Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale - Kiuchi Brewery, Ibaraki
I was expecting a run of the mill Asian rice lager when I picked up a single bottle of the Hitachino Nest. The label on this beer looks like a trippy 70s Anime cartoon (I guess the kids call that a Manga...). So what does the label have to say about this beer? Well, there are some bits in Japanese... but other than that I just see the name of the beer and the importer's sticker. Red Rice Ale isn't a terribly descriptive name, but then neither is Hitachino Nest... unless that means something in the Japanese home market. After drinking this Red Rice Ale I'm convinced the Hitachino is a bird known for being slightly fruity, rich in flavor and it's red-orange color.
This isn't my first rice beer, which is probably why I had some reservations about picking this up at the store. A few years ago I had a Singha Lager at a Vietnamese restaurant in Frankfurt. It was a bit of an international moment, being in Germany at a Vietnamese place drinking a Thai beer. It was magical... until I took that first sip of the Singha. I might as well have been drinking a Budweiser. So when I saw the Red Rice Ale at the store I couldn't help but think, "Oh great, this will probably taste like the Budweiser American Ale." It didn't. The Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale is actually, pretty delightful.
This beer is full bodied without being heavy or tasting like it has 7% alcohol. This beer tastes a bit like an Amber style but without all the hops. The taste is actually more malty, with hints of fruit. It's sweet and a little tangy but nowhere near Wit territory.
I'm really glad I decided to pick up this bottle of Red Rice Ale. It's been a pleasure drinking it and I hope I can find some more bottles of this in the future.