It was our head brewer, Ryan Atagi, fourth-generation Japanese-American who set out to make our very own Japanese Rice Lager, Bochi Bochi. Ryan was determined to make it using the best possible ingredients and, in his mind, correctly.
“As a Japanese-American, it’s important to me to make a proper Japanese Rice Lager to pay homage to my culture and heritage,” Atagi reflects. We used Goschie Farm-grown whole-leaf Tettnang hops and Calrose, whole-grain rice. “The result is dry, crisp, and you get that bit of rice in the background that adds to the complexity and generally rounds out the overall beer.”
Bochi Bochi is an Osaka slang word, when translated, vaguely says that things are neither going extremely well nor are they going terribly; it’s so-so. A subtle nod to our 2020-2021 year. “I thought it was a good term for what we went through during the Covid days. We were doing okay but making it through, somehow.”
What sets our Japanese rice lager apart is our use of 40% Calrose, whole-grain rice, while most others use flaked rice. We didn’t quite know what would happen when we brewed it for the first time on our tasting room brewhouse system. There were many trials and heat recalculations to dry out the beer properly and dial back the sweetness. But thankfully, the stickiness didn’t give us too many problems, and it was a success! Atagi remembers, “once we successfully brewed it there, we scaled it up and made a bigger batch at the production facility. It turned out to be a damn tasty beer.”
Tasty indeed! So light and crisp, with a clean finish, this beer has nowhere to hide. It’s a delicate lager, so any problems would shine through, making it easy to mitigate any issues quickly during brewing to create a solid beer.
“When I visited Japan, I remember buying a Kirin in a vending machine for 500 yen (like a 4-dollar coin) and finding a quiet spot on the river to sit and enjoy it.
“That’s what I hope this beer is, a small respite out of your day to sit and enjoy the view.”