Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kiuchi Brewery - Hitachino Nest Beer: Three Days

On March 11th, 2011, the Tohoku Earthquake erupted from the oceanic floor due to the subduction of the Pacific Plate. The Tohoku Earthquake's magnitude was 9.0, the greatest magnitude recorded in Japanese history. Subsequently, the earthquake unleashed devastating tsunamis upon the Japanese coastline leading to the much documented nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Power Plant. Four hours south of Fukushima, the Kiuchi Brewery, located in the Naka, Japan felt these devastating forces causing sections of the their brewery to be unusable. One section that needed refurbishing was the fermentation area that contained the brewing tanks. The tanks were angled (imagine the Leaning Tower of Pisa) and needed to be straightened. Brewmasters were forced to extend their mashing period three days causing natural fermentation to begin with the mixing a lactic acid culture leading to a very unique product.
Designated as a Witbier on BeerAdvocate, Three Days' appearance is in stark contrast to BCJP guidelines for Belgian Wits. Instead of being golden or straw colored, Three Days is reddish-brown rust with a very dense, foamy head. The head leaves little lacings along the sides of the glass. The body of this ale is hazy allowing very little light penetration.
The aroma was predominantly vinegar acidity leading me to develop an image of salt-and-vinegar potato chips. This acidity gives way to a sweet malt character and a floral component.
The taste is very interesting. An acidic, vinegar quality was the first part of the taste profile that I detected. This acidity was followed by a malt character and brown sugar. To complete the taste, Three Days contained the traditional orange peel character of Witbiers along with a distinct raisin quality.
Three Days, at 8.0% ABV, is a very smooth ale with a light mouthfeel. There is a small amount of carbonation that helps assert the tartness on the palate.
Overall, this beer is truly distinct. To me, it combines multiple styles (Witbier, Berliner Weiss, Red Ale), but each complements other with methodical precision. It is very refreshing and quite easy to drink. A remarkable story of brewing ingenuity in the face of tragedy. If you see this beer on the shelf or on tap, definitely give it a try, its uniqueness is quite memorable.



1 comment:

  1. I've read a lot about this one before. I've never been able to find it here, and we do get some strange Hitachino brews. I'm super jealous you got one of these. If you ever see another, pick it up and save it! I'll pay you back/enjoy it with you when I come up in April.

    As always, I'm loving the blog. Keep it up!