LEWES, Del. — Extreme sports exude adventure: it embodies risk, skill and excitement. While we are all thinking of skateboards and motocross, others find a more experimental outlet. Those at BeerAdvocate embrace extreme brewing as a sport in itself. In conjunction with sponsor, Dogfish Head Brewery, BeerAdvocate tasks breweries to create something that challenges the norm for beer lovers, showcasing these attempts each year at Extreme Beer Fest in Boston.
Roughly 120 breweries across the country were invited to create sessional, extreme beers “via unexpected or innovative ingredients, techniques and methods.” Crooked Hammock Brewery, one of three Delaware breweries invited and in their second year attending the festival, prides themselves on producing sessional beers that embody their easy-going lifestyle brand.
While its brewers are always cooking up intriguing recipes by sourcing both local and foreign ingredients to deliver robust flavors, they decided to work with 2018 Star Chef Rising Star, three-time James Beard nominee and friend, Hari Cameron, to produce a Happoshu style Japanese Lager to take with them this year.
“He [Cameron] is accustomed to pushing the boundaries on the plate. It was educational and fun to see him do so in a pint,” says Jon Schorah, brand manager and brewer at Crooked Hammock. “Hari’s ventures have taught him different flavor profiles we haven’t explored yet and with some idea bouncing, we think we’ve come up with an exquisitely unique and flavorful beer to take with us to Boston.”
Gentle Giant, brewed with four different types of malted rice and aged on Genmaicha green tea and Koji rice, renders a light, crisp, crushable, yet extreme beer at 4.2 percent ABV. The brew was inspired by Cameron’s interest in Japanese culture and his more frequent use of of Koji rice in the past couple of years.
“Koji rice is used in many different Japanese recipes including sake, miso and soy sauce,” explains Cameron. “I took a particular interest though in Sumo wrestlers and their diets when given this challenge. Sumo wrestlers are known to crush six different beers at each meal, making them the ultimate session beer drinkers.”
Gentle Giant is currently available at the brewery and restaurant located in Lewes, Delaware. The team will be traveling to Boston for the Extreme Beer Fest on Feb. 1.