Series Intro: Mansai 'Iridescence'
2020 was a tumultuous year for all of us, and as we have been posting on our blog, we have begun to make many changes for KBC in 2021. One of those changes was in taking a look at our current line-up of beers and deciding to create new series through which to showcase the new beers we want to make. Last week, we talked about our "locality" series. This week, we want to introduce our new Iridescence "Mansai" series.
A look back
At KBC, we have always been enamoured with the brewing traditions of Belgium. A large part of this tradition is spontaneously fermented sour beers like Gueuze and Flanders Red Ale. While we hope to one day be able to produce beers using similar techniques, our intermediate step has been utilising the kettle souring technique, which greatly speeds up the souring process and provides more control of the final product. Our first attempt at utilising this technique was with Purple People Eater, our collaboration with Heretic Brewing, and from there we have utilised it to create popular products like Uri Futatsu, Sanshunen, and Sun Kissed.
About the series
Through these brews we have been amazed to see the breadth of flavor that kettle sours are capable of portraying. It can be a simple and straightforward impression of acidity, or enhance sweetness when paired with certain fruits, or suppress the bitterness of hops while still incorporating their aroma. This variety is what we hope to explore through the new Mansai Series.
How are you going to achieve that goal?
Releases in the series will all hope to show the versatility of sour beers while at the same time make them more approachable to the average drinker. Some of these releases will be quite straightforward, incorporating one or two types of fruit in an easy drinking beer like Sun Kissed. Others will be more boundary pushing, pairing other fruits and spices with acidity like in Tropical Rays released late last year. Still others will hope to explore the limits of the style in terms of ABV, or perhaps pair acidity with flavours that aren’t typically thought of as being a suitable match.
We have named the series Mansai, which literally means “full of colour”. A portion of the inspiration for this name comes from the fact that many releases will incorporate various fruits, giving the beer a beautiful appearance. The other portion of the inspiration stems from the fact that in addition to the billions of yeast cells that are needed to ferment beer, sour beers also require the contribution of billions of acid producing bacteria. Sour beer still has a long way to go before it will be a commonly accepted style here in Japan, but we look forward to sharing this cornucopia of nature with each of the release!