Don’t get me wrong, the staple Japanese beers…Asahi, Sapporo, Kirin…are all great at a Sushi bar and great to drop Sake bombs into, But they are nothing compared to Hitachino. Having discovered this little tiny craft beer from Japan a few months ago…the Asahis of the world have started to resemble the all-too-“drinkable” Coors Light (yes, I am a huge snob). I can’t remember the first time I had it…but it must have been somewhere in New York City.
The earliest memory I have is seeing it at the Boom Boom Room and freaking out and being like “OMG that’s the cute owl beer that I can’t find and is so delicious.” Ohh and JLO was there, but I was more impressed with the Hitachino Red Ale. I mean…just at look at the bottle, it’s adorable and curvy, just like JLO. Anyways…I went back to school and forgot about the cute little owl beer with the amazingly smooth and hoppy taste until I found myself at Royal-T in Los Angeles for a one-time only dinner by LA hotshot chef Ludo Lefebvre called Ludo Bites. Anyways, the meal was FINE, but they had Hitachino!!!!! The White Ale!!!!! Amazing!!!!! So, thus the quest for the mysterious cute owl beer was re-instated. Snooping online led me NOWHERE….except an old chow hound thread that mentioned that Whole Foods carried it (I have yet to test this).
NONE, I repeat NONE of the Japanese markets on Sawtelle had it, and none of the Japanese liquor salesmen had any idea what I was talking about (must be a snobby foodie thing?) A stop into The Wine House near the 405 held great promise and if left, LOW AND BEHOLD they had it!!! Four different brews!!!!! So I bought all of them…quite a feat at 5 bucks a pop, but I assure you, when I cracked open the adorable blue owl…slightly hoppy and light bliss poured forth. This beer is delicious, really really delicious. The brewery that makes it has been around for centuries as a Sake producer and apparently one day in 1996 decided to master the art of European-style beers, and I am so glad they did.
UPDATE! Okay so last night I tried the Espresso Stout and it was interesting? I mean WOW espresso!!!! BAM POW BOOM espresso! It’s a stout, so it’s already really dark and powerful and full bodied and throw in the espresso flavor and holy moly you have a very strong beer. I can’t say that I liked it..which is strange because Beer and Espresso rank pretty high on my list of awesome things, but Hitachino Espresso Stout has taught me that often the best-tasting things shouldn’t be mixed. I think I’ll stick to the ales.
Ales fair in love and war.
I didn’t want to impede on the taste of the beer (and I was cooking for 1) so I just threw together the easiest meal in the world. Well, easy…assuming you live near a Japanese market and stock up on instant brown rice bowls 🙂 and Shisho leaves.
The Easiest Meal in the World
aka Fast Japanese Food
aka Brown Rice Bowl with Burdock.
aka I’m broke and have no friends free tonight to cook for
1 instant brown rice brown (Trader Joes makes a great one, so does Uncle Ben’s)
5 Shisho Leaves
3 Tbs Soy Sauce
1 Tbs Sesame seeds
Do it UP!:
Follow the directions on the package of the brown rice, which should be something like “Heat in Microwave for 90 seconds). Meanwhile heat a small non-stick pan and start to sautee the frozen burdock and carrots untill the water is absorbed and they start to get crispy (about 5 minutes) Add the rice and soy sauce to the pan and continue to stir fry for three more minutes. Chop up the shisho leaves and sprinkle them into the pan. Done, serve, eat.