Kiuchi Brewery: Hitachino Nest White Ale

ABV: 5.5%

IBU: 13

Availability: Year-round

@untappd says: 3.65/5

Look what flew onto the sill today!

Microbreweries were a pipe dream in Japan, where liquor tax laws forbade all but four major companies from brewing beer. When those regulations eased up in the mid-1990s, Kiuchi—a well known producer of traditional sake and shochu since the early 1800s—took on the challenge of making beer. Two problems: its owner knew nothing about the beer making process, and the cost of learning from Japan’s big breweries, who weren’t too keen on losing their market share, were astounding. Rather than give up, Kiuchi turned to North America for the knowledge, ingredients and equipment it needed to make the beer dream a reality. The newly christened Kiuchi Brewery got up and running in 1996, and was making award-winning beers by 1997.

I’m a big stout and IPA guy, but the Hitachino Nest White Ale is one of my favorite beers. It’s Kiuchi’s take on a Belgian white ale, with lemon, orange peel and coriander used for flavoring, and I think they knocked it out of the park. This isn’t the cheapest beer in the world, but it’s worth the extra couple of bucks to get your hands on that adorable owl.

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