Beer of the Week: Hitachino Nest Beer White Ale

Unrepentant beer drinkers, rejoice! Each week, Clean Plate Charlie

will select one craft or import beer and give you the lowdown on it:

How does it taste? What should you drink it with? Where can you find

it? But mostly, it's all about the love of the brew. If you have a beer

you'd like featured in Beer of the Week, let us know via a comment.

Mr. Owl, how many sips does it take to get to the bottom of a Hitachino Nest Beer?

Let's find out.

Pour a glass of Hitachino white ale and soak in that pale, straw-colored body with the lacy head. Smell the citrus, the coriander, and the clove aromas. Then, take a big, fat sip.

And just try not to kill the whole glass in one beautiful, prolonged gulp.

Hitachino Nest White Ale is from Kiuchi Brewery, a Japanese sake- and

beer-maker with a history dating back to the early 1900s. It's

impossibly good beer. In fact, I'm tempted to call it the finest

Belgian wit ever made outside of the tiny European country.

Belgian witbiers are characterized by their cloudy pale appearance,

sweet and sour flavor, and spicy aromas. The color owes to the malt

used: Most incorporate wheat malt and are unfiltered to give that hazy

look. They drink thick, are crisp and refreshing, and can be great

summer or winter beers.

Hitachino Nest White ups witbier to another level. The complexity of

flavors in the brew is as deep as the Pacific. There's cloves and

coriander, two common spices in wit beers. But there's also the

warming smoothness of nutmeg and a deep, peppery bite that warms over

with just the right amount of pithy orange peel. Most important, I

think, is the Japanese perspective. The beer just finishes so nicely,

with a dry, warm, crisp finish absent of any sour aftertaste. It

reminds me of those crisp, Japanese lagers like Asahi that are so good

with Asian food.

To answer the question of how many sips, this is a beer to savor. Even

if it is so good you'll want to guzzle it down, there's so much going

on that it's hard not to take it all in slowly.

And how can you resist that owl on the front of the bottle?

Pick up Hitachino Nest White Ale at Total Wine and Spirits for about $8 a bottle.

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