The Greatest Beer in the World…Hitchachino Nest (and yes, of course it’s japanese)

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

Ingredients:

1 instant brown rice brown (Trader Joes makes a great one, so does Uncle Ben’s)

2 Cups shredded frozen burdock and carrots (Found in the frozen vegetable section in a bag)

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.

23 thoughts on “The Greatest Beer in the World…Hitchachino Nest (and yes, of course it’s japanese)

  1. I was looking around on Tastespotting when I spotted the owl bottle. While it wasn’t Whole Foods, it was another natural food chain here in the NW which carried these adorable bottles and it took most of my will-power to not purchase them on the spot (I’ve had bad experiences choosing on pretty labels alone). And so now I must demand which would you reccomend?

    • Hey Samantha,

      Well…last night I had the White Ale, which was light and delicious and almost citrusy (kinda like a blue moon with an orange slice). I’ve had the Red Ale before and loved it…and I can’t wait to try the Espresso Stout!

  2. I’ve had the white and the red. Both really great and great for me because I am allergic to wheat, so rice beer is rad. Anyone looking for this in the L.A. area can get it at Surfas in L.A./Culver city.

    • Yes! I forgot to mention Surfas…they only had the White Ale and as a wise Japanese cartoon once told me….GOTTA CATCH EM ALL

  3. Have you ever heard of Galco’s? It’s way out in Highland Park, but they have hundreds of beers and sodas from around the world. Give them a call and if they have it, take the opportunity to go to Huarache Azteca down the street and enjoy some Mexican delicacies. Actually, I’ll go with you if you do.

    Also, lemme know if you wanna cook while you’re still in town.

  4. I gave a couple Hitchachinos to a friend for Christmas but haven’t tried them myself. Next time I’m at Hi Time Wines (THE SoCal spot to find beer), I’ll pick up a few for myself.

  5. I’m a huge fan of Hitchachino Nest. It is hard (impossible) to find locally, but we buy it whenever we travel out of the area. Served with soba noodles or sushi- divine!

  6. I can confirm that they carry the white ale and a few other varieties at Whole Foods. They’re sold by the bottle at about $5 each. I’ve purchased some at the one in Westwood. I’ve also been told that it can be found at BevMo if you’re lucky.

    • BevMo on Santa Monica confirmed they had the White Ale, but I can’t go there on principle….BEVMO…what an awful name.

  7. I got spoiled living in NYC where there were tons of huge beer bars with drink menus that made Half Blood Prince look like Sorcerer’s Stone.

    Now I’m down south and there’s literally not a liquor store in the city that carries Jameson Gold. I don’t even bother trying to look for an exotic beer, the best I can hope for is a TsingTao.

  8. Just stumbled across your blog looking for this beer. I’ve had the red rice ale, the stout, and the white ale. LOVE THEM! So glad they carry them at TJs. Thanks for the post–definitely heading over there tomorrow.

  9. I remembered seeing this post on Tastespotting and as I wandered around the Buford Highway Farmer’s Market in Atlanta, I about freaked out when I saw the bottles just sitting there in the mix with a bunch of European beers.
    Best part: the shelf said $4.99, but the checkout said $3.99, most excellent.

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