Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin
Baird-Shiga Kogen Hop Fest Collaboration Ale
Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:
Passion and authenticity are hallmark traits of craft brewing. So too is the spirit of friendly cooperation and genuine camaraderie among artisan brewers. This spirit has manifested itself of late in what has become known as ‘collaboration brewing’ — the joint effort between breweries of conceptualizing, formulating and then brewing an original beer together. We were honored to be able to collaborate with our brewer friends at Shiga Kogen recently in just such an endeavor.
We at Baird Brewing love the hop and we steadfastly have been committed to using it only in its most minimally processed whole flower form. Sato-san and his crew at Shiga Kogen have been pioneers in the revival of small-scale hop cultivation in Japan. Before this year’s hop harvest I suggested to Sato-san that we brew a beer together at the Baird Brewery in Numazu, the recipe for which would be designed based on the exclusive use of whole flower hops harvested at the Shiga Kogen hop yard in Nagano prefecture. He said ‘yes.’ Collaboration on!
The Shiga Kogen brewers were up at the crack of dawn on Saturday, August 24. They busied themselves picking hops in the pouring rain to drive to Numazu for immediate use that day in the Baird Brewery kettle and whirlpool tank. Freshly picked non-dried hops are called ‘wet’ hops and they must be used in very short order or they will begin to mold. Well, from Nagano hop yard to Shizuoka brew kettle, only 6-7 hours passed. We dumped roughly 12 kg of Shiga Kogen wet hops into our brew system — several times the normal usage of dried hops. We also added around 2 kg of dried Shiga Kogen hops from the previous harvest. Shinshuwase, a Japanese variety, was the main hop used. Two hops of mysterious origin, one thought to be of American pedigree and one European, also were put into action.
Sato-san and I designed Hop Fest Collaboration Ale with two things in mind — the hop harvest and the autumn season. The autumn season is reflected in Hop Fest’s deep mahogany color as well as its rich malty flavor. So as to leave the spotlight on hop character and malt flavor, we kept the wort gravity moderate at 12.45 Plato and the final alcohol content reasonable at 5.3%. As a fortuitous finish, we were able to harvest a bit of our own first-year hops (mostly from Shinshuwase and Cascade rhizomes gratefully received from Shiga Kogen), planted on our new brewery grounds in Shuzenji, and to add them as a dry-hop addition to the post-fermentation conditioning tank. Hop Fest Collaboration Ale is unfiltered, secondarily fermented in package and naturally carbonated. It is a delicious symbol of what people can achieve when working joyously together.
Hop Fest Collaboration Ale will be debuted at a kick-off party to be held at the Nakameguro Taproom this Thursday, October 24. Brewers from Baird and Shiga Kogen will lead an initial kanpai at 7:00 pm and be available to talk about the collaboration and field any of your questions. Shiga Kogen beer and hops will be the themes at the Nakameguro Taproom from Thursday through Sunday (November 27). In addition to Hop Fest Collaboration Ale, three other Shiga Kogen hop-harvest ales will be on tap: Miyama Blonde Harvest Brew, Harvest Saison, and “Even Prime” White IPA Harvest Brew. Baird will contribute to the hop theme with two small-batch German single-hop brews: Magnum Single-Hop Ale and Perle Single-Hop Ale.
Chef Joon is getting into the act too, featuring three unique dishes made in part with Nagano and Shizuoka ingredients: (1) Wild Boar and Yam Goulash with Malted Whole Wheat Bread (paired with Hop Fest Collaboration Ale), (2) Shio-ika and Kama-age Chirimen Pizza (paired with Miyama Blonde Harvest Brew, and (3) Homemade Deer Sausage with Soba Spaeztle (paired with Harvest Saison). The shio-ika and chirimen for the pizza are from Nagano and Shizuoka, respectively. The deer for the sausage is from our new brewery neighborhood in Izu, and the soba flour is from Nagano.
Please plan to join us at the Nakameguro Taproom this weekend and help us to make the celebration as collaborative (and fun) as was the brewing!
Hop Fest Collaboration Ale will also be served on draught, beginning Friday, October 25 at the following loyal and long-time customers of Baird and Shiga Kogen: Popeye, Good Beer Faucets, Finlaggan, Tir’na’nog, Four Hearts Cafe, Craft Beer Market Toranomon, Beer Yokota, Beer Bar Maru Maru, Bulldog, Grow Stock, Banji Kaicho, Vivo, Kamikaze, Craft Beer Base, Beer House Ken, Gold’n Bub, Okadaya, Towers and Craft Beer Bar. The bottle-conditioned version will be available in limited supply through our Japan network of Sakaya retailers also beginning Friday, October 25.
Baird Brewing Company
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