Friday, September 19, 2008
Taste test: Hitachino Nest Commemorative Ale
I was recently at Mitsuwa shopping center doing research for an article I'm writing, and decided to pick up a bottle of Hitachino Nest Commemorative Ale, from Ibaraki. I am a budding beer nerd and lover of Japanese lagers like Sapporo and Asahi, so I was excited to try this craft beer in it's cute little retro owl adorned bottle. It was hard to choose just one since they make a milk stout, red rice ale and a white beer as well, but at $4 a pop my budget didn't allow it. (I had already dropped $80 at Ikea nearby).
The commemorative beer appears to be a new years themed beer from the Japanese writing on the label, and is "brewed with vanilla beans and spices, coriander, orange peel, nutmeg, cinnamon." It's an opaque amber colored ale with a nice, spicy taste reminescent of dried fruit and oranges, perfect for the Winter holidays. However, this beer also suffers from INSANE HEAD. The bottle had been sitting in my fridge, totally inert, and I pour A GLASS OF FOAM, which I make the mistake of sipping, resulting in THE WORLDS FOAMIEST BEER BELCH (seriously disgusting). It's a well known fact that Japanese bars (in Japan) serve you 50% head when you order draft beer, it's just how they roll. I always assumed they were just being cheap, but maybe that's how they like it and this beer WAS ENGINEERED TO HAVE MORE FOAM THAN BEER! It's a great beer but I recommend getting a really big glass and letting it sit a few minutes before drinking less you too experience the belch from hell!
I am looking forward to trying other varieties, assuming they are less head oriented.