When I went to Kiuchi Brewery to make my Hitachino Nest special ale, I had a lot of free time. I was able to hang out at the brewery shop and do nothing but drink beer. After brewing for a few hours, we did a beer brewery tour. Due to the rain, we just chilled at the brewery store and had a quick sake tour before we took off for the station to catch a train into Mito. If I have a chance, I would love to return and just chill out as it was nice and quiet there.
The entrance to the store is right on the main road. There is a parking lot just across the street if you drive, but if you drink, you should take the train. Once you go in, you are in a very nice dark atmosphere. They have a room for sake and a room for the beer and wine. Kiuchi Brewery is starting to get into the wine business as well, but I didn’t have a chance to try it.
There are shops at Mito Station that sell Hitachino Nest beer, but the factory shop is the best place to go. They have some options that you can only get at their brewery shop, or the online shop. The beer that I wanted to buy was the large 720 mL bottles of beer. The regular 330 mL bottles are really nice but the tall boys are the best. They have the Hitachino Nest logo painted onto the bottle with a small paper logo on the bottom. They looked great and would be wonderful in a bottle collection.
There are also a few items such as bottle openers and coasters that were not available in other shops. When I was at Mito Station trying to get a few things, the lack of options was sad. I wish I had a bit more time up at the shop so that I could buy more things, but I ran out of time in the end and actually had to run back to the station.
Next to the shop is a small bar. It has about 6 seats and we were the only ones there. On the day we visited Hitachino Nest, the bar was almost always empty. The couple who started brewing before we arrived were having a quick drink during their mash process but I believe they left soon after they finished brewing their beer. We may have been the only other customers at the bar that entire day.
When we returned from the brewery tour, we headed straight for the bar as we still had time before our train and it was raining HARD. During our brewery tour, we heard and saw lightning and it was raining on the way back to the Brew on Premises site. When we got back to the shop, we had to run to get our things and quickly cross the courtyard in the heavy rain. The storm just didn’t let up. Instead of trudging in the downpour to the station, we decided to wait it out at the bar and down a few drinks instead.
As we were drinking Hitachino Nest beer, I had a few samples of Kiuchi sake, or rather the Kikusakari sake as the brand is named. The sake was nice and a good secret of Mito but the beer was the best. The taps are not often used as the shop is quiet most of the time but the beer is still very fresh. When on vacation, it is best to take things slow and to just soak up the atmosphere. With the pouring rain, there was absolutely no rush to return to Mito. The rain kept getting harder and louder, and the lightning was also getting closer and more frequent.
Suddenly, a huge bolt of lightning struck nearby and the lights went out. We were engulfed by the darkness. Only the faint light that filtered through the clouds were able to get in. All we could care about was that the beer taps still worked. Thankfully, beer tap technology is so simple it relies on compressed air tanks which require no electricity. It was all good and we could still get beer if we wanted.
The people at Kiuchi Brewery had a different problem; they couldn’t work. Their computers all went down so it was the perfect time for them to take a break. I could see all of the office workers just run out and probably head home if they had most of their work finished. Haruna came to check on us to make sure everything was okay, as a good host should, but we were so relaxed that we just didn’t care. We were having a good time and we had a good story to tell.
Hanging out at the bar is dangerous for me. I don’t mind drinking a lot and just chilling until the sun goes down. After our sake brewery tour, I wanted to do a little shopping in the shop but we needed to catch our train. It was a shame that I couldn’t buy more but I do hope to go back again someday. If anyone wants to go brew some beer, and they are willing to pay me, I’d be more than happy to go up there and help you out. 😉