HoX Beer Review #3: Hitachino Red Rice Ale

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale, by Kiuchi Brewery

I went to the store looking for a different beer. In my last two reviews, I've tried two Belgian Ales (whether they're actually from Belgium or not), and I wanted to try something different. Something from a different country. How stoked was I when I saw Hitachino Red Rice Ale, from Japan, on the shelf?

"Red Rice Ale?" you ask? Well, they make sake from rice, and that's just wine. I'm sure it's not much of a stretch to make beer. Upon pouring, it looks like your standard pale ale at first glance, albeit a little cloudy. On a second look, it's a little lighter in color. Like there's some pink in there somewhere. On the nose, it smells a little like fruit. Say, strawberry. It's more subtle I expected. It was driving me crazy until I placed it. That is to say, it smells more like an India Pale Ale than a regular ale. It's not overly bitter like an IPA, though. It's slightly sweet on the tongue, and it's smooth as hell. Goes down really easy. This beer is delicious. There's no reason why you shouldn't buy this beer.

I've researched the Hitachino on a few sites, and the general consensus is that it tastes like sake. Even says so on the Kiuchi website. I think I need to go against the grain on this one. Just because this Japanese alcoholic beverage is made with rice, it doesn't mean that it's going to taste like other rice-made Japanese alcoholic beverages. I've never had red rice sake, so maybe it's similar in some respects, but if my memory serves me correctly, it's not like any sake I've had the pleasure of drinking.

At 7% alcohol, don't plan on going anywhere for a minute or two. Not that you'll want to. It's an excellent sit-around-on-a-Summer-afternoon beer. Too bad I'm writing this on a Sunday night.

I've been buying all my beers for these reviews in the 'tall-boy' size, somewhat inadvertently, but it's allowed for one and a half to two glasses of whatever beer I'm testing, which has been perfect. Especially for the Hitachino Red Rice Ale. If I could find this one in a sixer, I would buy it without thinking twice. If I ever owned a kegerator, I wouldn't hesitate stocking it at least once with Hitachino. And if it were in a restaurant, I'd buy it if I were eating anything besides a steak. Chicken. Fish. Kobe beef burgers. It's all fair game.

Expect at least $8 for the 720mL version.

Let this be the official installation of the "Best of 5" rating system for beer. I'm happy to give Hitachino Nest Beer Red Rice Ale:

5 out of 5


KPL said...

Maybe you should extend your ranking to a 10 point system so you can give yourself more room. I mean, you just gave that beer 5 out of 5 . . . that means you cannot have a better beer than the one you just had. And if you just had a beer, that means you are ready to come out and kick the ball around. Ryan is in Minnesota for a week, but I might get to the park next Sunday (before my foosball tournament of course).

Pia said...

You forgot to add how cute the bottle is.

Owls = Instantly adorable.
(And smart, too!)

I'm convinced the Japanese did this on purpose.

But see, if it was me, I would have put a bunny with huge buck teeth, teary doe eyes and one ear hanging all crooked. All sad and deep and shit.

Virge said...

A beer review? Cool idea Jeff.

Sounds like a great tasting beer! I'll have to look around up here in Calgary and see if anyone carries it. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your beer reviews. Us Canucks sure do love our beer!

"Mr. Rost" said...

Going "against the grain," eh? Nice pun (I bet you didn't even notice).

Jeff said...

You wish I didn't notice. I almost left it out, but decided against it.

How was Canada Jr.?

E said...

I second Kevin's motion to modify the scoring. Found this one on the Speaking Of Beer website

Each rated 1-10

Appearance - good/bad

Aroma - good/bad

Taste - good/bad

Mouthfeel - good/bad

Holistic Assesment- how YOU liked the beer, did it live up to your expectations of what it should be? Did it give you a headache? This part of the scoring is totally your opinion.

Total up the score and now you have something to sort of base something on.


Jeff said...

This is turning into quite the undertaking. Thanks for the suggestions, guys. We'll see how I end up scoring the next beer. I wasn't into Eric's suggestion when I first read it, but the more I think on it, the more I like it*. Guess I have to do something a little more legitimate for the next one than the already infamous Chocolate Stout, just to prove the legitimacy of such a system... Maybe the Bombardier.

*Now to steal it and modify it in such a way as to claim it as "original."

Jeff said...

If I remember correctly, I might've rated Hitachinko Red Rice Ale as such:

1 (Low) - 10 (High)

Appearance - 10

Aroma - 9

Taste - 10

Mouthfeel - 9

So... 38/40. I loved this beer. I really did. As you can tell from my previous review. I'm sure there's better beers out there, but this one's near the top for me.

Might switch to tenths, with 1.0 being perfect, and 4.0/4 being 100% perfect. Smaller numbers just feel more concise. So...


Yes? No?

Pia said...

I agree with changing the points system to 10.

But wouldn't the overall score be 9.5 / 10? Just so you stay consistent with the rest of your grades.

Good review. I will look for this Hitachino when I go to Kyoto.

KPL said...

Now that I think about it more, a perfect score should be one million. So that you can say, "I give this beer a rating of nine hundred fifty-four thousand six hundred eighty-two."

Jeff said...

You just can't make some people happy...

(smaller numbers = more precise)

KPL said...

Are smaller numbers really more precise Jeff? One million is a pretty precise number. It equals exactly one million. I don't think you can get more precise than "exactly".

KPL said...


Jeff said...

You're the gayest gay that ever gayed.

And yes, Viva Italia!

KPL said...

Well, at least I'm not the gayest gay that ever gayed a gay.

Jeff said...

I thought that was implied.

Julio said...

Where can i get this excelent beer online? any ideas will be really apreciated axuan01@yahoo.com