It's not often that you come across a beer that is unlike anything you've ever come across. Going into this tasting, I had a feeling that this beer was going to be a little different going in. For one, I've never come across a beer with "red rice" in the name. I literally had no idea what to expect going into this one and I think that was probably a good thing.
The beer pours a cloudy brown color with little floating black bits in it. While normally, this would really scare me off, something told me that this was just part of the experience with this beer, so I went with it. I've seen unfiltered beers before, but never anything quite like this. To add to the exotic appearance, there was a slight pinkish glow in both the beer itself and in the off-white head.
This really has nothing to do with how good the beer was, but I absolutely loved the label on this beer. The art is has a very old and traditional look to it. This beer looks like a champ. Alright, on to the taste.
To tell you the truth, as badly as I wanted to like this beer, I'm not sure I did. The rice is definitely there in the flavor and the first sip came through with an almost sake-like flavor to it. I don't know why, but after a few sips, I couldn't help that this beer tasted a little like a Budweiser (another rice beer), and that kind of stuck with me for the rest of the beer. Even though, there's a bit of a Budweiser taste to this, Hitachino Nest has a lot more going on. There's an earthy flavor to it and a slightly bitter and maybe even a bit sour aftertaste. This is such a strange little beer that I just don't think it's one that you're supposed to "love." That said, it is without a doubt a well made beer and one that's worth a try.
Final Grade: B+