March 29th, 2009 beckel
Today I will be enjoying my first bottle of Hitachino Nest beer. These beers grace the shelves of many stores and apparently have since 2000 and this particular bottle was found at our beloved Four Firkins. Hitachino Nest is brewed by the Kiuchi Brewery of Naka-shi, Japan which has been producing sake since 1823 and started brewing beer in 1996 as well as most recently distilling Shouchu in 2003. The Hitachino Nest line contains a good number of styles but the XH I have here is extra special. This strong ale has been aged in oak casks that had been used for distillation of Shocyu sake and is sure to present some interesting flavors. Upon opening this bottle the neck filled up with foam though the bottle had not been agitated. When poured a four finger off white head was quickly created even though I tried to pour slowly noting the carbonation when the bottle was opened. Color is a dark hazy raisin though I do not see any sediment present, light only brightens the hue not allowing any light through. Aroma consists of hints of nutmeg and other spices you might expect in a holiday ale followed by dark pitted fruit. Flavor is very interesting, first come the dark pitted fruit flavors but they are toned down by the obvious oak flavor present. In addition to oak i definitely get some tobacco and other smokey and herbal flavors as well as an interesting alcohol hint that is likely imparted from the sake as this Strong Ale is only 7% ABV. There is a sweet malt character throughout this brew that works to balance all of the interesting flavors in this beer though this beer isn’t exactly balanced in the traditional sense. Mouthfeel is a bit sticky and the body is medium but it isn’t too hard to drink. If you are into interestingly flavored malty beers this isn’t a bad choice, it will likely show you some flavors American breweries don’t often work with. Certainly a tasty unique beer I’m glad I had the opportunity to sample, I may have to try some of their other offerings in the future.
March 29th, 2009 beckel
So many delicious beers in the fridge calling my name. As it is still rather early in the afternoon I figured I should start with something a bit more mellow than the bottle of Iniquity that sits in my fridge chilling ever so patiently. Here I have an interesting brew from the Two Brothers Brewing Company, the front of the label calls it a French Style Country Ale. I was tempted to pick up this beer a number of times but always found myself gravitating towards their Heavy Handed IPA or Northwind Stout, both of which are delicious by the way. Luckily my good friend and roommate recently gifted me a mixed six pack and managed to grab largely beers I haven’t had which isn’t the easiest task including this beer I have in front of me now. It pours a very appealing red amber hue that is barely translucent. Head is a crisp white and only about a finger that fades with in a couple minutes. The malty aroma is quite refreshing with some lightly roasted scents of toasted bread as well as a good deal of sweetness with a slight floral hop note on top.Â This is one interesting beer style. Tastes strongly of the toasted malts found in the aroma and is consistently sweet, though somehow not too overpowering. The floral notes i detected come out even more in the flavor creating an interesting mix of something a bit sweeter than apricots but then some characteristics of a dark pitted fruit but toned down. The beer finishes with a bit of bittering hop flavors but very little in comparison to the beers I tend to seek out. The body isn’t particularly heavy and the mouthfeel is quite smooth. This is a rather nice crisp but much more flavorful alternative to a lager and it is doubtful you will notice its solid 5.9% ABV too much. A good beer to try for someone interested in the BiÃ¨re de Garde style and over all a good choice for someone looking for something flavorful but still sessionable. The flavors in this beer would be a perfect compliment to a hearty brunch. Give it a shot and ride your bike.