Brewing tip #1: You can brew beer with just about any grain you want. Barley, wheat, rye, oats, corn, even quinoa! Now, I’m still not entirely sure what that stuff is yet, but hey, I googled “Quinoa beers” and bang, there they were…..
Regardless, it comes as no surprise that the Japanese have started making beer using their national grain.
Well, except in this case they’re using red rice. Apparently it’s better for you than white and brown rice. Who knew?
Which brings us to the intriguing sounding Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale.
First made in 1996, Hitachino Nest is an offshoot of the Kiuchi Brewery, which has been producing sake since 1823.
That ladies and gents, is your interesting fact for the day.
I picked this baby up at Purvis Beer in Richmond – my new favourite bottleshop – mainly because I haven’t eaten red rice before, let alone drunk it. And because I wanted to see if any other ‘craft’ beers from Japan could live up to the high standard set by the Baird Brewing Company (If you haven’t had it, get the Teikoku IPA. Thank me later.)
It’s described on the website (a page that has a pink and white, eternally-flapping, eternally-wide-eyed owl that hangs around on every page) as having “complex sake-like flavours with malt sweet notes. Hints of strawberries in the nose and palate. An intriguing mix of sake, malt, and bitter notes in the finish.”
Now, I’m not entirely about the sake-like flavours. Probably because I haven’t drunk much sake in my time.
The brew tries its best to freak you out when you pour it, thanks to the pink-ish hue the beer takes on, but once you actually taste it you get a malty, slightly fruity, slightly sweet strong pale ale (weighing in at 7%) that has one hell of a distinct aftertaste.
Certainly different to any other pale ale I’ve had.