Bryan Baird’s Newsletter (2011/08/02): Asian Beauty Biwa Ale & Brewer’s Secret Handshake

Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin

Upcoming Seasonal Releases: Asian Beauty Biwa Ale & Brewer’s Secret Handshake

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

We continue thirstily working down through our deep lineup of Baird Beer summer seasonals. Today it is one of our special fruited ales that is stepping up to the plate: Asian Beauty Biwa Ale.

Asian Beauty Biwa Ale 2011 (ABV 5.8%):
Biwa is “the small, yellow, edible, plum-like fruit of the loquat tree.” We had no idea what it was until our partner-friend-carpenter-farmer, Nagakura-san, brought some in several years ago for us to taste and then brew with. It is an extremely subtle fruit that harmonizes sweetness with tartness. Asian Beauty Biwa Ale is coyly fruity, spritely effervescent and yet delicately firm — like a true Asian Beauty!

Asian Beauty Biwa Ale 2011 begins pouring from our Taproom taps beginning Wednesday, August 3, and it is available for delivery from our brewery beginning Tuesday, August 2. Due to the very limited number of bottles (633 ml), we will not be selling Asian Beauty on our consumer E-Shop. It will be available, however, through select Baird Beer retailing liquor shops in Japan.

In the summer seasonal on deck circle is a sacred ale: Brewer’s Secret Handshake.

Brewer’s Secret Handshake (ABV 6.0%):
The German city of Dusseldorf is renowned for its Altbier. From time to time, apparently, the city’s Altbier brewpub brewers make seasonal specialty Alts as surprise treats for customers. These specialty Alts are known as sticke (secret) Alts or Latzenbier (slab beer). Compared to standard Altbier, the secret versions tend to be stronger, darker and hoppier, according to German beer writer Horst Dornbush.

Brewer’s Secret Handshake is our version of a sticke Alt. It is fairly strong (6% by volume), darkish brown in color, and unabashedly hoppy (50 IBUs of US Magnum, NZ Hallertau Aroma, US Perle and German Tettnanger). It will be available to Taproom patrons who are privy to the brewer’s secret handshake beginning Wednesday, August 10. Shipments to Baird Beer retail accounts will begin on Tuesday, August 9. Retail accounts are welcome to contact Kojima-san at the brewery office and begin reserving for shipment kegs and bottles (633 ml). Again, due to very limited bottle supply, we will not be selling Brewer’s Secret Handshake on the brewery E-Shop.

Upcoming Taproom Events:
*Harajuku Taproom 2-Year Birthday Celebration (Sat-Sun, August 6-7):

That Japanese traditional yakitori-style food and flavorful craft beer are wonderful mates when matched together has been demonstrated beyond doubt by our Harajuku Taproom. This coming weekend, the Harajuku Taproom will be celebrating its 2-year birthday. Highlights of the weekend celebration include:

Tapping of its anniversary ale: Terrible Two Hara-Tap Birthday Ale (a strong golden ale — 6.7% abv — with moderate levels of hop bitterness but heavily laden with spicy-herbal hop flavor and aroma (courtesy of Slovenian Styrian Golding, US Santiam and NZ Hallertau Aroma). This special brew will be available only on draught and only at the Harajuku Taproom
Special weekend-only food menu with items priced in the 500 yen range.
Standing room will be made available for this weekend event and all orders will be handled on a cash-on basis. Please mark your calendar and plan on joining the celebration (and be sure to wish the terrific team at Harajuku a Happy Birthday!).


Bryan Baird

Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Organic Vegetables at Kitayama Organic Farm (1st interview)

As the second Sunny Sunday Event was held in front of Parco Department Store, Shizuoka City, yesterday I went to check if I could find new participants to this local market featuring shops and growers from all over the Prefecture.

It certainly paid off as I had the pleasure to meet Masaaki and Kiko Hirakaki/平垣雅章と紀子さん, a very young-minded couple from as far as Fujinomiya City at the foot of Mount Fuji, an area celebrated for its many organic vegetables growers!

Kiko had this great idea to exhibit their vegetables in pots, pans, baskets and boxes and provide customers with osier baskets to choose their vegetables at their own leisure!

These beautiful pumpkins are not easily available in Europe but here in Japan they are very popular!

It is certainly a great pleasure for a lot of people to discover that such common place vegetables are also grown organically!

So cute and so appetizing!

Actually Mr. and Mrs. Hirakakい are also professional photographers who decided to seriously grow organic vegetables 4 years ago!

They were so passionate explaining everyone all about their vegetables, their season, their taste, the best way to cook them and so forth!

They certainly attracted some major celebrities of Shizuoka Gastronomy!
I very much doubt I will be able to take such a picture at ease any time in the future:
Ms. Tokiko Hirano/平野斗紀子さんof Tamara Press
Mr. Testuya Sugimoto/杉本哲也さん, Owner/Chef at Tetsuya Sugimoto
Mr. Tooru Arima/有馬亨さん/Owner/Chef at Pissenlit
Mr. Fujio Satsukawa/薩川さん/Owner/Chef at Chez Satsukawa
It also shows that the Hirakakis have attracted some serious interest!

Look at the beauties I bought and that the Missus is going to prepare for us tonight!

I will have ample opportunity to explain all about their vegetables and varieties as I’m going all the way to Fujinomiya City and interview them very soon!

Kitayama Organic Farm
Masaaki and Kiko Hirakaki
418-0112 Fujinomiya Shi, Kitayama, 3102
Tel./Fax: 0544-25-2795
Mobile phone: 090-2261-8821


With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery