HITACHINO NEST BEER.
My new favourite thing in the fridge is a Hitachino Nest Beer. This Japanese beer is more commonly known as Owl Beer to the non Japanese person, is the cutest, and tastiest thing in the beer aisle. The branding on this beer is what first caught my attention. A cute little owl that looks like a cross between the Sanrio character Bad Batz Maru and something from South Park was enough reason for me to purchase my first bottle of this beer. The choice of fonts used on these labels are equally fantastic, and if you like ginger beer how can you not fall in love with that personified piece of ginger wearing a collegiate/christmas sweater. For those who still collect bottle caps, this one should sit at the top of your collection.
The Kiuchi Brewery are the creators of this fine product and they have been in alcohol business since 1823. Of course the Japanese were making sake not brewing beer in the 1800s but I don't mind trusting my beer palate to a family with a long pedigree to making booze. In 1996, the brewery started their beer brewing business and the Owl branding takes flight. The Hitachino Nest Beer has won many awards including a victory at the World Beer Cup under the categories of best wheat beer spiced, and the best dark strong ale and they have scored Ws at the International Beer and Wine Summit, and Brewing Industry International Awards.
Let me explain my pallet, so you can gauge my barometer, my favourite beers are Asahi, New Castle and Grolsch and I dislike Guinness stout and really dark beers. What I must commend is that all of the Hitachino beers that I have tried all have a unique flavour profile. The White Ale was my favourite of the bunch. A great summer beer that has a nice hint of citrus, with an overall flavour that reminded me of a Hefeweizen. The Red Rice (not pictured here) is claimed to have hits of sake and strawberry carried a bitter boozey taste which is more than I like in my beer but still tasty, I just need to be in the right mood. Even the brewing process for the Red Rice Ale is different as it borrows techniques from the sake brewing method. The Red Rice Ale process include polishing and milling of the rice like the sake creation process, and pilsner malt is then added. The ale is brewed with both ale and sake yeasts and results in a smooth beer with a higher alcohol content (7%).
Getting this import is not cheap, but if it makes you feel better the Red Rice Beer, Ginger Ale and the Classic Ale all have 7%, and the Extra High is 8%. The White Ale which is my favourite stands at 7 or 7.5% alcohol depending if you follow the label or their website. The big boys cost me about 7 dollars and the small guys were 4 bucks a pop. In Vancouver, your local Liquor Control Board store doesn't carry these bad boys but now you have a reason to take a trip to Firefly located on Cambie and 12th.
If you are looking for something different give this beer a try, and if you want one with your meal Gyoza King also carries these guys.
The website is also pretty crazy and somehow doesn't make sense to me.