I know you’re probably thinking, a White Ale in Winter?! But, there’s a method to my madness. This week’s beer is Hitachino Nest White Ale, brewed by Kiuchi Brewery in Japan. This beer used to be really hard to get hold of once upon a time. On one of my (not so regular) visits to Waitrose I noticed it on the shelf and had to pick it up! One beer I haven’t tried before, and I don’t think I’ve ever tried Japanese Craft Beer.
Let’s start with Kiuchi Brewing‘s description of the beer:
HITACHINO NEST BEER is a brand of our quality top-fermented ales. We started brewing HITACHINO NEST BEER in 1996 with a hint of our traditional sake brewing method. Since then, we’ve made a name and won numerous awards worldwide. HITACHINO has established the market in the U.S.A. since 2000, is now well known not only as a of unique “Owl” character, but also its innovative brews.
HITACHINO NEST WHITE ALE is a refreshing mildly hopped Belgian styled beer with a complex flavor of coriander, orange peel, nutmeg. White Ale has won gold medals at several beer competition in U.K. and U.S. This is one of HITACHINO’s top-selling beers both in Japan and U.S.
I like this description, there’s the History behind why they decided to start brewing beer. It also enforces the brand and lets you know a little bit about the beer. I get the feeling that Kiuchi don’t want to give away too much and let the reader decide for themselves how the beer tastes, although it’s backed up with the fact it’s won medals!
Let’s start with the Malt and Fermentables in this beer, first we’ve got Lager Malt, Malted Wheat. As for the adjuncts, we’ve got Flaked Barley and Flaked Wheat. Then a small amount of Pearle and Styrian Goldings on the Hop Bill. After this, the Bitter Orange Peel, Orange Juice, Nutmeg and Coriander are added. From just reading around and on the website, either a Sake yeast or a Belgian Wit yeast is used. Personally I think it could be the Sake yeast, as there’s not a lot of Belgian “Funk” coming from this beer.
When you pour this beer it’s a golden/yellow colour with a medium foamy white head. This dissipates after a short while leaving a small amount of lacing on the glass. The lacing eventually falls back into the beer. The nose on this beer is great, loads of Spicy Nutmeg and Coriander, some Orange, Lemon and some Floral aromas. This is followed by some bready Yeast and Wheat characteristics. When you taste this beer, the first thing you get is a hit of Sweet Orange, progressing on to notes of Coriander and Nutmeg. Whilst these flavours are in the foreground, behind it is a great backbone of Bready Wheat and Malt flavours to compliment the others. There’s also a little floral bouquet in there too! It ends with the bitter Orange peel. The beer is quite highly carbonated, as with a lot of Wheat Beers but the body of this beer is great! It’s almost creamy, a great change as a lot of Wheat Beers can be a little watery. It finishes Medium Dry. I really do recommend this beer, even if you don’t usually like Wheat Beers. It’s definitely one to try, even if it is the middle of Winter!
You can buy Kiuchi Hitachino Nest White Ale at Waitrose stores and online at:
EST. CALORIES: 165 ABV: 5.5%