After my first real-world paycheck (excluding agencies), I indulged and bought a shit load of beer. I bought two beers from Kiuchi Brewery because I thought, hey, why not buy some Japanese beers?
The first was Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Ale. Firstly, I love ginger. Any type of ginger - fresh ginger, gingerbread men, gingernut biscuits, ginger in stir fries, Jamaican ginger cake, whatever. I'll go mad for it. Most ginger beers I've tried (Crabbies etc and the like) are often way off the mark - incredibly sweet, no alcoholic flavour and definitely none of the intoxicating gingerness I'm after. For me, the perfectly balanced Old Jamaica Ginger Beer is what I judge every alcoholic ginger beer against, in an incredibly prejudicial way. Old Jamaica has the right balance - carbonation, refreshing and fiery at the same time.
So this is what the 7% Real Ginger Ale is up against. The aroma is definitely ground ginger - akin to gingernuts/ gingerbread rather than fresh ginger. There is a slight fieriness that awakens the nose (like snorting some pepper!). In the glass, the colour is a dark brown with an orange tinge. The beer has a strong malt flavour, and the ginger is quite subtle - you may not even notice it! It's more like a twinge of gingerness. There is a sweet aftertaste, it's a light beer with not much alcohol (deceptively drinkable). Overall, it's unfortunately a bit bland. I still have a long way to go to finding the perfect alcoholic ginger beer!
Next up its the 7% Red Rice Ale - what do you expect from red rice?! I've never had red rice - my palette of rice has extended all the way from white to brown (alright, I've had basmati). Really unusual smell, really unusual. I suppose it smells of rice?! The colour is much clearer - more orange with a light brown - it has an 'IPA' colour. The more I smell it, the more it smells of Budweiser. Brewing beer with rice goes back centuries in Japan, and I don't really want to compare this craft beer to Budweiser (which is alright, but really, no) , but that's what it smells and reminds me of. It has a very clean taste, though slightly sour. Nothing really stands out - its not malty or hoppy, its ricey.
Overall, would i buy them again?No - it was nice to try something new but wish i had bought some of their more standard beers, as these beers seem more like experiments (which are always worth having!). Nevermind, onto the next beer!