In December 2014 we were celebrating a good friend's birthday at BrewDog Shepherds Bush. As the beers were flowing so did our creative juices. The bar's general manager, and a friend of ours, Dean Pugh, was amongst the party. He got talking to Chris Taylor, one of our brewer's assistants, and our head brewer, Bryan. With all three having homebrew backgrounds the discussion was on beers they've brewed and would like to brew. Soon the trio were recounting past recipes and churning out ideas for using slightly different ingredients including various yeasts and fruits in possible future recipes.
Dean spoke of a time when he experimented with fermentation using 4 different yeasts, including sake yeast, on a single recipe. He also mentioned how the original recipe using sake yeast evolved and was successfully brewed on BrewDog Manchester's pilot kit, showcasing other Japanese ingredients including sushi rice and Japanese hops. Bryan talked about what he had seen in the sake breweries of Japan, which he had visited a few months before and so, the guys suddenly got excited over using sake yeast to ferment a beer. Things didn't stop there; they hit upon the idea of brewing a fresh IPA, using fruit in the recipe. What we were looking at now was a beer fermented with sake yeast with additions of fruit and since the theme was a "Japan I.P.A", the fruit of choice was yuzu. Then the question of sourcing such an odd ingredient in large quantities was posed, and the conversation went that way...
Months later and after several get-togethers, where the idea of this brew just wouldn't go away, a pipe dream became a reality. Dean came to Weird Beard brewery, donned a Weird Beard overall and brewed this interesting recipe along with Chris and our new lead brewer, Jonny Bright. Here's the photographic proof:
In writing the recipe the guys decided to bridge the citrus character of the yuzu with the lemon-sherbet quality of one of our favourite hops: Sorachi Ace. This hop originates from Japan and aside from being an all-time favourite, was a suitable choice for the hop schedule. They also decided upon adding Chinook to compliment the spicy notes that the sake yeast would create during fermentation. The aim and the result: an easy drinking I.P.A with a considerable twist! Speaking of twists, the name of the beer, which is obviously Japanese, can get you a little tongue-tied.
Tsujigiri literally translates as "crossroads killing" and describes the impulsive act of a Samurai testing out his new sword on a random individual or passer-by. Not too far removed from an 'impulse brew', Tsujigiri is not your everyday I.P.A but can be surprisingly drunk like one. The beer comes to 6.2% and on the nose, it's citrussy because of the yuzu. It also has a subtly herbal aroma with a fresh minty-ness from the Sorachi Ace. Sipping on the beer, you get the I.P.A bitterness through the tangy lemon and fresh herbs, but it rounds off really refreshingly and balanced. It's bang on for the summer and a delight to drink. Tsujigiri will be launched at BrewDog Shepherds Bush on Friday 22nd May from 6pm at their event.
We look forward to seeing you there but kindly request all new katana are left at home.