Thursday, September 23, 2010

International Beer of the Week: Hitachino Nest White Ale

Country: Japan

Best Enjoyed: at a Hanami party (flower blossom viewing)

Hitachino Nest beer is a fine example of Japanese craft brewing. With labels sporting the lovable Pokemon-esque Owl, Hitachino Nest beer has earned a reputation both in Japan and abroad for great, innovative beer.

Brewed by Kiuchi Brewery (æœšć†…é…’é€ ) in Naka, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, Hitachino Nest beer combines European beer-making technology with traditional Japanese brewing techniques. The brewery has been producing sake since 1823 and did not venture into the beer industry until 1996. With a hint of traditional sake brewing methods and high quality ingredients imported from Europe, Hitachino Nest beers have won numerous awards worldwide. Visitors to Kiuchi Brewery can brew their own original Ales with a help of the award winning brewers. The brewing process roughly takes 3 to 4 hours and the finished products are delivered to your door in three weeks time (if you live in Japan). While Kiuchi Brewery brews a diverse line of innovative beers, the beer of the week is my personal favourite: the Hitachino Nest White Ale.

Hitachino Nest White Ale is proof that Japanese brewers can make great European style beers.  White Ale or witbier, as it is known in Belgium, is a Belgian wheat beer that differs from the German style through the addition of flavouring ingredients such as coriander and orange.

This particular white ale pours a cloudy straw-coloured beer with a creamy white head. Grain, malt and yeast dominate the first taste followed by a very refreshing citrusy-orange hop and spicy clove and coriander character. It is no wonder why this is one of Hitachino Nest's best selling beers when it tastes this good. This is an excellent beer and by Japanese, Belgian or any other standards. Simply delicious.

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