Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:
The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant disaster that struck the Tohoku region of Japan in March destroyed and upturned tens of thousands of human lives, not to mention the economic and environmental havoc that it wreaked, and continues to wreak to this day. The catastrophe lays bare for all to see and feel the tenuous nature of life.
Tragedy, though, also can bring to the fore the best and most enduringly strong aspects of life: e.g. selfless sacrifice, generosity of spirit, camaraderie among strangers, etc. These inspirational and life-affirming human traits have, thankfully, been demonstrated in countless number in the aftermath of the Tohoku disaster.
It was in this life-affirming vein, I think, that Stone Brewing Company of San Diego, California invited Baird Brewing and Ishii Brewing (a Guam-based brewery owned and run by Japanese national, Toshi Ishii) to collaborate on a beer that would be brewed with two purposes in mind: (1) financial contribution to the Tohoku region disaster relief effort, and (2) encouragement of spiritual uplift and joy in an otherwise depressing time. Wonderful beer is a powerful thing; humans have know this for many millennia. As brewers, the one thing we certainly can do in times like this is try to harness and unleash the positive power of beer.
The great bulk of the 300 barrels or so of Baird-Ishii-Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA that was brewed has been sold (and continues to be) in the United States, with Stone Brewing generously donating 100% of its sales revenue to the International Red Cross, earmarked for Tohoku disaster relief. Fortunately, though, through the offices and hard work of Stone’s Japanese importer, Nagano Trading, we were able to procure a couple pallets of the collaboration beer for delivery to Japan. These pallets arrived at Yokohama port several days ago and have just now cleared customs. The first of these kegs will be tapped, in a Taproom-wide charity celebration, this Friday, July 29 at 5:00 pm sharp at all Taproom locations.
Taproom-wide Charity Celebration Debut: Baird-Ishii-Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA (Friday, July 29, 5:00 pm Kick-Off):
Ishii-san and I flew to San Diego in May to brew this collaborative IPA with Stone brewmaster Mitch Steele and his Stone Brewing team. Several rounds of collaborative emails in advance of our trip yielded the beer concept: a strong (9% ABV — matching the magnitude of the Tohoku earthquake) and hugely hoppy (over 100 kettle IBUs of Warrior and Pacifica varieties and two-stage dry-hopping with a combination of Aramis, Crystal, Pacifica and whole leaf Sorachi Ace) ale enjoying a simple but robust malt base (100 percent Maris Otter from England), made drier by additions of Belgian candi sugar, and brought into complete balance with dry-tea additions of whole leaf Shizuoka sencha. I have yet to drink the finished beer myself, but the reviews coming from the U.S. are tremendous.
Each of our Taproom pubs has an allotment of four kegs of Japanese Green Tea IPA, which will be poured until the final one kicks. They will be sold by the pint (1100 yen), half-pint (750 yen) and taster glass (400 yen). We will donate all of the sales proceeds to the Tohoku Project of the All Hands Volunteers charity organization (http://hands.org/projects/project-tohoku/). This wonderful organization is lean and focused, assembling teams of volunteers who are dispatched to the Tohoku region to engage in the vital work of clean-up and reconstruction. The Tohoku project director is Mr. Satoshi Kitahama who can be reached at the following address: email@example.com.
In addition to this Taproom allotment of kegs, Nagano Trading has a dozen or so more which it plans to allot in a blind raffle to interested craft beer retailers. The raffle allotment will be announced by Nagano Trading on August 3. Also, one pallet of bottles of the Japanese Green Tea IPA has been imported by Nagano Trading. Retailers and individual customers interested in obtaining kegs or bottles should contact Andrew (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Akemi (email@example.com) of Nagano Trading directly.
In the spirit of this charity effort, Nagano Trading also has volunteered to donate a portion of its sales proceeds to Tohoku disaster relief. We would ask that all other retailers who obtain and sell this Japanese Green Tea IPA also donate some portion of the sales revenue to a charitable organization involved in Tohoku relief. We will be sure to post a list of all donations made once the last bottles and kegs have been sold.
We look forward to hosting you at one, or more, of our Taproom pubs this Friday for the charity debut of this truly one-of-a-kind collaboration beer. Please come thirsty and with a charitable spirit.