Hitachino Nest White Ale
I’ve written much about the Hitachino Nest White Ale. It’s a Belgian-style witbier from Kiuchi Brewery in Japan. This is an easy-drinking beer that, similar to the German hefeweizen, is refreshing and well-carbonated, but not as yeasty. Thus, these styles lend themselves well to pairing with various types of food. A safe rule is that, when in doubt, one cannot go wrong in pairing a witbier or a hefeweizen with whatever one is eating.
The Hitachino Nest White Ale, however, was tailor-made for pairing with sushi. This isn’t just because both trace their roots to the same region. The crisp White Ale perfectly underlies delicate sushi and sashimi dishes. It does not overpower, the very criticism about wines that make them difficult to pair with the aforementioned staples of Japanese cuisine. Rather, the White Ale accentuates, playing second chair while letting the fresh fish lead an orchestra of flavor.
This is not to say, however, that the White Ale should always be relegated to a supporting role. By itself, it is a glorious beer, and one of the best of its style. The witbier is one of the best styles for a beginning beer drinker to try out. In the United States, Blue Moon is a macrobrewed wit which for many is a transition beer between Budweiser, Miller and Coors to craft beers. The same can be said for Hoegaarden Original White Ale, which I’m sure many Filipinos are already familiar with. While I haven’t tried Blue Moon, though, I can say for a fact that Hoegaarden is blown away by Hitachino. One may call Kiuchi Brewery out for “cheating,” as they use orange juice in brewing in addition to the traditional orange peel, but the end product really works. I was in the middle of my honeymoon with hops when I first tried this beer, and I didn’t get to appreciate it all that much. Its subtle, refreshing flavors have grown on me with every bottle. The malts and hops are perfectly balanced, the fruit notes are prevalent but not cloying, and the coriander adds a hint of spice that is just right for the novice beer drinker and a perfect jumping-off point to the rest of the traditional Belgian beer styles with stronger yeast and spice notes.
I’m more than willing to go out and say that once you’ve tried the Hitachino Nest White Ale, you’ll never go back to your tasteless Budweiser and San Mig Light again.