Kiuchi: Hitachino Nest: Amber Ale (Japan: Amber Ale: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Dark cherry red with half an inch of caramel brown bubbles. Quite still main body.

Nose: Milky chocolate. Fruitcake and malt chocolate. Some roasted elements. Cinnamon.

Body: Nice bitterness into fruitcake with raisins and cherries. Malt drink. Grapes. Walnuts. A greenery element, maybe egg plant maybe purple peppers, can’t quite put my finger on it.

Finish: Hope texture and moderate bitterness. Malt drinks. Dry fruitcake and lemongrass. Slight nuttiness.

Conclusion: Perfect timing on this beer. A day of running around getting internet fixed, clothes washed and ideas written down and by the time I broke the bottle popped open all I wanted to do was relax.

So, yeah all that and I broke this open, which turned out to be a nice touch of synchronicity.

The texture is all slick, but with a slightly gritty malted drinks touch. Already pretty soothing, with a moderate bitterness to just get your attention.

The elements of fruitcake and roasted nuts are not heavy, but are easily identifiable. Very easy to drink, and the call to mind of fruitcake gives and almost psychosomatic stodgy feel when combined with the texture. Again very relaxing.

It’s a nice balance twixt hops wake up call and the soothing texture, with that solid, if not fancy, flavour in between. Then there is the slight odd lemongrass like hop twists. An element I associate a lot with Japanese beers, but here they keep it tucked away at the end, add interest but not intruding.

Despite the flavours not really trending that way, the mix of texture and the flavours floating over a solid base does put me in the mind of a good quality coffee. Though that could be just because it reminds me of a fancy coffee I tried a few weeks ago, really juicy and lightly fruity. Unfortunately not being a coffee connoisseur I have no idea what the name of the coffee was.

It’s not fancy beer, but it is good and exactly what I needed at that point in time, which is just as important. I could easily see myself keeping a few bottles of these around for general drinking.

Background: As indicated in the conclusion I had quite the hectic day before this one, one that finally resolved my recent internet issues.  I am a big fan of Japan in most things so have a slight bias towards their growing craft beer scene.  I’ve had a chance to try Hitachino’s Ambers Ale a few times before, but always plumped for something that looked more interesting. It’s probably the name, “Amber Ale”, while descriptive doesn’t really fill you with a need to try the beer.