As we have mentioned here on our blog several times already, collaboration projects are of huge importance to us here at KBC. Since we began brewing in 2015 we have had the opportunity to learn from and share knowledge with compatriots in our industry from around the globe. These products find there home in our Nakama Series of beers and are always highlights of our brewing calendar.
Covid 19 has without doubt hampered our ability to connect with other brewers through this series. Without the ability to travel between breweries, even domestically due to the ever-lengthening State of Emergency, it becomes very difficult to not only brew together, but to even have the opportunity to share information or see how each other are doing. Despite these less-than-ideal circumstances, we are happy to announce a unique collaboration beer with Yakima Chief Hops.
Located in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Yakima Chief is one of the world’s most well-known and respected hop cultivators and suppliers. Their hop development program is most recognised for the creation of Simcoe, Warrior, and Palisade hops, but the first variety that they bred was a hop called Ahtanum. The variety was almost wiped out to extinction due to a virus that spread throughout all the farms in the growing area. The future of the variety looked bleak, and it just when all hope seemed lost, one of Yakima Chief’s employees spoke up and said he had planted some Ahtanum in his garden just outside the growing area. When they examined the plants, two of them were found to be disease free—the only two in the entire world. All of the Ahtanum currently produced traces its lineage to these two crucial plants, and without them Yakima Chief would have lost the historical variety forever.
Production has finally rebounded to where it was prior to the disease decimating the variety, and we are honoured to feature it in this collaboration brew. Flavour and aroma focus was placed on Ahtanum and its grapefruit-like citrusy character. A supporting role is played by the berry-like citrus and fruit character of Simcoe, and the brew utilises both regular pellet hops as well as Cryo Hop versions.
As Ahtanum has a unique story of heritage and lineage, we decided to brew something of a throwback to West Coast IPAs that popularised craft beer in the mid to late 2000s. A huge amount of hops leaves a firm bitterness with plenty of aroma and flavour. While late hopping techniques were used to ensure that this brew focused more on fruity aromas than strong bitterness common among the West Coast IPAs of old, the look of the beer and its taste will certainly bring people back to the early days of the craft beer movement. Enjoy!