Here’s your cheat sheet for Saison du Japon by Hitachino Nest (Kiuchi Brewery). Saison du Japon is brewed with a local wheat and kouji – which is malted rice to you and me. Kouji is the stuff used to make sake. Also, any beer with an owl on the label is clearly on to something good. (See also Velvet Brewing Co’s Moll’s Medicine for more owl action.)
Hitachino Nest, Saison du Japon / Saison / 5.0% ABV / IBU 16
Featured in main subscriber box on 22 March 2018.
Serve this beer at 6°C to 9°C; at least an hour in the fridge, maybe up to 90 minutes.
As ever, be wary of over-chilling your beer. More chill means less flavour. To learn more read my post on recommended serving temperatures.
Flavours to expect
What we’re looking for here is a light and refreshing beer with some tart sourness and a bit of a funky farmyard note, perhaps some peppery phenols, and a fruity side to round it all off. It should have a smooth, soft body from the wheat, perhaps kept quite light from the rice; it may well be quite highly carbonated with a fairly dry finish.
The hops used were:
- Perle: spicy, cedar, orange
- Kent Goldings: spicy, honey, earthy
- Pacifica: herbal, orange, citrus
- Hallterau: floral, citrus, spicy
The rest of the recipe calls for lager malt, Munich malt and wheat plus Kome Kouji (that malted rice), and some Yuzu juice. That last one should add a nicely citric tang with a little bit of mouth-twisting unfamiliarity thrown in.
Food pairings[pullquote cite=”Garrett Oliver” type=”right”]Saison is not just versatile, it’s downright promiscuous. It seems to go with almost everything.[/pullquote]
Saison can stand up to steak; its bitterness and carbonation are more than enough to see off the fat, leaving the earthier notes to marry up with the meat. And it can see off a sausage – particularly pork ones, given that many saisons display a green apple peel note that pairs up beautifully. Thai and Vietnamese food too work well, apparently. But this particular saison is du Japon, and is promising us a citric kick that suggests fish is really the way to go here. I think specifically something oily, with the fattiness to balance out the bitter and citrus from the saison. The carbonation will lift it all away and have you ready for the next bite. And with Japanese rice featuring in the saison it seems like sushi is going to be a winner. Get some nigiri topped with some beautifully fresh salmon or some maki rolls with tuna and I think you will enjoy it.