Red Nile

Kizakura: Ruby Nile (Japan: Traditional Ale: 7% ABV)

Visual: Large banana to toffee colour frothy head over a ruddy brown to caramel colour body.

Nose: Cinnamon and toffee. Light orange peel. Slight fruitcake and cherry. Slightly sour.

Body: Toffee. Cinnamon. Herbs. Light liquorice. Lightly bitter. Orange. Slightly frothy feel. Fruitcake and wheat.

Finish: Liquorice. Basil. Slight mint leaves. Brown bread. Aniseed. Slightly sour. Cherries and fruitcake. Orange. Biscuits.

Conclusion: An ale made with recreated Egyptian wheat, and yeah, I can see that in the beer, but it reminded me quite a bit of the ESB style as well with its fruitcake and cherry flavours.

There is a nice frothy feel and easy going character, full of flavour, but also that herb and light bitterness that calls to more traditional ales. The heavier malt character however makes it feel much fuller than a lot of traditional style ales I have tried.

There is also a slight sourness that I have seen a lot in traditional ales and that makes it very easily drinkable. The herbs grow a bit as you drink, becoming slightly intrusive by the end. It does make the end of the beer weaker, but up until that point it added a nice touch of character.

The mix of ESB style fruitcake and the call back to traditional ales isn’t perfect in how they mix, but the balance of innovation to quality is enough that it is worth arty.

Solid, with a quirk and a tale. Only above average on flavour, but the interesting nature of it pushes it a bit above that.

Background: Made in conjunction with Kyoto and Waseda Universities to revive previously extinct wheat strains from Egypt and use them to make beer. There are blue, red and white Nile beers, of which I grabbed red. Red looks cooler, what you expected a decent reason when I could only barely read the bottles?

This beer was an unexpected one, our tour leader had helped us on an improvised journey to a sake area just outside Kyoto, and when we found it shut he showed us over to the Kappa Country brewpub as he knew I was a craft beer nut. (Kappa incidentally is the name of a type of water spirit in Japan) Now that is dedication! Anyway on seeing something that bit different amongst their beer line up I thought I would give it a shot.

As you may have noticed the pub served in paper cups as we were sat outside, grrr. However with a bit of improvisation and an empty sake glass jar I managed to get a photo of it in more natural conditions to show its colour.

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