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While all breweries use hops, most of us are not fortunate enough to live close enough to a hop farm to have the opportunity to see them actually being planted, cultivated, and processed for use in brewing. Luckily for us, the Kyoto Yosano Hop Growers Guild (京都与謝野ホップ生産者組合) was brave enough to start a small hop farm in their hometown in Northern Kyoto Prefecture right around the same time we started our brewery here in the Southern part of the city. We're practically neighbours!
Through a bit of serendipity and a few introductions, we were fortunate enough to not only take part in the first ever harvest, but also receive a small portion of the processed fresh hops. It has been very interesting to see how the guild and its hop fields have grown as they supply Japanese grown hops to the domestic craft beer and home brewer markets. With each passing harvest, the guild has seen increased yields and the lupulin in the hops has increased as well.
This beer is our third using Yosano Hops, and, as in years past, all of this hoppy goodness went directly into the beer within 24 hours of picking. The base for this year’s brew is an American Pale Ale, and we did as much as we could to ensure that the finished product showcases the aromas of the freshly picked Columbus and Cascade hops. There is something totally unique about the “green” character that fresh hops impart to beers, somewhere between vegetal, refreshing, earthy, and floral. We hope that by drinking it you can feel like you were transported to the hop fields in Yosano! (Alternative for the last sentence: Drinking Yosano Breeze is as close to a hop field as most of people will ever get!)
Naming: Most of the hops used in brewing are processed either by drying or palletization. This process makes long term storage possible and allows brewers to use a wide variety of hops from around the world at the time of their choosing, but, just like dried fruit, there is something different about the version fresh off the vine. We are fortunate in that we have been able to assist in the hop harvest in the town of Yosano in Northern Kyoto for a special once-a-year brew. This year as the KBC team was harvesting, the ever so slightest breeze brought relief from the hot, sticky day as it swirled the unique aromas of the hop vines around us. This special feeling we shared became the inspiration for the naming Yosano no Ryouhuu, or “Yosano Breeze", and we hope it provides you some relief from the last hot days of summer.
Style: Pale Ale
Yeast: American Ale
Gas Volumes: 2.4