Baird Beer Voice/March 2014, Volume 1
Dear Baird Beer Enthusiast:
Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Baird Beer Voice e-newsletter. 2014 is shaping into a year of dramatic change for us at Baird Brewing. Most notably, we are on the cusp of moving our brewing operations, as well as our company headquarters, to a beautiful new facility still under construction in the Shuzenji area of Izu city. We are on schedule to complete the move and open the facility to the public on June 1.
Other facets of change are coming to fruition sooner. In particular, we have been working for several months behind the scenes on a major revamping of the Baird Beer website which we are pleased to unveil to you today. We hope that you find the site informative, entertaining and esthetically pleasing. It is a work in progress that we will continually improve and evolve. We welcome your feedback.
The remainder of the e-newsletter content is contained below, broken out into six distinct categories. Our aim is to inform and entertain and to educate as well as proselytize about the beloved beverage BEER. We hope that you find our voice both interesting and compelling.
Cheers! Bryan & Sayuri Baird
Seasonal brewing is one of our great passions. It is an activity through which we, as brewers, can demonstrate the tremendous breadth of the beer world and pay homage to the glorious diversity inherent in beer.
Our seasonal brewing has become so prolific that it is challenging our ability to plan and manage it. Our answer to this emergent problem is to organize the seasonal brewing schedule into four distinct series and to create annual release calendars for each series. The series are:
(1) Four Seasons, (2) Monthly Style, (3) Fruitful Life, (4) Brewer’s Passion. Series descriptions as well as 2014 release calendar links can be found at: http://bairdbeer.com/en/beer/kisetsu.html
In total, we have organized and calendar-ized the brewing and release of 48 seasonal beers for 2014. The release dates listed in the calendars represent the dates that these beers will appear on draught at Baird Taproom pubs. To all non-Taproom domestic accounts, we will begin shipping seasonal beers from the brewery two days in advance of the listed release date. Pre-release orders are welcome and can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most recent seasonal release, on March 1, was the March Monthly Style member beer Morning Coffee Stout. The next seasonal release, a Fruitful Life Series member brew called Yorimichi Mikan Bock, is slated for March 6. Detailed information about these seasonal beers can be found at: http://bairdbeer.com/en/beer/kisetsu.html Then, just around the bend on March 13 and March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day), we have two member beers of the Brewer’s Passion Series up for release – Midnight Oil Export Stout and Luck of the Irish Red Ale. Detailed information about these beers will be posted to the Seasonal Baird Beer section of the website shortly.
Lunch at Nakameguro Taproom
Straight from the kitchens of the Baird Brewing Taprooms, this is the Taproom Food Files!
Lunch is a safe haven.
Not only is it a well-deserved break from the daily grind, but for those of us who only have time for a coffee and a Danish in the morning, lunch can be the most important meal of the day.
That said; allow me to announce that the Nakameguro Taproom is now open for lunch on the weekdays!
Here’s the menu:
Lunch Pizzas (24cm) 1000 yen
The “Marge” – Our take on the classic Italian Margarita pizza with the addition of coppa ham.
The Mighty Mushroom – Generously topped with roasted Japanese mushrooms and provolone cheese.
Hot Sandwiches (Weekday Lunch Only!) 750 yen
The Italian Melt – Mortadella and Finocchiona salamis and melted provolone cheese on fresh, homemade bread.
Ham and Rocket – Slices of Coppa Ham, fresh arugula, and balsamic dressing on fresh, homemade bread.
Need to eat on the run? Sandwiches and pizzas are also available for pickup.
For those of you playing hooky or are lucky enough to get a siesta before going back to work, don’t forget about our full lineup of Baird Beers.
All lunch items come with a salad and ice cream because we are all in need of a balanced diet! …and who doesn’t like ice cream?
Lunch is from 11:30 – 14:30 (Last order 14:00) Monday through Friday.
Fast, fresh, and delicious. What more can you ask for? Beer? We got that too!
Visit to Virginia Heartland
Back when I was a university English teacher, I often took dubious trips to the States for “research”, which meant attending the Great American Beer Festival, National Homebrewers Conference, or any other beer event where I could drink myself silly while still somehow dressing it up as “academic”. Now that I’m a brewer, these trips are legitimate, with much less emphasis on drinking and more on learning. Such was the trip I took to the Devils Backbone brewery in Lexington, Virginia, at the beginning of February, 2014.
