Espresso Stout by Hitachino

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Beer Name: Espresso Stout

Brewer: Hitachino Nest Beer, Japan

Date Sampled: 15th October 2016

ABV: 7%

Serving Type: Bottle

Location Sampled: Home

Can you have too much of a good thing? I don't think so! I'm not sure whether it's the autumnal weather or simply my discovery of this sub genre, but I am a little bit obsessed by coffee mixed with beer.

The latest one for me to try is this Espresso Stout by Hitachino Nest Beer from Japan. Hitachino is a brand brewed since 1996 by Kiuchi Brewer, who themselves started brewing Saki as far back as 1823.

I haven't drunk much Japanese beer before; in fact it's been limited to a couple of lagers in the form of Asahi and Sapparo. Both were certainly better than average lagers but that's what they were.... lagers.

Now I'll have to be honest, when browsing Beer Gonzo the other day it was the label that first drew me in to this beer. There was just something about that cute little red owl staring out at me from within a trippy looking spiral. Then I read that it was an espresso stout and before you could say "you're supposed to be looking for Double IPAs" I had clicked the "add to basket button."

The beer is lovely dark brown, almost black, with a creamy caramel looking head that does hang around at about half a fingers worth for a while.

It has a smooth, almost silky mouth feel.

The nose is quite complex, with coffee, ginger cake and toffee all making an appearance.

It tastes very good; the coffee does come through strongly at the start, along with muscovado sugar and burnt toffee. Then some smokiness drifts in at the end, and lingers long after the mouthful has gone.

The balance and overall flavour profile is actually quite different to some of the coffee stouts that I've tried previously, but that's no bad thing. It's an interesting brew which is surprisingly easy drinking.

Japanese coffee stout... who knew!?!

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