Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale, Kiuchi Brewery, Ibaraki, Japan

I found this beer in a 21 oz bottle at a Trader Joe's, which has a surprisingly varied beer selection. For the good of the site, I decided to review it, particularly since it was not another Lagunitas product for us to review.

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale is definitely the most unique beer that I've had in a while. As the name suggests, this beer is brewed with a special Japanese red rice. Additionally, sake yeast is added, as ale yeast is not able to turn the sugars from the rice into alcohol.

When poured into a glass, the red rice gives the beer a pinkish-red color, but it's not like it looks like a pink lemonade. It is unmistakably a beer. The best visual comparison would be something cloudy, like a hefeweizen, with a hint of pink. Like I said, very unique.

The aroma is similar to other Japanese beers, like Sapporo or Kirin, but with a noticeable sweetness. Some beers have a sweet aroma that is like the smell of sweet bread, but the sweetness in the Red Rice Ale is lighter and much less malty.

The taste is probably the most interesting part of this beer. There is a sharp, clean taste, and the sweetness from the aroma carries over into the flavor. But the good news is that the beer is not over-powered by the sugar. There is much less sugar taste than the aroma would lead you to believe. Interestingly, I can't detect any hop bitterness, which is usually used as a counter to sweet flavors. The well-balanced taste is able to hide any hint that this beer carries a 7.0% ABV. Impressive...

If you like Japanese beers, definitely give this one a try. The best comparison would be to say that this is like a Japanese craft brew as opposed to the mass-market Sapporo. Good stuff.

Rating = 3.5

Next time I have sushi, I'm going to have to get another bottle of Hitachino Nest...

1 comment:

eileen said...

i'd much rather try this one that that chocolate stout poison.