Hitachino Nest White Ale was the second beer I marked of the list during my last trip to Archive. I enjoyed it so much that I also purchased a takeaway bottle to enjoy at a later date; this drinking note is a combination of the draught and bottled versions. This is a Japanese (yay!) beer made by the Kiuchi Brewery, with 5%ABV
The bottle says:
The logo for the Hitachino Nest beers is a caricature of a little red owl, which is found on the front label and the bottle cap. My girlfriend was with me when I bought the bottle and she absolutely loved the little owl, to the extent that she kept the bottle cap when I finished my beer. I must admit, even I think it’s cute, and it’s immediately recognisable – if it were more widely available I’m sure it would fly off the shelves (get it, ‘fly’…ha-ha) The rear label is mostly in Japanese, but there’s a passage of English advising that the beer is brewed with wheat malt and flavoured with coriander, orange peel and nutmeg…gives a good idea of what to expect.
The draught version attracted many comments from around the table regarding the appearance; ‘it looks like a tasty glass of orange juice’ probably summed it up the best. The bottled version looks the same – a vibrant orange/yellow colour, very clear body and barely any carbonation visible. There’s a bright white head that disappears all too quickly. The aroma is bursting with orange zest and spices; the flavour follows suit, with orange peel very prominent and some coriander playing back up. There’s just a whisper of bitterness at the end, and the finish is dry. The orange is definitely the star; it’s like fresh orange juice in soda water, in the form of a fantastic beer. It’s going to be a shame to let it warm up.
Using my amazing powers of self control, I’ve allowed the drink to warm…slightly. There are other fruity characters present now; it’s become an orange, mango and passionfruit soda. There’s a candy type of sweetness present now, which adds to the illusion that I’m drinking a soft drink. The body has softened a little, and now has an almost creamy finish. All these factors would be too much if the bitterness wasn’t there to create some balance; it’s much stronger now, and reminds me that I am in fact drinking a beer.
In my Mikkeller Black drinking notes, I commented that it wasn’t the best beer for drinking on a sunny Sunday afternoon – Hitachino Nest White Ale on the other hand is DEFINITELY one of the best beers for enjoying on a sunny afternoon, regardless of what day it is. This is going on the shortlist for the beer of summer (I can’t wait for that tasting session!) My girlfriend also tried the draught version and loved it; considering her dislike for most things beer, this is a huge statement about the beers approachability. It tasted fresher off tap, with more citrus in the aroma and flavour. The bottled version was still very good…but maybe I should go and get a growler of it while I have the chance.