Why Devils Backbone? Well, besides being GABF Small Brewpub of the Year in 2012 and Small Brewery of the Year in 2013, and making fantastic beers overall, they brew on a German ROLEC brewhouse that is very similar to what we will be using in our new brewery. Bryan wanted me to see their brewhouse up close, particularly the automation software, and get a feel for what we will be facing at our Shuzenji brewery come April.
My main “teacher” during the four days I spent at Devils Backbone was Brewer Cory, a very patient, hard-working and humorous man. Cory spent hours explaining the ins and outs of the ROLEC equipment: sensors that were easy to knock out of alignment or break off completely; problems with potential air leaks; valves that needed watching; sounds — or lack of sounds — that signaled something wasn’t quite right; things they would have done differently if only they had known; cleaning routines; and a whole lot more. He also took me through the software that controls the brewhouse, something that’s going to take more than a few hours to master. The main take-away lesson: Don’t hit the Almighty Stop Button. Thanks, Cory, I won’t.
Besides gathering information about the ROLEC system, Brewers Cory and April showed me other aspects of the Devils Backbone operations, like their cask program, filtering, treating beer with fining agents, yeast propagation, and a lot more. They also shared stories of sloppiness, carelessness and other tales of woe that had me smiling to myself as I recalled the daily struggles we have in Numazu with the same problems.
On the final day, Lead Brewer Nate showed me their laboratory, pointed out some basic tips, ran through the basic tests that they do on their beers, and shared some stories about the trials and tribulations of testing beers. Summary: Don’t open the lab door when malt dust is flying around!
Nate is coming to Japan in April to help us make the transition to our new ROLEC brewhouse system and to advise us on setting up our new laboratory. We can’t wait to host him.
Finally, what’s a brewery trip without beer? As expected, the Devils Backbone beers were wonderful: Vienna Lager, Schwartzbier, Dark Abby, IPA, and more. But, evidenced by my lack of pictures of the tasting room, and in keeping with the serious nature of my visit, the beer was a small part of my visit and I imbibed with extreme moderation. I hope I get a chance to go back some day and go all out. Cheers!
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Chris Poel is a Senior Partner and the Director of Brewing Operations at Baird Brewing Company. Chris can be reached at email@example.com.
Joon Ou, Executive Chef
First Name: Joon
Last Name: Ou
Job Position & Location: Executive Chef / All Taproom Locations
Year Starting at Baird: 2012
How did you become involved with Baird Brewing and the niche world of Japanese craft beer?
A: I just happened to be from Portland, Oregon where good craft beer is a part of the local culture. Naturally, I found myself hunting for some good craft beers when I came to Japan. I met Bryan and John while I was working at a hotel steakhouse, and joined Baird Brewing as the head chef of the Nakameguro Taproom to revitalize the food concept with craft pizzas.
Tell us about your job. What do you do on a daily basis?
A: Since becoming the executive chef last year, I’ve been moving from Taproom to Taproom on a daily basis. My main duties include inspecting kitchen hygiene, coordinating food-related events, food costing, and menu development. Food and beer pairing is something I am very excited about and creating new pairing dishes is an exciting part of my job.
If you were a Baird Beer, which one would you be and why?
A: Definitely the Kurofune Porter. I’m stalwart and traditional when it comes to respecting the craft of cookery and thirsty for new knowledge and expanding culinary boundaries at the same time.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
A: I was the founder and president of the breakdancing team in my high school. I’ve also been practicing kendo for about 15 years.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to enter the craft beer world and work in a position similar to yours?
A: At the risk of sounding clichéd, brewer, server, or cook, you have to love what you do in this business. Those days when you’re elbow-deep in the grease trap or trying to keep up with a stack of orders on a busy night will be easier to get through when you simply view them as steps to take before serving the best quality product to your waiting guest.
March 15 (Sat) ＆ 16 (Sun) Punk Patrick’s Day ＠ Nakameguro Taproom
March 21 (Fri) ＆ 22 (Sat) Snow Monkey Beer Fest 2014 ＠ Shiga-Kogen
March 11 (Tues) Baird Tap Take Over ＠ Roundhouse in Hong Kong
March 13 (Thurs) – 15 (Sat) Beertopia Craft Beer Festival @ West Kowloon
Waterfront, Hong Kong. Draught Baird at the Hop Leaf Booth！
March 20 (Thurs) Baird Beer Thailand Debut Party ＠ Bangkok
RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES
So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,
Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents
HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City
HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City