Feb 22, 2013

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale

The last time I had a beer from Japan’s Hitachino Nest, it was their tasty little Espresso Stout over two years ago. That beer was one of intriguing characteristics and this 7% ABV Red Rice Ale (a Belgian Strong Pale Ale) is even more so.

I’m not sure if the beer uses a combination of Belgian and sake yeasts or what, but for a relatively modest level of alcohol, it packs a wallop for such an unassuming beer. I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. I enjoyed it and would probably grab it again in the future, but its flavor profile is so unique that I’m not sure I could have it too often.


Red Rice Ale pours orangish amber in color with a frothy, full head.


The aroma is packed with a light, earthy hop character that’s accompanied with a citrus fruit notes, grains (rice perhaps?) and yeast. The nose is fairly unique to the style, but still rather subdued.


Just like the nose, the flavors of this brew are on the tame side, but not in a bad way. The beer has a refined character with light, grainy malts and a soft sweetness that slides across the tongue smoothly before transitioning to a finish that carries a lingering yeast profile. The brew isn’t warming, but man, does the alcohol go right to the head. And as relatively low-key as the flavors are, it’s got a unique presence about it that I can’t quite put my finger on.


Red Rice Ale is a rather unassuming beer that is dangerously drinkable. The flavor profile is interesting and different from any other beer of this style, but I couldn’t tell you exactly why — the reason or specific flavor escapes me. I will probably buy this one again, but not sure I can handle the bewilderment (a good thing here) that my taste buds will go through in the beer’s enjoyment.

Rating: 3.5/5

More: ,