When it comes to food and beverage there is only one rule, it has to taste good. Often this means a practice of ignorance when it comes to ingredients. This is mostly exercised to avoid potential repulsion or curiosity. For those who brew or enjoy beer the simple act of not being curious isn't an option. In fact if you ask any brewer or craft beer advocate what is in their beer they will tell you.
Often these leads to a discussion about the hops in a beer, much in the same way someone might recite a line from Shakespeare play or Broadway’s Cats. The inspiration behind this practice is mostly to establish support for a why a beer has a floral, pine, or citrus aroma & taste. Which inherently leads to a brewer or brewery recalling names like Citra, Centennial, Chinook, or Simcoe. But in 2006 it was Elysian Brewing's Dick Cantwell who brewed and spoke of a newly imported hop variety to the United States, Sorachi Ace.
Created and grown in the hop fields of Virgil Gamache Farms, it was Darren Gamache who put that idea into Dick's head. And the whole thing was started with a phone call from the Darren to ask Dick to come up with something unique from the newly mature hop vines.
Using what amounted to three 18 foot-tall hop vines of pelletized, Sorachi Ace, Dick Cantwell created three recipes each with a unique name and approach.
The first, was brewed at Elysian's Tangletown brewpub, and made use of a Belgian-style Golden Ale as well as Asian Yuzu (an asian fruit with strong citrus taste and aroma). Brewed as a house beer for Kisaku, a sushi restaurant in the neighborhood, the beer was so well received that it's still brewed today.
Recognizing the success of the first beer, Dick would create a beer less inspired on food and more of topography. Namely the idea of the beer came to Dick on his way to New Belgium Brewing during one of the many business trips. Taking inspiration from the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains and all those beers named after mountains in the Northwest, Dick created Generic Eminence. Unlike Dick's first attempt at brewing a beer with Sorachi Ace G.E. wouldn't live past the first batch.
It is worth noting that this beer didn't completely disappear, at it would later be used as one half of what would become Loser Pale Ale. Brewed with one half Bi-Frost Winter Ale and one half Generic Eminence, this beer continues to demonstrate the versatility of the Japanese hop variety. Even today you can still taste the Sorachi Ace.
Still not satisfied, Mr. Cantwell brewed what some call a beer 'carpet-bombed' with Sorachi Ace. Brewed as an Imperial India Pale Ale, Dick brewed a beer that featured S.A. in the mash, in the wort, in the boil, and through the hop back. Not stopping there he would also dry-hop the beer before it was finally released to the pubs.
Brewed with non-native Japanese hops Dick settled on the name Konishiki, after the Hawaiian-born Japanese-Samoan sumo grand master. At 600 pounds and nicknamed "the Dump Truck" it would seem appropriate to name a beer after the largest sumo wrestler ever. Some might say this beer was also responsible for inspiring current Sales Directory Matt Thompson to leave his post at Rogue Ale, after trying this at the Washington Cask Festival.
Ok, so what's this got to do with the the headline "... Elysian Brewing Konishiki Imperial IPA"?
The answer is simple, Konishiki is coming back! Don’t presume that Mr. Cantwell has run out of ideas or feels like reliving the classics. Instead be thankful that he has re-brewed this 'Dump Truck' of hops and is releasing it to thirsty mouths of the Northwest.
More about Konishiki Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewed with a "... pretty basic pale malt bill of Northwest 2-row, Munich, C-77 crystal and Cara-hell", Konishiki warms your stomach at 8.00%.
Look for this beer to featured at all three Elysian Brewery pub & restaurant locations, as well as throughout the Northwest.
Cheers to you Mr. Cantwell, for reviving another recipe we had long forgotten about.
About Elysian Brewing
Elysian Brewing Company operates three neighborhood brewpubs and a production brewery in Seattle, WA. Known for variety, Elysian has brewed more than 200 different beers since opening its doors in 1996.