April 11, 2021
Hiramaki-san, brewer at 26K brewery in Musashisakai, Tokyo, invited us to a unique event – hop growing in Sekimae, Tokyo. We were out there with green thumbs, it is to be hoped, planting the rhizome (rootstock), not seeds, that are expected to bear the hops that will be used in the local brew. We have written about this worthy project before and expect to be writing about it again, especially when the hops are harvested in August. Readers who missed the previous entry are encouraged to have a look at it for a better understanding of what is going on here in Musashino City. The type of hops planted in Sekimae were Cascade hops, although in Kichijoji both Cascade hops and Shinshuwase hops had been planted. The Cascade hops, apparently, are very strong and can withstand foul weather.
With respect to the brewing of beer, hops can be used to add bitterness or aroma. Just how much and in what way these hops will be used very much depends on the success of the harvest. We will be fervently reciting the Hymn to Ninkasi over the next few weeks.
This is an important project. It is one small step for food self-sufficiency, which Japan desperately needs, and is a great way to bring the community together in the production of a healthful product. The April 11 event was attended by Musashino’s mayor, MATSUSHITA Reiko and other dignitaries, as well as the driving force behind the Tokyo Hop Project, Mr. Kenmoku. For more information, please check out the official website here: Tokyo Hop Project
We would be kidding ourselves if we said that hop planting is easy: we are sure it took a lot of effort to prepare the land for the planting and that it will take a lot of effort to take care of the hops until they can be harvested. However, the actual planting that we experienced was quite simple: Take shovel; insert in soil; push back and forth; put hop rhizome facing upwards into ground; remove shovel; and cover over with dirt. Once the hops are harvested, not only will they go into craft brew from Mr. Kenmoku’s brewery, 26K, but if all goes well, they will also be used for special sausages from Koenig (ケーニッヒ), an award winning German sausage shop in Kichijoji and Koganei. Please see here: Koenig
After about an hour of hop planting, we went home with a new appreciation of beer and with a refreshing bottle of fruit ale, featuring an organic Japanese citrus fruit from Mr. Kenmoku’s family farm.
#hopplanting, #tokyohopsproject, #rhizome, #26Kbrewery, #ondcraftfood, #sekimaetokyo