It's May, a month that has special meaning for us here at KBC, as it's the anniversary marking our first ever sale of beer. Those of you with better memories may recall that this happened on May 9, 2015, at the Craft Beer Festa Kyoto. Each of the following years we have brewed an anniversary beer to debut at the event, and last year at KBC Fest, which we hosted here at the brewery due to the festival not being held in 2019.
With these commemorative brews, we try to either brew something we normally do not, or really let our hair down with a style we are more familiar with. This theme was constant in Nidomemashite (1st year anniv), and Sandomemashite (2nd year anniv), which were double and triple IPAs that used way more hops than we were used to. Sanshunen (3rd year anniv), a sour IPA, and Four Headed Dragon (4th year anniv), a hybrid Saison/NEIPA, were more exploratory while still having a strong hop influence. This year, we have taken quite a different approach, and it is no longer hops taking center stage.
Many people may be taken aback by the abrupt change, but this year’s theme is twofold: visual misperception and togetherness. The original concept for the beer was to have something that tasted completely different than it looked. A light-coloured beer that appeared to be just another ale, but with the aroma of chocolate, coffee, and vanilla, and a mouthfeel more akin to a Barleywine. The togetherness concept is something that has been at the forefront of our minds ever since the Covid-19 pandemic has swept the globe, where collaboration and helping each other is more important than ever.
Thus, when procuring the ingredients for this year’s brew, we looked to a few old friends: namely Kamogawa Café, Kurasu Coffee , Minimal Chocolate, and Patisserie.S. More to come on the chocolatier and patisserie, but the beans from two of our favorite roasters play a bit of a tug of war in this unique beer. We have collaborated with the ever-friendly Dai-chan directly on two previous beers (By the Kamo River and Reunited by the Kamogawa), and he has provided beans for other beers we have made using coffee. His full bodied and dark roasted beans are second to none and always seem to fit our coffee cravings.
Kurasu Coffee, a relative newcomer to the coffee scene in Kyoto, is very much on the opposite end of the flavour spectrum, and their delicately roasted beans have intense fruit and berry notes without being overly acidic. We actually came to find Otsuki-san and his coffee through the odd coincidence that we use the same online shopping portal, but once conversations shifted from business to pleasure, we found we had much in common both at and away from work.
More information about how these beans come through in the final product, as well as Patisserie S and Minimal Chocolate, in the coming days!