Falling in Love Again: Teikoku IPA
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.
This month we’ll be looking at one of the beers from our original Baird Beer lineup: the Teikoku IPA!
Teikoku IPA was one of the original 4 beers available when Baird Brewing first began. In January of 2001, we began serving 4 beers on hand pump at the Numazu Fishmarket Taproom; Fisherman’s Wheat Ale (to later become Rising Sun Pale Ale), Bay Steam (which would become Red Rose Amber Ale), Kurofune Porter, and Teikoku IPA.
We’ve touched on this topic before, but when we first started selling the Teikoku IPA, industry buffs would snicker at us “A characteristic beer like this won’t appeal to Japanese tastes.” It sounds like a funny thing to say in this day and age where there is no shortage of IPAs on the market (heck, even industrial breweries are trying their hands at making IPAs now). Regardless of nationality or borders, we believe that delicious things are delicious and that someday people would realize this, so we continued to brew. Nowadays, American style “extreme” IPAs are in fashion and English style IPAs with a less prominent hop character, like the Teikoku IPA, are seen as being on the “quiet” end of the IPA spectrum. Funny how humans’ tastes will change over time.
Everyone loves hops!
Switching gears, the word “teikoku” is Japanese for “empire” or “imperial.” The term IPA, or India Pale Ale, originates in the 19th century when India was under the rule of the British Empire. To keep beer from going bad on the long journey to India (without refrigeration, of course), hops were used in large amounts for their antibacterial properties and alcohol volume was raised to help the beer last longer. Our Teikoku IPA is brewed in this traditional British style and carries deep and complex nuances. It’s a balance of rich biscuity malt with earthy and floral hops. This means that it’s not one of the commonly known “hop syrup” style of overpowering IPAs. The hop flavors are definitely in there, but we brew to a much more subtle characteristic.
Lastly, I’d like to share some info about the label artwork. This artwork for the Teikoku IPA was inspired by the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. This was probably one of the first moments that an Asian nation had defeated a Western power. It’s because of conflicts and sacrifices like these that we are able to live in the peaceful era that we do today. Remembering this history, raise your glass and taste the depth of the Teikoku IPA.
The original (retro) Teikoku IPA bottle
Like Teikoku IPA, 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.