Hitachino Nest White Ale is reviewed by Chris Hall.
Hitachino Nest White Ale
Hitachino Nest beers are starting to pop up in many of London’s beer geek craft beer bars and shops, and have quickly and rightly earned a reputation. All of their beers are precision-brewed, subtle and exciting, and are further proof that the Japanese can turn their hand to anything and do it with passion and panache. The White Ale from the Hitachino range is no exception.
Sold in a mighty 720ml bottle, this White Ale pours a soft, cloudy gold, with a thick, weissbier head. The haze is milder than that observed in a German wheat beer, but any doubts about its intentions are quickly dispelled by the aroma. The classic notes of baking bread and lemon sit comfortably alongside the advertised coriander and orange peel. The nutmeg mentioned on the label also makes an appearance, but as a very soft afterthought.
The first sip lays a foundation of cheesecake-base and sweet-yet-sour orange peel. A further taste builds on this, adding layers of lemon zest, sweeter orange and spicy, tingling nutmeg that stick around and develop into an almost ginger-like finish. Everything is measured in pinches, not overexcited, American dollops, and you get more with each and every taste. The body seems too thin at first, but this actually allows the subtlety of the flavours to shine. The spiciness in the finish is delicate yet poignant. This is simply excellent brewing.
This is a food beer, make no mistake. Wheat/wit beers can be adaptable in this regard, but the best thing to match Hitachino Nest White Ale with is something as subtle as itself. Salmon, preferably sashimi, and light, creamy deserts become poetry when paired with this spectacularly understated beer. Hitachino Nest beers will almost certainly cost you a lot more (even more than high-end craft stuff), but be in no doubt that you are making a seriously rewarding investment. Treat yourself to one today and start worshipping small owls.