Tasting: December 15, 2011
Style: Stout (Imperial)
The Kiuchi Brewery was established in 1823 by Kiuchi Gihe. He was a taxman that collected rice as payment from farmers of the region to pay what I guess would be akin to a feudal lord. He had the idea to use the surplus rice from these collections to make Saki. To this day, this central coast Japanese brewery still produces Saki. In 1994, Japan relaxed a law that required beer breweries to produce beer on a grand scale. As a result, microbreweries started to pop up all over Japan. In 1996, Kiuchi began to also produce beer under the name Hitachino Nest. In 2004, the brewery bought a parcel of land and imported chardonnay and merlot grapes from France. According to their website, they intend to add wine to their liquor offerings in the near future.
The bottle is distinctive with its owl mascot and squat shape. Yes, I did pour this beer with the sushi rolls pictured. I expected it to be a bit overpowering for the meal — but I was surprised. My first sip was creamy and filled with bitter coffee, chicory and chocolate notes – but it diminished somewhat as I worked my way through. Mouthfeel wasn’t as rich as the taste initially indicated somewhat watery. I thought that maybe the spicy wasabi had tainted my experience so I had the second half of the bottle about a half an hour after I finished my meal. Unfortunately, that first sip impression never returned. The chocolate and creamy coffee flavors were replaced with bitter chicory. I’ll still give it 84 points — but it could have been so much better.