Five Boroughs Brewing Collaborates with Brooklyn Kura on Koji Rice Lager

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Five Boroughs Brewing Co. teamed up with Brooklyn Kura, New York State’s first sake brewery, for a unique and creative collaboration incorporating the foundational ingredient in sake into a new beer.

Sunset Kura, a koji rice lager, uses kome koji, which is rice inoculated with a mold called koji-kin that serves as the base to sake. Under very specific conditions, koji-kin breaks down the starches in rice and converts them to fermentable sugars similar to the mashing process with grain.

“While the brewing of beer and sake are distinctively unique, this collaboration served as an opportunity to blend our two worlds together and create something truly special,” said Nick Griffin, Head of Brewing and Quality Management for Five Boroughs Brewing Co. “As a brewery in Sunset Park, we were extremely excited that Brooklyn Kura moved into the area and knew that we wanted to collaborate together.”

The friendship between Five Boroughs Brewing Co. and Brooklyn Kura began a little over a year ago prior to the opening of both of their facilities. The idea to join forces seemed like an exciting and creative challenge for both breweries.

“This is Brooklyn Kura’s first official beer collaboration since Brooklyn Kura launched in March, so we are very excited to have partnered with Five Boroughs Brewing Co. as they make excellent craft beer,” said Brooklyn Kura Co-Founder and President, Brian Polen.

To start the joint brewing effort the Five Boroughs Brewing Co. team traveled to Brooklyn Kura to assist with the process of making koji, called Seigiku. Once the rice fermented, Brooklyn Kura co-owners, Brandon Doughan and Brian Polen, made the 12-block trip to the Five Boroughs Brewing Co. facility to finish brewing the rice lager.

Instead of being utilized in a batch of sake the rice made up half of the beer’s grain bill. “Sunset Kura is a beer that features a 50/50 split of extra pale pilsner malt and Brooklyn Kura’s American-grown rice inoculated with koji mold, an essential ingredient in sake,” said Griffin. After the brew day, Sunset Kura was cold fermented and allowed to mature according to traditional lagering methods. “With the intent of allowing the koji’s citrusy, fresh rice character to play center stage, Sunset Kura is a unique, unfiltered and unfined lager unlike any other,” said Griffin.

To celebrate, Five Boroughs Brewing Co. released Sunset Kura in their taproom on May 5th during their “Kick Off to Summer in Sunset Park” party.

“This collaboration has been a true partnership between the two breweries,” said Blake Tomnitz, Co-Founder and CEO at Five Boroughs Brewing Co. “It’s always great to work with other local craft beverage manufacturers in New York City to showcase and promote the growing scene. We’re excited to see what our customers and New Yorkers think of Sunset Kura,” added Tomnitz.

Sunset Kura is available on draft at the Five Boroughs Brewing Co. taproom and patrons were able to taste the beer alongside a sample of sake. Additionally, events are scheduled at select retail accounts throughout New York City, including Cardiff Giant and Beer Karma, where the beer and sake can be tasted side by side.

For additional information about the Five Boroughs Brewing Co. and Brooklyn Kura, please visit their respective websites below:

Five Boroughs Brewing Co:

Brooklyn Kura:

About Five Boroughs Brewing Co.

Crafting flavorful beers to represent the greatest city in the world is not something we take lightly. Five Boroughs Brewing Co. is a New York City brewery, taproom and events space located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. We produce high-quality craft beers that embody the dynamic spirit of New York City, a place where aspirations are limited only by what you are able to brew up in your head.

Five Boroughs Brewing Co. aims to celebrate and encourage the exploration of craft beer and all the wonders the five boroughs of New York City have to offer. Ultimately, our goal is to create a culture and family that all New Yorkers can be a part of and a beer they can truly call their own.

About Brooklyn Kura

At Brooklyn Kura, we are committed to a new tradition of American Craft Sake. Building on more than 1,000 years of Japanese brewing history, we’re demystifying sake and making it more accessible. Our sake is brewed right here in New York City, hand-crafted with the highest quality ingredients.

In sake, deceptively simple ingredients – rice, water, yeast and koji – create a broad range of flavors and aromas. A well-crafted sake can be floral or acidic, sweet or astringent, fruity or savory. Slight changes in yeast strain, rice variety, water mineral content or brewing method can produce wildly different results.

Today, most Americans think of sake as a distilled spirit to be served warm and enjoyed like a shot. We’re changing that perception: Good sake is subtle and complex, generally best served chilled or at room temperature.

Whether you’ve been on a sake pilgrimage to Japan or you’re a complete sake rookie, we promise you won’t be disappointed.

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