Yesterday we shared our direction for our different beer series (see here). Today, we want to introduce the first of our new series, “Rediscovery”, or “Kikan” in Japanese.
Anyone familiar with the story of Kyoto Brewing will be well aware that our brewery’s inspiration came from largely two brewing cultures: Belgian and American. America effectively started the craft beer revolution and, unlike the traditional beer cultures of Europe, focused on developing new varieties of hops, using technology to better control the brewing process, and scientific research to improve consistency and reduce spoilage. It was the country that gave birth to the modern IPA, but also brought back and reinvented many other styles that had gone out of fashion or even went extinct.
Belgium is in many ways a polar opposite culture. Steeped in tradition and developed over many centuries of trial and error, Belgium’s classic beers are virtually impossible to perfectly replicate. No one truly knows what constitutes Brasserie Dupont’s famous saison yeast, save for attempting to analyse the dregs of one of their bottles. Without pulling apart the apparatus in Cantillon’s facility and moving them somewhere else, no one can create the same beer, and, who knows, the building’s environment itself may well be their secret ingredient. Belgium’s beers often have long shelf-lives and they evolve, just as their beer industry has: slowly and organically.
We started our brewery with these two great beer cultures as inspiration and essentially took many of the different parts that we liked and sought a way to marry the aspects that were compatible, while at the same time leaning more fully in one direction or another. Since then, we have ourselves evolved and also branched out, exploring other beer cultures and creating our own identity based on our journey and the fact that we are different people now to who we were when we began.
We have a series in Mari Family that celebrates the fusion of two beer styles, and also have a number of series that swing more in the American direction. This year, we decided we wanted to go back to our Belgian roots and explore more traditional styles again. We are a different company to where we started, however, and our tastes have of course evolved. We have also gained a lot of different experience and so, at this time, we wanted to go on a path of “Rediscovery”. The word “Kikan” literally means “return” or “repatriation” but it essentially implies going back to ones home after a long time. We picture this as a return to somewhere familiar where the place may have changed little but looks and feels different, with our being the ones having changed. We want to, through this series, explore old styles that we are familiar with, but try to put a twist on them through interpreting them through who we are now.
These beers may not be the most in your face, but we hope they will appeal to those who appreciate subtlety, character and balanced experimentation.