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Wednesday Food: Hitachino and Soba Noodle Salad

Hitachino Nest White Ale is a fantastic example of Belgian-style witbier.  It is a product of the Kiuchi Brewery, which is predominately a sake brewery in Ibaraki, Japan. Hitachino Nest is well regarded as some of the best beer in Japan, and holds its own against similar beers from Belgium and the US.  They have established a strong market here and are very accessible– I was first introduced to the brand by my local Trader Joe’s.

Witbier is a classic top-fermenting Belgian-style wheat beer, often cloudy because it is unfiltered and the yeast is suspended throughout.  A summer favorite, it is refreshing from tart citrus and very active carbonation, and usually comes in at a sessionable 4-6% abv.  Blue Moon and Hoegaarden are the most popular examples of this style, and Allagash White and St. Bernardus are perhaps the best executed.  But I like Hitachino because of its refined balance of tart and spice, and the subtle floral-rose aroma that makes it unique.

I paired this beer with a cold soba noodle salad and pickled red onions.  The soba salad may have been a bit too spicy for the mild flavors of the beer and the onions too acetic, but the meal on the whole was so fresh and lightly satisfying that nothing seems better suited for a warm afternoon.

The soba noodle salad is from Heidi Swanson and can be found here on her website.  I would be cautious of the 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper that she uses in the dressing, as this yields a very spicy salad.  The addition of red bell pepper to this recipe adds color, compliments the clean taste of cilantro and cucumber.  You can also substitute chicken for the tofu if your dining companion is squeamish when it comes to bean curd.

I topped my plate with pickled red onion from David Liebovitz because the vinegars harmonize well with the soba salad, and I love anything brined.

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May 19, 2010 - Posted by | Wednesday Food

1 Comment

  1. Ser Gut liebshun. Being german pairs well with cravings for vinegar/brine.

    Comment by The aunt | May 20, 2010


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