Owl Beer

Ever since my session post on owls in beer design I've had a few hits a week from people searching for the "beer with an owl on the lid". So when the Hitachino Nest 5-pack was offered on Brewdog Online it was a done deal. I had some of the brewery's beers at GBBF last year and enjoyed them all so looking forward to these.
Everyone is fond of owls.

First up, the weizen. It certainly looks the part, hazy amber-gold with big fluffy white head. It starts to fail here however as the head doesn't stick around.Plenty of banana and wheat on the nose with a touch of clove. Medium carbonation, a bit thin in body, biscuity malt, shredded wheat and more clove. abrupt finish. Doesn’t hit the heights for me I’m afraid. Another confirmation of my contention that when it comes to indigenous beer styles, the original brewers are the best.

The amber ale is next on the menu. More ruby-brown than amber with a fluffy tan head. Lemon and dusty cupboards on the nose, its well carbonated, quite smooth in the mouth with toffee and chocolate notes up front, followed by some slight citrus hops and a touch of black malt astringency. Enjoyable but more of a brown ale. It pairs fairly well with pizza.

Ginger beer is becoming more popular in the UK with the advent of alcoholic ginger beer but there have always been malt beers brewed with ginger too. This Japanese effort follows in those traditions. Hazy brown with a fluffy ochre head. Sweet candy sugar and a touch of copper on the nose. Thick bodied, sweet golden syrup, digestive biscuit malt and perhaps the tiniest hint of ginger in the finish. That metallic tang is there too

XH is an interesting beer. Brewed with Belgian yeast then matured for three months in sake barrels, but how does it taste? It pours dark, slightly hazy amber with a fluffy amber-tinged head. On the nose is caramalt, cocoa powder, cloves and white pepper. Very thick, chewy mouth feel, rich malt flavours, some orange oil, more clove spiciness fairly dry finish. There's some fairly fruity esters/ higher alcohols (apple pulp and plum), lots of malt sweetness and a touch of bitterness in the finish

Finally its Japanese Classic Ale. Pouring a hazy amber with a nose redolent of white pepper and Turkish delight. Spiky carbonation, some spicy wood notes up front followed by sweet apple and plum skins. A fair amount of sweetness builds meaning it can only be sipped slowly.


  1. See also Kauzen from Ochsenfurt who have a very cute owl on their labels.

    1. Cute indeed! Its the owl on Odell Double Pilsner that I wrote about originally. I don't have anything against the owls on Cotleigh labels though

  2. Hitachino and Westvleteren were the two reasons I started making bottle cap magnets - love the owl logo. I've got a bottle of XH in the cupboard - will dig it out after reading this, sounds pretty good

    1. Yeah, its certainly my favourite of the bunch reviewed here. I chilled it then let it warm up a bit. Nothing scientific but definitely benefited i think