July 15th

One of Soph’s big finds at Mondial was Les Brasseurs de Montréal La Chi Orientale. A Belgian wheat beer brewed with ginger and rice, it is the liquid version of sushi ginger. The sample made such an impression that she brought back a six-pack – quite the commitment when traveling by train. A great refreshing beer for summer, it pours a clear blonde with some floral notes. The ginger provides an almost overwhelming spiciness, but the taste leaves abruptly. The obvious food pairing was sushi, so we got some takeout and did a taste test.

The end result was, predictably, a winner. The Chi Orientale eliminates the need for actual ginger (which I’ve never been a big fan of) and your Asian rice lager (which I never have around the house). A ginger beer would not have sounded appealing beforehand, but now I can’t imagine sushi without it.

A bottle of Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Ale was cracked open after dinner and was, to our surprise, a much different beer. Instead of focusing solely on the flavour of ginger, the Real Ginger Ale mixed in orange peel, pepper and some earthy qualities. The malts were also significantly more noticeable, with some caramel depth. The ginger was a little subdued, but that might have just been in comparison to La Chi. It was definitely the last flavour on the tongue. My appreciation of the beer is diminished by the fact that it isn’t really a summer beer. Between the spices, malt and alcohol (7% ABV), this beer would taste a lot better on a cool autumn night.

Warning: LCBO Rant! As many of you probably know, there was a commotion made this past spring about the Samichlaus beer. Apparently there were complaints that from the public and people thought that having a beer whose name translates to St. Nicholas might be construed as advertising towards children. There is also an illustration on the bottle of an elderly man, one that looks more like Old Man Winter to me. But that’s old news and not really what I want to talk about.

If the LCBO thinks that the Samichlaus might be construed as attractive to children, what about the twee owl present on the Hitachino Nest bottles? It would seem more likely that this character would be more appealing to kids due to its overall cuteness. I could see this little dude on keychains and cartoons where he flies around and leaves a trail of rainbow star magic. I’m in no way advocating for the Hitachino Nest to get taken off the shelves, it just seems like a policy irregularity by the LCBO. The weird thing is that the taste of these beers probably wouldn’t appeal to most adult drinkers, so I can’t imagine many children or young adults going for them. And while the LCBO is worrying about Samichlaus, they allow the Caramilk Cream Cooler to be sold, which pretty much looks like a milkshake beverage one would find in a grocery store. But there is probably enough big business and lobbying power behind the cooler that it will never get touched. What I really wish is that the LCBO would get rid of that rule so I could stop talking about it. We all know the kids are drinking Bud Light Lime anyways.

Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Ale on Ratebeer

Les Brasseurs de Montréal La Chi Orientale on Ratebeer

Today: 600mL. Year-to-date: 139.22L.

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4 responses to “July 15th

  1. Funny – I loved the La Chi Orientale when I was in Montreal for Mondiale last year, and went out of my way to pick up a six pack to bring home. Lovely stuff!

    And re: the Hitachino Nest label – the original Japanese label for the beer is even more kid-friendly, featuring a cute li’l ginger headed cartoon guy holding a glass of beer that looks more like an ice cream cone. Check it out: http://beeradvocate.com/im/beers/24751.jpg

    • Great minds, Greg.

      Yeah, RB had the same bottle for their photo. Do you know if it is changed for our prudish North American sensibilities?

  2. I picked up about 4 beers from Les Brasseurs de Montréal including the Orientale. Can’t wait to try it now.

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