Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The $11 Japanese beer: Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale

BEER: Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale
7%, $11 per 330ml!

I spotted this in the bottleshop on a fruitless quest for White Rabbit Dark Ale tonight. I didn't actually look at the price, such was my commitment, but shit it was a shock at cash handover time. Still, I pushed on, absolutely intrigued by an $11 Japanese ale. At the very least it would be interesting, right?

On that count at least I can confirm it's unique. Brewed in a strong Belgian ale style - Delirium Tremens-ish in a way - with a side of red rice thrown into the brew, it actually pours pinkish. It's reddy pink in colour, looking freaky-deaky in the glass, sitting sort of halfway between a modern 'pale, dry and savoury' salmon rosé colour and a Bellevue Kriek style Belgian fruit lambic. Regardless, it's wacky and I like a bit of wacky beer action now and again.

It smells reasonably normal given the colour, with a boozy, malted nose that carries a sneaky hint of strawberries (or maybe that's just my auto suggestion bouncing off the colour). I quite like the nose actually, it smells generous and interesting, floral even. Happily, it's pretty tasty on the palate too, with a rich, if even slightly restrained (for a Belgian strong ale) palate. Heck, there's a palpatable hint of rice in there too.

Like this alot. I can't imagine drinking much of it, but I did rather enjoy this solitary ($11) bottle.

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