Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Craft beer from Japan is a improbable reality these days, with KIUCHI BREWERY (commonly known under their brand, HITACHINO NEST, and their wacky owl mascot) leading the way, at least in terms in imports & perception in the USofA. I can’t speak for the others I’ve read about – primarily BAIRD BREWERY – mostly due to lack of availability and/or cost when I have found it. But KIUCHI/HITACHINO, I know them. Their WHITE ALE is everywhere, including a ton of Japanese restaurants I’ve been to over the past year. The other day while shopping for new ales to put into my belly, I picked up a 12-oz. bottle of their COMMEMORATIVE ALE, mostly because I thought I’d read somewhere that it was outstanding. Turned out that that was actually their CELEBRATION ALE. Ah well.

HITACHINO NEST COMMEMORATIVE ALE is a real “foamer”, as the picture you see here will attest. Don’t worry, that thing calms down after a spell. It’s actually a pretty interesting beer. Close your eyes. Picture if you will a Belgian witbier – a little spicy, with tastes of orange peel and cinnamon. Now give it the malty heft and the darker feel of a winter warmer, along with a nutmeg-like taste. I know, right? It’s got a great smell, and there’s a lot going on here. For the most part it comes together really well, and it’s adventurous without being obnoxious or too difficult for a craft beer rookie to ingest. Hedonist Beer Jive says, “Oishii desu ne!”. 7/10.

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