This past Saturday I found myself back in Numazu, pulling up a stool in Baird’s Fishmarket Taproom for their annual Fruit Beer festival. Baird makes a bunch of fruit beers that are often some of the better fruit beers out there. The highlight of the day, besides all the booze, was getting a tour of the Baird Brewery from Bryan Baird himself.
I always love a tour even though all breweries are essentially the same. I think I just like being surrounded by beer in all it’s forms. From grain bag to keg. I had one question I was really looking forward to asking Bryan- though I must have asked about 20 overall. I really wanted to know if Baird was going to have enough capacity to keep the beers flowing at all three Taprooms, their many pub accounts, and their fairly wide distribution of bottles. Bryan didn’t seem the least bit worried about capacity citing the fact that while their beer may be in many
places, the amount of liquid actually sold may be a little exaggerated (by me). As an American I assume certain things about the drinking habits of people that just don’t apply to the Japanese beer drinking public. The actual amount of beer sold by each pub is much lower than what I originally thought and after seeing their brewhouse I have to agree- they have plenty of production capacity. He did say there should be some brewing expansion in the next couple years, though, which makes sense as the number of craft beer drinkers grows (as well as the number of Taprooms).
I drank a bunch of beer, too. My favorite had to be the Mikan IPA. An 8% beauty of an IPA. The Mikans play so well with the hops it was hard to tell where the fruit began and the hops stopped. Very well balanced, though after 4 pints of it, and a few other beers, my balance was a bit off. I wasn’t happy to have to catch such an early train to make it back to Yokosuka that night, but the four of us that headed back at the same time popped a few Baird bombers on the train and made that two hour ride fly by (I’m sure the others in our car had other thoughts on the matter, like “shut-up!”).
What really makes a good beer event isn’t the beer, it isn’t the food, and certainly not the music (though all of those were good), it’s the company you keep at the event. Had a great time with some great people and am looking forward to the next time I can share a couple pints with them.