Kiuchi: Hitachino Nest: Pale Ale (Japan: English Pale Ale: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Light amber brown. Moderate loose bubbled toffee coloured head

Nose: Fruitcake. Digestive biscuits and malt. Vanilla fudge and red cherries.

Body: Light to moderate bitterness. Pineapple. Malt chocolate drinks. Red cherries and raisins. Fudge sweetness. White grapes.

Finish: Raisins and red cherries. Light to moderate hop bitterness. Slight dry feel and digestives. Grapes.

Conclusion: What is it about Hitachino Nest? Their big beers like XH are good but underwhelming compared to the close competition. However their understated, more main line beers such as amber ale and now this equally modestly named Pale Ale are bloody good beers. Both pack very high flavour to comparatively restrained abvs.

Much more malt dominated than I expected with a good mix of fruitcake, cherries and raisins, against a restrained use of fresher grape and pineapple flavours.  The bitterness is also restrained. It is definitely present but not excessive. Which all together gives a very satisfying and just slightly dry beer. That last bit is the killer element, some pale ales can seem far too attenuated. This does just enough to give a slight thirst inducing dryness to encourage further drinking.

While it is not a big beer I think it deserves respect as a very good beer. It is that oft overlooked more everyday beer, not quite sessionable due to the abv, but definitely has the flavour for it, bringing in great drinkablily and good flavour.

A very good general drinking beer, bringing character to an area that can be very dull. The term good general drinking beer can sound like a backhanded complement or nigh on an insult, but it is not intended as such. It s a beer worth keeping in good stock of, to enjoy at any time.

Background: Picked up from Brewdog’s guest beer section as part of my continuing exploration of the craft beer scene.  Looking at ratebeer I noticed an odd comment about the beer style, English Pale Ales.  In the UK pale ale and bitter are often used interchangeably. For example Timothy Taylor’s landlord is oft referred to as both, with pale ale usually referring to the bottled version. Therefore apparently the style English Pale Ale, is pretty much a foreign creation based on those bottled beers. Huh. You learn something new every day.