The Wine Drinker

This is the Dead Letter Office of my wine writing. These stories ended up not fitting on our company's Facebook page (Piedmont Wine Imports) or website,, for reasons that I think are clear once you scroll through a few posts. Less professional musings, impressions that ultimately never got past the rough prototype stage. Um... enjoy!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Beer Notes: It's hot here, approaching that tipping point of heat burden where reasonable people scurry under rocks, into movie theaters sucked dry by AC(you didn't really think we wanted to see Pirates of the Carribean III?), or in my case raise the white flag and submit to a complete cessation of movement. So red wine is at present a little unappealing. At least until night falls. I suggest at this apex of summer a beer well-suited to evenings for dining al fesco, perfect for cucumber salads, grilled and slightly spicy seafood entrees, overabundant tomato courses. I mowed the lawn yesterday (hold your applause) and upon completion of this onerous-in-July task went looking immediately for our little owl friend described below.

An apology - My hard drive cracked last week, and this inevitable event (are you backing up files?) sent a lot of text into the great rambling hereafter. Good riddance, I say. But if you're looking to kill time on my blog, I should mention that a great deal of travelogue and really Pulitzer-quality observational prose relating to my 2007 trips to South Africa and France is at least temporarily gone. I do have notes taken with one of those what-do-you-call-them? pens on tattered bits of airline napkins, but the re-creation of these seminal voyages in wine history may be a bit slow in coming. Doing work once bothers me, doing it a second time is excruciating. Hence the notable lack of editing at this address. So I'm saying sorry for the dearth of new content. But if you actually check this space with any frequency you're probably used to long awkward silences. Hey, I'm living my life, man. There's not always time to take notes.

Pathetic excuses.

So maybe I first bought Hitachino White Ale it for the cute owl on the label, but with aromas of orange peel and coriander and subtle, balanced Perle and Goldings hops on the finish it quickly won a place in my heart, and our fridge. While there are distinct differences in beer and saké production, the meticulousness needed to source and properly utilize raw materials in the production of both drinks is the same. This focus on quality keeps Hitachino a cut above your everyday beer.
While only in the beer brewing business for a decade, the family behind Hitachino White Ale have been producers of saké since 1823. The Kiuchi brewery first released Hitachino in 1996, on the leading edge of what has become a large craft brew movement in Japan. This beer has become their most popular brand, winning gold at the World Beer Cup in 2004 and awakening consumers in both America and Europe to the existence of Japanese beer brewed by sources other than one of Japan’s "big 3" breweries. You may be familiar with the Big 3 from every bad Sushi restaurant beer drinking experience you've ever suffered through. This consumer trend toward the craft brew in many ways mirrors the growth of the small-brewery movement in the U.S., and I am happy that both Lantern restaurant (where I spend too many of my off-hours, soaking up sake and amazing sashimi appetizers) and A Southern Season support brewers like Kiuchi brewery with concrete ties and long histories in the communities in which they work. This exceptional beer is a refreshing complement to Lantern's Bang Bang chicken, and serves as a great post-work/pre-dinner libation.


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