In the last few years, craft brewers and craft beer enthusiasts alike have become fans of collaborations in which brewers from two or more breweries work together to create one-of-a-kind beers. This column has previously discussed how Japanese craft brewers have worked with innovative brewers from the U.S., Australia and New Zealand to brew creative transpacific offerings.
This April, a festival in Portland, Oregon will feature what must be the most ambitious collection of such collaborations to date. The Fuji to Hood Festival (named after these regions’ iconic mountains) will include eleven collaborative brews (ten beers and one cider) made by Japanese brewers visiting Portland.
While advance details on the beers offered are not yet available, these collaborations feature excellent brewers teaming up from both sides of the Pacific, including Y. Market Brewing Kitchen (Nagoya) at Cascade Brewing, Far Yeast Brewing Company (Tokyo) at Breakside Brewery, Kyoto Brewing at Upright, and Ise Kadoya at the festival’s host, the small, IPA-oriented Culmination Brewing.
In one of the most intertwined collaborations, Son of the Smith, a fairly new cidery in Ōmachi, Nagano that proudly cites how it was inspired by Oregon’s cideries, is collaborating with Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, who make a dry cider called Magnificent Seven (7%) that uses seven varieties of Japan-originated apples grown by a Japanese-American farmer, fermented with a strain of sake yeast derived from Aomori Prefecture.
This festival in Portland—a city known as “Beervana” for having the most breweries per capita in the world—will also feature other aspects of Japanese cuisine and culture. Oregon’s sake brewery SakéOne will pour samples of their award-winning wares, and local restaurants will serve Japanese food, including ramen and sushi. Befitting Culmination Brewing’s commitment to environmental sustainability, the festival will feature Bamboo Sushi, a Portland restaurant that is the world’s first certified sustainable sushi restaurant. Moreover, there will be taiko performances as well as decorative Japanese arts. Hopefully this inaugural festival will become an annual tradition, as it is a great way to encourage East-West beer tourism to the Pacific Northwest’s Beervana.