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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Not the usual suspects. A look at two Asian stouts.

We are doing a doubleheader and looking at two stouts tonight, both from Asia, though only one that is slightly understandable.

The Lion is sleeping in that bottle,
not the jungle.
First up tonight is the understandable one. Lion Stout has been brewed by the Ceylon Brewing Company in Sri Lanka since 1881 back when this was a British colony. I can see why this stout is still selling today. It is a very good beer. 

It pours very clear and dark, almost black, with a small puffy tan head. It is very smooth, with creaminess in the drink with little carbonation and finishes with a pleasant coffee aftertaste that gradual disappears. Surprisingly this comes in at 8.8 ABV. At certain points you can just make out the sharpness of the alcohol, but you have to be paying attention. By the end of my glass the alcohol had crept up on me creating a pleasant warmness in my stomach. I drank this beer faster than I expected, before I knew it the glass was empty. Beware this is a very easy drinking and potent stout.  

For those keeping score at home, this is a book beer, page 729. I can’t refer to the brewery’s “party line” since their website is under construction so instead I’ll turn it over to the late, great, Michael Jackson who went on an odyssey for this beer and had this to say about Lion Stout.

I will definitely be getting more of this in the future.

I love that owl and the beer was
pretty good too!
Our second guest is more of an odd duck. In the big picture, Japan and stout beer rarely show up in the same sentence, but that is now changing and Kiuchi Brewery is leading the charge. They are the brewers of the Hitachino Nest line of beers. The one we are focusing on tonight is the Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout

I poured this in a tulip glass. It was clear and very dark brown, with a light brown head that lasted for a few minutes before it dissipated. On the drink the espresso makes itself known with a bite right away and stays with you into the aftertaste. There is a mild bitterness when you swallow. It comes in at 7.5 ABV but to me there was no real taste of alcohol, coffeeness pervades the beer. Unlike a smoother coffee stout though this has the bite of espresso and reminds me of Lagunitas Cappucino Stout. Overall this beer is very tasty and like all good coffee stouts it gets better as it warms up.

Kuichi Brewery was damaged by the earthquake in March 2011, but they have repaired and rallied. I was not able to find the “party line” on the Espresso Stout. If you can find this I would recommend picking some and giving it a try.

Thanks for stopping in!

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