Today we introduce the latest in our lineup review (see original lineup review blog here: https://kyotobrewing.com/en/blogs/kbc-blog/series-renewal2022
Our last introduction shared Shintenchi, and our expansion of this into its own series based on the exploration of the lager style (https://kyotobrewing.com/en/blogs/kbc-blog/new-series-2022-new-frontier
Those familiar with the Kyoto Brewing story will be familiar with how important the saison style is to us. When we planned our company, this was the first style that we knew we wanted to have in our year-round lineup, and Ichigo Ichie was therefore our very first year-round beer, and to many remains our “flagship” to this day.
Ichigo Ichie is not a saison in the classic sense, but more of a representative of what we are as a company. Influenced by the deep rooted traditions of Belgian beer culture whilst also being inspired by the exploration that started with the American craft beer boom and has since spread throughout the world, Ichigo Ichie is a modern interpretation of a saison, taking what we love about the style but applying our own twist to it.
We never intended Ichigo Ichie to be our only saison, however, and used to have a seasonal saison series called Shunkashuto. This series was born out of our passion for saisons using traditional varieties of saison yeast for a more orthodox character, while playing with strength, hoppiness, and so on. While we enjoyed the series, we found ourselves particularly enjoying the classic saison and the strong winter saison but gaining variety in the kettle sour version of the saison and consistently making hoppy saisons in line with our goals was difficult. As time went on, the series wasn’t achieving what we hoped stylistically or in terms of exploration, a core part of the series at its inception.
We always intended to restart a classically inspired saison series but were searching for the right concept. We decided, ultimately, to recognise the value in going down the path well trodden and focus on saisons that are bottle conditioned. Bottle conditioning allows a much greater level of carbonation, which contributes to the champagne-like dry spritziness that a good saison is known for. This is not all, however. Having tried our favourite, Saison Dupont, in both keg and bottle, and in larger and smaller bottles, both fresh and well travelled, the reality contradicts what one might expect. If one imagines an American IPA, fresher is better, and kegged beer usually lasts better than bottle or can. Not so with a bottle-conditioned saison, however, and we were surprised to find ourselves liking the older bottles more than the fresher ones, and especially in large bottle format.
While we will never claim to have matched the beer that inspired us to make a saison, we have decided to go on a pilgrimage, exploring the style and trying to replicate what we love so much about this style. Through this series, we will explore the variation that this style can offer while doing our very best to capture what has made it a classic that has survived through the centuries to this day. We will be releasing the beer in champagne bottle format as well as kegged format, but both will go through secondary fermentation to give that extra spritzy character and allow it maximum potential for character development over time.
Wonderful with food, and best shared together with others, we hope that this gives you the chance to experience a little of the variety and depth that saisons can have, and the various scenes in which they can be enjoyed!