of herbs, spices and some citrus. This golden-hued brew has great head retention. One of the better characteristics of this berr is how light it looks and drinks. The use of cedar casks, that are traditionally used for aging sake, help give a rounded fullness and creates a mildly hoppy brew that is smooth and crisp. The cedar notes are very apparent, but do not overwhelm the palate. In fact, it leaves one able to drink a few of these. Being that this beer has big flavor, yet mild and easy to drink, it would pair well with a number of spicy foods, sushi and would go very well with steamed clams. One could even use this brew when cooking seafood dishes.

Hitachino is certainly one of my favorite breweries that I will certainly enjoy for some time to come. Not only are they increasingly pushing the boundaries with their brews, but they offer such an array of different styles with unique spins on them, that will certainly keep pleasing palates and have people asking for more. I hope to see a lot more of this brewery in our local pubs, restaurants and stores.


Thomas Barris

The Wild Cicerone

Lately, you may have noticed the craft brew renaissance has started to sweep into your local pub, restaurants and supermarkets. More and more people are embracing these unique styles of brews that the normal macro beers can’t hold a candle to. More recently, older craft brands that have been around since the late '80s and early '90s have started to regain popularity and the notoriety they deserve. One company from Japan has been brewing beer since 1996 and in the past few years has been slowly making its way into the mainstream craft market. Hitachino Nest, by Kiuchi Brewing, has started to raise some eyebrows and tantalize people's palates.

Kiuchi Brewing Company, who is manly known for making world-class sakes, founded Hitachino Nest Beer in early 1996. They started incorporating different styles of beers with their own unique cultural heritage. Because of the lack of locally grown ingredients that one would normally use for brewing (malts, hops etc.), most are imported. They also use red rice, native spices and, of course, sake in some of their brews. A few of their unique brews are the Red Rice Ale and Japanese Classic Cedar Cask Ale.

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