It is an India Pale Ale based on those first brought to Japan in the 19th century. It is aged in cedar sake casks.
Appearance: A hazy, gorgeous amber colored body get a lace hat colored in cream.
Aromas: Ripe, pronounced, exotic aromas include red pear, honey, caramel, rice flower.
Palate: moderate sweetness gets balanced by citrus peal hop acids, full 7% alcohol, and a medium plus body.
Flavors: soft, round, caramel laced malted bread feeds into fruits like red pear, strawberry, flecked by a saline soy sauce. It finishes warm, woody, and dry.
Conclusions: Hitachino’s Classic Ale is complex, challenging at times, but forgiving and friendly and very good (4 of 5). I expected a hop bomb IPA, but they have gone the route of ripeness and balance. The alcohol may be a bit high but it provides viscosity and body. And the owl is adorable.