Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale, from Kiuchi Brewery, is reviewed by Chris Hall.
Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale
“This red rice ale is brewed using a red rice from ancient times. Please enjoy the rose pink colour along with the fruity flavour and aroma.”
Talk about an offer you can’t refuse. Hitachino Nest, they of the small owls and delicious, delicate beers, have some of the most interesting and beautiful beers I’ve ever tasted, and the Red Rice Ale is a curio that simply has to be tried.
Whilst it isn’t quite pink, it certainly is a rich, pinkish orange. I found the head to be feisty but short lived, and not nearly as bountiful as in the above promotional image. The aroma is fascinating, offering a savoury scent reminiscent of pastry, along with little notes of soy sauce, smoke red wine and black pepper.
The beer has a lager-like body, and a similar short-and- sweet first taste. Instead of a pilsner POW at the end, there is a thick, honey like sweetness that has that odd, pastry feel to it. Given that this is 7% ABV, there is little evidence of alcohol and the body is relatively light. The red rice is tangible certainly, but elusive, and the whole experience feels more like sauce than a beer. It’s a drink that furrows the brow, but in the way a good book might. It is an intellectual work out more than anything.
For all its multi-faceted intricacies, this is a delicate and gentle beer. Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale now occupies the centre part of my Venn diagram labelled Wine/Beer. All I know is more words will need to be invented if they keep at this brewing lark.