Indian Summer Fruit Beers
Jing A (京A) Brewing Company was started in Beijing by two North American ex-pat homebrewers. Alex and Kristian brewed their first professional batches of beer
in 2013. Jing A now has two taproom/restaurants and a production brewery.
I met Alex and Kristian separately, randomly, on different occasions. About three years ago I was wandering around a massive convention center hall in Portland, Oregon when I ran into a brewing friend from Japan. We go to these things every year as part of our professional development and interest in industry trends. At the time, this friend, an American, happened to be with another American ex-pat (Alex) that set up a brewery in Beijing.
We exchanged business cards and pleasantries, and I went on about my business of day drinking and daydreaming about all the shiny gadgets on display at this event. Back in London, I filed his business card neatly into my pleather-bound business card holder book thing from Office Depot.
Earlier this summer Kristian made his way into our taproom via visiting family in Battersea. After a couple trips to the taproom he reached out by email to say how much he enjoyed the beers.
Seeing the name Jing A (京A) on his email I was overcome with relief and joy that my long-term memory still worked. I had to take out Alex’s business card to confirm I was remembering what I thought I remembered. Remarkably I was right about what I remembered, and now, writing this, remembering that I remembered correctly stands out as quite a fond memory.
Kristian and I met in the taproom in early June on one of his subsequent trips to London. After a brief tasting session, we agreed to brew a beer together. He would be visiting again in August during the end of summer Bank Holiday, and this time with his business partner Alex.
We started the collaborative exercise with a focus on chenpi (陈皮). This is a sun-dried mandarin orange peel that is then stored dry (or aged) for a year (or more). Alex and Krisitan use chenpi in their beers in Beijing and suggested a dosing ratio.
To counter some of the chenpi bitterness, I proposed using watermelon. Alex and Kristian use watermelon in one of their regular beers. They make a wheat ale called Beijing Bikini with fresh pressed watermelon.
The beer is an IPA with chenpi in the whirlpool and watermelon juice added post fermentation. The yeast is a double-top-secret experimental strain provided under cover of the night, passed from trench coat to trench coat by a good friend in the industry. This strain is not commercially available yet, but it is an isolated Vermont Ale Yeast.
Following our collaboration, Krisitian and Alex headed up to Manchester to carry out one more English collaboration with the inimitable Cloudwater crew. We’ll launch both collaborations and celebrate all things Jing A in our taproom in late October/ early November (dates TBA soon)….
Yuzu, ユズ, 柚子, Yuzbekistan!
Cryo hops are a new product made via a cryogenic separation process. The result is a split of the original hop flower into two new hop products. One is LupuLN2 and the other a debittered leaf. The LupuLN2 is a high concentration of the hop resins and oils you would find in the original hop variety processed upon. The flavors and aromatics are twice as potent as the original hop varietal.
In mid-September we took a trip to Copenhagen and met up with our good friends at To Øl. They operate a 10hl brewpub with a world class kitchen in the heart of the Danish capital. For our collaborative effort we chose to use LupuLN2 and the idea of an IPA using non-traditional brewing ingredients to provide floral and citrus-y flavors and aromas.
The malt bill is a high percentage of extra pale malt, some wheat, some oats, and some CaraPils. For additives, we used zero bittering hops in the boil. The whirlpool was dosed with Citra hops, concentrated Yuzu juice, and hand-crushed coriander seeds. For post-fermentation, we’ll be adding fresh pressed coriander sprigs, more Yuzu and both Citra and Ekuanot cryo hops. We are fermenting the beer with East Coast Ale Yeast from White Labs (conveniently located in Copenhagen).
I’d like to say Todd and I went there and were physically productive and helpful in the brewing process, but after a 6am flight from Gatwick brewers Lorry and Tim started plying us with beers from the taproom early on. The brewday smoothly transitioned into an evening of beers and fine cuisine from the kitchen and the company of the To Øl brewing and sales team.
In November we’ll have the To Øl collaboration brew and a selection of rare To Øl/BRUS beers on in our taproom (again, dates TBA soon). BRUS is comfortably situated in the leafy residential neighbourhood of Nørrebro. This place is a must visit if you find yourself in Copenhagen. Pro Tip: order the fermented fries and any one of the kimchi on offer.
October 12th 2017