Collaboration beers have become a hallmark of craft brewing, representing as they do both the innovation and camaraderie that so define the efforts of artisan brewers. We were thrilled when the opportunity presented itself to collaborate on a beer with both our farming friends at the Otomi Orchard in neighboring Izu no Kuni and our brewing colleague Mr. Luc Lafontaine of the renowned Montreal brewery, Dieu du ciel.
Luc and I have long wanted to brew together and we both share a passion for formulating beer recipes that incorporate unusual Japanese ingredients, particularly fresh fruit. Oki-san of Otomi Orchard is the second-generation head of his family farm and a customer at our Fishmarket Taproom. A casual conversation between us in July revealed that he had a field full of organic yamamomo (mountain plums) that were ripe and ready but without a market. A collaboration was born.
After tasting and gathering the fruit together with Sayuri and our girls on a hot July evening, I began collaborating via email with Luc on the recipe. Yamamomo fruit is sour and piquant and we decided to incorporate it in a lightly hopped, low-gravity, highly attenuated session ale that would be dryly and quenchingly tart. In addition to the local yamamomo fruit, we also included serious quantities of two other indigenous Japanese ingredients: namely, un-malted wheat from Chiba and sudakito sugar from Amami-Oshima. The beer was brewed at the Baird Brewery on July 29 with Luc in attendance, sweating profusely side by side me and the other Baird Beer brewers. The task of primary fermentation was assigned to our Scottish ale yeast, but krausening at packaging occurred with our our Belgian wit yeast.
TimE (3086) - Tokyo, JAPAN - NOV 25, 2011
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
hazy golden color. Very subtle, but very obvious nose of peaches. Dry, fruity, peaches in the mouth, very dry. Low hops. Well balanced. Enjoyable peachy finish .
shoulderbroken (1849) - Tokyo, JAPAN - OCT 30, 2011
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Keg at Harajuku taproom. Pale yellow and a bit cloudy. Not a great deal of aroma to start off with, just a hint of fruitiness. Initial taste is quite soft, with hints of the plums added. As you get down the glass the fruit taste and aroma dramatically increases, and the sourness of the plums comes through. Nice bitter finish. Wheat aroma appears towards the end of the glass too. Started off plain but ends up rather special. Definitely want another one.
jonno (2231) - JAPAN - OCT 16, 2011
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: NOV 6, 2011 Collab with Dieu de Ciel. I wasn’t sold on this. Nothing wrong with it, but the fruit is very subtle, leaving a fairly stright and narrow ale with not a great deal of life. Some sweetness witha light bitter finish.
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