Falling in Love Again: Shimaguni Stout
Starting in 2017, we are running a “Falling in Love Again” series where each month we will feature one beer from our year-round lineup to re-introduce each beer with some new background info that you might not know. Our Taprooms will also feature special promotions connected with the monthly beer.
A March holiday that’s increasingly celebrated internationally, including in Japan, is St. Patrick’s Day, named for Ireland’s patron saint. While still observed by Catholics as a religious holiday — St. Patrick is credited with introducing Christianity to the Emerald Isle — the holiday, which takes place every year on March 17th, is nowadays a mostly secular celebration of Irish heritage and culture, especially Irish music and literature. In the beer world, of course, Ireland’s signature contribution to civilization has been the dry stout, the most famous example of which is Guinness Stout.
In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, this month’s “Falling in Love Again” Baird Beer is our dry stout, called Shimaguni. The label artwork for this beer depicts two island nations, Shimaguni, joined by a Japanese bridge symbolizing the bonds of mutual friendship — and mutual love of beer! — shared by Ireland and Japan.
At Baird Beer we have a year-round lineup of 12 beers. Many beer drinkers may only be familiar with lagers, but we would like to expand your palette. To this end, we employ three different types of yeast (lager, ale, Belgian wit) to portray the depths of the world of beer. As for the styles, some people are surprised to see that we have 2 different dark beers in our year-round lineup; a porter and a stout. We originally started our lineup with a porter, but the truth is that darker beers also have a great variety among them so we felt that adding a stout to the lineup would enrich it. Though their colors are similar, the stout has an undoubtedly different flavor style from the porter.
National Stouts: Shimaguni Stout and Guinness
When people think of “dark beers,” they have a tendency to envision black hues that are proportional to the overall strength of the beer, but this is not always the case. Irish dry stouts, like our Shimaguni Stout, are characterized by a strong roasted malt flavor, but are lower in alcohol content and light to drink. Among darker beers, this is one of the more balanced and drinkable styles. In past years and still today, we have a variety of stouts in our seasonal lineup. For example, there’s the imperial stout for the cold winter months, a milk stout that uses lactose, the coffee stout which uses real coffee beans, the habanero stout with a spicy kick, and the strawberry milk stout that used locally sourced strawberries. It’s a greatly versatile style that, in the hands of a skilled and imaginative brewer, can produce a variety of enjoyable flavors.
Let’s move on to a bit of background info about the label artwork. Japanese people are often quick to point out that Japan is an island nation, but Ireland is also among the world’s numerous island nations. As we mentioned before, Ireland is often correlated with the stout. On the label for Shimaguni Stout, you can see that Japan and Ireland are connected via a bridge. This bridge represents both nations, each having a long and proud history, being literally and figuratively connected by a stout bridge. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the posts on the bridge are actually beer bottles. Did you spot that before? This is the playful nature of our skilled designer Eiko Nishida at work.
Like Shimaguni Stout, every Baird Beer has a back story. Personal tales, historical tales, stories of beer styles, these beers are steeped in stories. We hope that you, those who enjoy these beers, do so in a way that compliments and becomes a part of your lifestyle and experiences.