2021 has started out as a year of significant change here at KBC. As we have posted previously, we inaugurated a new series of American IPAs, started to shift our products from bottles to cans, and revised the recipes of our three year-round beers to name a few of the larger initiatives. Today we are excited to announce the first release in a new series of beers that celebrates the city we call home.
The Locality Series was created to create a positive impact on the local community by using our products to put a spotlight on the groups, organisations, and individuals that reside in Kyoto. The first instalment is 'Wa', brewed in collaboration with the permanent tap customers in Kyoto who have supported us since the beginning and the concept and brewing was conducted in a new and unique way.
We approached the formation of the beer with an “open source” mindset, giving our customers the ability to choose not only the style of the beer, but also input regarding details like what hops to use and the alcohol content. When the votes were tallied, Saison and IPA each received the same amount of support for the style, so we decided to brew a hybrid of the two. There was overwhelming support for a modern interpretation of hop usage, focusing on flavour and aroma more than bitterness, and using hops with a strong citrus character.
Similar to the voting, unfortunately the State of Emergency in Kyoto meant that we were unable to have our customers join us for brew day as we originally intended. Instead, we live streamed the brew day and invited participants to join to learn more about the process and feel connected to this collaborative effort.
The result is about as close as we could get to the communally decided framework of a Saison IPA. Our house Belgian yeast creates a lot of fruit flavour that pairs well with the hops while leaving a dry and drinkable finish. The hop character is heavily citrus focused (like many IPAs), with background nuances of herbs and grass, which is quite typical of the Saison style. While we weren’t quite sure how this unique project would work out, we couldn’t be happier with the result and look forward to sharing the ideas and hard work our permanent tap customers contributed!