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Dec. 17, 2014 — And you thought the only good beer was from Belgium? Think again. Go East for a change with your beer choices. We sampled a compact Nissan truckload of Asian beer and picked our favorite six. Broaden some holiday horizons this season and mix some of these beauties in with the Duvel, Palm, and egg nog.
Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale (Kiuchi Brewery, Ibaraki, Japan)
Add some color to your dinner party. This Red Rice Ale is equally shocking in color as it is in flavor. A distinct, sour-fruity taste meets a strong Belgian pale ale. Bruce Lee meets Johan Museeuw and they fight and everyone wins. Yes. Buy in bulk.
Samurai Barley Ale (Swan Lake Brewery, Niigata, Japan)
The name alone makes us feel strong and powerful. As any ancient warrior would, we were a bit hesitant to consume a “sweet” beer, but got over it quickly after repeated attempts. There’s a touch of bitterness and, to our surprise and joy, a “musky” overtone. Take it to the Renaissance Festival and rule.
Hue Beer (Perfume River, Vietnam)
This elixir has been in the U.S. since 1994 and we just discovered it. There’s not a ton of flavor, but it’s a perfect choice for after a long, hot ride, or for those rare weekends when you choose yard work over a long ride. You can also bring Hue with you to a tanning salon, to simulate a tropical environment should you not live in one.
Lucky Buddha (Cheerday Brewery, Zhejiang Province, China)
OK, we picked this one because of the bottle. Blame us? Hints of corn and rice with a strong initial flavor. It goes down easy, has nice carbonation and is enlightened. We figure it’s worth the gamble.
Saigon Export (Saigon Beer Corp, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
Nice golden, crisp beer from Vietnam. Refreshing and stable. Of course, if Vietnamese food is available in your neighborhood, this is a great choice.
Hitachino Nest White Ale (Kiuchi Brewery, Ibaraki, Japan)
Created in the Witbier style, this is probably our favorite beer of the group. The cloudy color, flavor, citrus hints and overall package won us over. Serve in a cold glass and bring peace to you and your loved ones.