Brew Review: Hitachino Nest's Sweet Stout
By Jonathan McNamara
I haven't enjoyed it (not entirely true) but lately I've been sucking down a lot of sweet-tasting beers in order to prevent you, the reader, from following in my sickeningly sweet foot steps. Though I've penned these saccharine-laced reviews in the hopes of assisting you in your own quest for great brews, I have been met with a bit of disagreement especially in response to my review of Papago Brewing's No Hoplo Ingles. Reader Al suggests I try a "Kasteel Donker" if I want to experience a decent sweet beer. Thanks for the suggesting, (p)Al.
In the mean time, there is one beer that gets that's got this sweet routine down or at the very least it's a lot closer than any of the other candy beers I've tasted: Hitachino Nest's Sweet Stout.
Ah! The tiny Japanese beer with the owl on the label strikes again!
Tastes: Like a Japanese desert i.e. pleasantly sweet. Here in the states, we pride ourselves on making and consuming desserts that would make Willy Wonka proud. This is not so in the Land of the Rising Sun where after dinner sweets sometimes consist of something as simple as a piece of fruit. Similarly Hitachino Nest's Sweet Stout lives up to its moniker but without the spike of pain emanating from your teeth that you tend to get with grocery store cake icing and overly sweetened beer.
I had mine: with a pinch of salt. No, not really, but after so many terrible sweet beers I expected another slap in the taste buds.
Goes with: Summer. We may not have much of summer left, but before its gone, grab one of these and enjoy it outside. I'm guessing you'll find this brew not unlike the crisp fall air we've been experiencing in the mornings lately.
I got mine:at AJ's Find Foods in Central Phoenix. A bottle of Sweet Stout will run you about $4.
Verdict: I'm not totally buying it. I can appreciate how versatile a drink like beer is. There is an unlimited potential for different notes and hints in a single sip, but should sweet the primary one? I don't think so. As a subtle suggestion, sweet does a beer good. Sweet Stout is much closer to the delicate balance I'm looking for in a mug of brew than any of the other sweet beers I've tried, but it's not good enough for me to switch from the more bitter variety.
What do you think, fair reader? Comment below with your favorite sweet beers or what you think I should review next.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.