Hitachino Nest

A couple years ago Sarah and I stopped in at Noodle Theory, a little asian bistro in Oakland, CA. There an unknown little beer piqued our interest: Hitachino Nest White. A wit from Japan… could it be good? It was a delightful brew, which we instantly fell in love with. Since then, we have tried to find it here in the wilds of Colorado, to no avail. Recently we were back in the Bay Area, and discovered that our favorite grocery store, Berkeley Bowl carries several of their beers.

Hitachino Nest White
ABV 5.3%

This “ale brewed with spices and orange juice” proves to me that Japan can produce a great beer. The spices bring a wonderful nose, and unique taste: there is more than just coriander in here. What secret from the Japanese pantry did they use? Like a true wit, there is some residual yeast at the bottom of the bottle. I like whatever strain they use, as it brings very subtle, gentle wild yeast undertones. Everything about this beer is about restraint and subtle elegance. And there’s a cute owl on the label!

Hitachino Nest Red Rice
ABV 7%

Brewed with an ancient strain of red rice from Japan, this ale has a truly unique flavor. The closest beers I can think of are ryes, or beers aged in bourbon barrels. But that’s not quite it, because like the White, it has a subtle flavor… not like an American bourbon ale which smacks you upside the head. No, some serious ninjitsu was employed in brewing this. Arigato gozaimasssssssu.

Espresso Stout
ABV 7%

Rich and dark, this stout is the antithesis of what we think of as a Japanese beer. The coffee which presents on the nose, carries through as a bright flavor. The dark malt lends a sweetness to balance the coffee. Quite a tasty brew.

About the Author

avatar Geoffrey hails from the U.S., but has lived in Germany, Sweden, India and China. In his many travels he has sought out the best drinks to be found. He's burned his fingers on cups of Madras filter coffee in India, and discovered the effects of Baijiu on body and soul in China. He has tended bar at both a pub and Biergarten in Germany. He is co-author of a forthcoming publication on Udipi Restaurants.