I made a special return visit to the Yamamori Izakaya when I heard they'd got the Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale in. It's brewed using a mold-dyed rice known as "red rice koji" and the Kiuchi Brewery claims on the label that this turns it pink, but it didn't look that way to me: more of a hazy orange, I thought. There's an interesting sort of strawberry flavour to it, the sort you find in the better class of Irish red ales. The texture is smooth and wheaty and it's all very jolly up to a point. It finishes abruptly, however, with no proper aftertaste: an unforgiveable sin in a beer of 7% ABV.
I had heard disparaging comments about it from various sources but having tasted it now I can't agree with them. It's just not really as interesting as the vital statistics ought to make it.
The way the beers are listed on the Izakaya blackboard leaves it unclear whether the Pale Ale is a separate beer or just a description of one of the others. Turns out it is a beer in its own right: 5.5% ABV and dark gold in colour with a large fluffy head. No half measures here: it starts out with a blast of bitter and pithy orange, overlaid with an intense waxyiness I associate most with English bittering hops in large quantity. And then in the middle there's a surprising acrid funk, almost lambic-like in its vinegary sharpness and a long way from the flavours best associated with pale ale. It's not that I didn't enjoy it -- it's definitely a beer that makes you take notice -- but it was just one of those that's a bit too confusing to really impress.
Kiuchi's Japanese Classic remains my go-to in this line-up, with an honorable mention for the Nipponia.
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