Bryan Baird’s Newsletter (2012/02/05): 10-Year Anniversary Release: The Carpenter’s Mikan Ale

Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin

10-Year Anniversary Release: The Carpenter’s Mikan Ale

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

It was back in the fall of 2001 that the builder of our Fishmarket Taproom, Nagakura-san, who since had become a stalwart Taproom patron and loyal friend, brought to me in my little backroom brewery a crate of mikan fruit freshly picked from his family orchard. “Can you use these in a beer?” he inquired. “If not, just share them with customers and your family.”

I, like many professional brewers, harbored a prejudice against fruit beers. Why? Because most of the ones available tended to be gimmick beers, brewed not with real fruit but rather processed extracts, that were designed to appeal to people who didn’t like beer to begin with. However, I quickly decided to formulate a beer that incorporated the carpenter’s mikan fruit. Not only did the idea of using a fresh, local, minimally processed ingredient fit perfectly with the Baird Beer philosophy, but the mikan fruit was delicious. It’s vibrant citrus character, I thought, could be combined in a wonderfully complementary way with various citrus-forward hop varieties being cultivated in the western United States.

The first batch of the Carpenter’s Mikan Ale (all 30 liters of it), was poured, with a tiny bit of trepidation, to Fishmarket Taproom customer-friends who had gathered there at 8:30 am on a Monday morning to view the 2002 Super Bowl (a game that pitted the then powerhouse St. Louis Rams against the upstart Tom Brady-led New England Patriots). The Patriots won their first Super Bowl; the Carpenter’s Mikan Ale won the hearts and the drinking loyalty of all who gathered that morning.

The Carpenter’s Mikan Ale 2012, the ten-year anniversary version, will begin pouring at our Taproom pubs just before the 8:30 am (Monday, Feb. 6) kick-off of the 2012 Super Bowl (NY Giants vs. New England Patriots).

New Baird Beer Seasonal Release:
*Carpenter’s Mikan Ale 2012 (ABV 6%):

The mikans used in this brew are fresh, succulent, and local — harvested on the Heda land and by the hand of our carpenter friend, Nagakura-san. The Baird brewers hand-process the harvested mikans, shaving off the outer skin of the peel and pressing the juice. Both peel shavings and juice are added to the brew during wort production and before fermentation. The mikans serve to add depth and complexity to an already sumptuous ale; their role is to complement, not dominate.

Once again the character of this year’s version is marked most notably by the succulent aroma and piquant flavor of sweet-tart mikans and their wonderfully symbiotic interaction with our selected hop varieties (Nelson Sauvin, Cascade, New Zealand Cascade, Ahtanum).

In addition to our Taproom pubs, the Carpenter’s Mikan Ale will also be available either on draught or in bottles (630 ml) at fine Baird Beer retailers throughout Japan beginning Tuesday, February 7.


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

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