Beer of the week: White ales from Japan


Flag of Japan

For this week’s brew review, we move from China (via Birmingham) to Japan! I recently sampled two different Japanese white ales – Coedo Shiro Heffeweizen and Hitachino and I thought I’d offer my thoughts on both.

Coedo Shiro
I tried Coedo whilst dining out with my fiancee and her friend at an excellent London restaurant called Kintan. This very popular Japanese-themed restaurant located near Holborn, is quite unique in that you are served your food raw by the waiter and you must then cook it yourself at a mini barbecue provided at your table. The concept is very clever – and fun!

Being at a Japanese restaurant, I was keen to try a local brew and decided to give Coedo Hefeweizen a go. At first sip, this beer has some of the typical features of your average weiss beer – cloudy, smooth and aromatic with a slightly citrus taste. After a second or two lingering on the tongue however, you’ll notice a mild, but distinctly sweet flavour of banana. The bottle notes a citrus and banana aftertaste – the banana flavour certainly stood out for me.

Coedo (Japan)Coedo in Kintan

Like many of the memorable beers I’ve sampled, I discovered this one by accident whilst rooting around in the store for another beer. Hitachino is very smooth with a citrus aftertaste but not quite as sweet as Coedo. It’s distinctive flavour derives from a unique combination of coriander, nutmeg, orange peel and orange juice. On first pour, it produces a decent frothy head but this doesn’t hold for very long, quite unlike the flavour, which lasts right from the top to the bottom of the glass.  All in all, I’d recommend both, particularly with a hearty meal such as steak or BBQ.


Kanpai (cheers)!

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