Friday, 13 April 2012

REVIEW #97: Hitachino Nest Ancient Nipponia (Kiuchi Brewery)

Pours golden yellow with a crisp white head. Bright lemon and orange citrus nose with a sour touch. The taste is remarkably similar too; a pear and sharp sugary lemon tang (not dissimilar to Lemsip) is obvious at first as well as some funk-like tartness and vegetal notes which may be down to the use of Brettanomyces but is more likely to be the hop variety. There's and honeyed cream thing going on too. Balance is good; the creme-caramel malt is a little cryptic until the hop-attack wanes in the finish. I don't think I've ever quite tasted a beer with a hop aroma that captures fresh sourness of a lemon/citrus quite so well. The bitterness is more-than-adequate too, showcasing the dual-purposeness of Sorachi Ace. Needless to say Ancient Nipponia is endlessly refreshing. And I'm a Sorachi Ace convert.

The Kiuchi Brewery was first established in Japan in 1823 by a chap named Kiuchi Gihei as a way to use up spare rice stocks by producing that most Japanese of delicacies, Sake. In the 1950s Mikio Kiuchi inherited the firm and continued the sake brewing tradition. 1996 saw the company's first foray into beer, with the nascent Hitachino Nest range bearing the distinctive owl logo. The brewery purchased a vineyard in 2000 in which they cultivate Merlot and Chardonay grape varieties for their own range of wines. To brew Ancient Nipponia, Kiuchi revived an ancient breed of Japanese barley known as Kaneko Gold. Fuller's did a similar thing recently with the hitherto abandoned Plumage Archer cultivar. Kiuchi's Hitachino Nest Beer range is substantial and varied and is well worth seeking out (I have two more of their beers to review soon, including the unusual Red Rice Ale). I tried their Espresso Stout last year in Rome (an excellent Beer City!) and remember being impressed.
  • MALTS: malted kaneko golden (indigenous japanese barley variety)
  • IBU: ?
  • ABV: 6.5%

1 comment:

  1. Tried my very first Hitachino on keg at Brewdog Camden last week, I had the amber and the Mrs had the pale ale. Both were pretty good, but neither blew me away if I'm honest. I'd like to try something a little more adventurous maybe from the bottle asap


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