Kiuchi Brewery is located in Hitachi in Ibaraki Prefecture. I randomly shot them an email through their website asking if a bunch of international "Hitachino Nest fans" could come visit the brewery. To our delight they where super enthusiastic about us visiting and trying their products, so we decided to give it a shot.
*How can you not love this owl? I dare you*
Turns out that beer is a very recent development for Kiuchi, which has been brewing Sake at this location for 180+ years (it was established in 1823). The first thing that struck us was the traditional Japanese architecture of the brewery.
* The magic happens behind those doors*
The brewery welcomed us and we decided to first have lunch at the soba restaurant that is part of the brewery. Its a good strategy to start a brewery tour on a full stomach.
The brewery tour started after lunch. Our awesome guide Tomoko-san guided us through the sake brewing process. We actually went INTO the brewery, it was awesome that they allowed us to go it and took the time to show us around.
* A new cedar is hanged when sake is brewed*
* We left our shoes at the door and put on these plastic slippers, no nasties from the outside come into the brewery*
Tomoko-san took us through the sake making process!
*Washing and soaking*
After the tour of sake making, we went to the section of the brewery where you can do your own microbrews. We were so excited and where willing to start brewing right away. But the brewing process takes four hours, we did not have enough time.
Lastly, Tomoko drove us to the expanding beer facilities, where we got to see the brewing tanks and meet the master brewer! His favourite Hitachino Nest beer? The New Year Celebration Ale.
* Nest IS best*
*Nest Fans and the Brew Master*