The kindness of others

As you will know, I moved back to Japan from my home, the UK last summer. It was a wrench and painful for all involved. I had no job and just an urge/ vague plan to overcome the odds to brew my own beer in my adopted homeland. Well, this was always going to be difficult. And this blog was away of cataloguing this adventure and the all the difficulties and challenges along the way.

I have had to be very patient indeed. We were in no position to invest any money and besides all the equipment I needed was in the UK still (I had bought it, but not yet used it, last summer). 6 months on, I now have the equipment and am ready to brew my first nano-batch (5 litres, I can’t even call it ‘micro’).

Part of my cunning plan has been not only to brew beer, but to grow the raw materials as well. That means barley and hops. Both are not supposed to grow well at my latitude, it is just too warm and too far south. However, a little research on the internet has revealed that hops, at least, grow fairly well as far south as Florida. I can’t do everything at once, so my plans for barley will have to wait.

Next challenge, getting the hop plants. If you’ve read earlier blogs you will know that brewing beer is not as fashionable, nor as commonplace here as it is in the west. You can’t easily buy the plants (or rhizomes, sections of root). Again a little research has revealed one supplier. A relief. However, a little more searching revealed a person who is going to give rhizomes away for nothing! Amazing! Who would of thought it! So, now I can get my grubby mitts on potentially six different types of hops! I

This in itself brings a new challenge, space. As it happens a relative is looking for someone to do something with a large garden in a town not far from where I work. I might even be able to develop this into something of a tourist attraction, if I plan well. The town is itself something of a touristy place and I know they are interested in something like that anyway.

So, thanks to the help of others and a little bit of tenacity from myself, I am in a position to start my fledgling brewery and the means to grow a variety of hops. Of course, I am nowhere near where I want to be with it, but, hey it’s not a bad start! I just need to maintain my course, direction and perhaps have a few more strokes of luck. The end result and viability of any of this is just a big unknown, but without effort I will never know.


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