The honey flavour of Taiwan
beer comes from tea
Another registration for participation in the 30th year of the International Beer Festival came the long way from Southeaster Asia, namely from the island of Taiwan. The prestigious Czech degustation competition will thus feature the beer made by a small independent brewery 55th Street Craft Brewery seated at the city of Tchao-jüan. The brewery was founded in 2013 by Jack Yu, who, together with his wife, pursued the goal to brew good solid Taiwan craft beer, drawing inspiration from American beer. Only fresh ingredients, primarily of local origin, are used for brewing.
The serial number contained in the name of the brewery is not a reference to a busy street in Manhattan. When Yu’s parents moved from Taiwan to Bogota, Colombia, more than thirty years ago, they opened a Chinese restaurant in a place situated at 55th Street.
Jack Yu does not filter his beer and uses several interesting ingredients. Tea is one of them. “The tea comes from Ruisui, a remarkable place in the district of Hualien, in Taiwan, the home of black tea rich in honey flavour and taste. The interesting taste of the tea comes from insect species Jacobiasca formosana, which infests tea plants in summer after the rain spells. These little insects nibble at young tea leaves, thereby causing a chemical reaction in the leaves - the plants then produce certain substances that give the tea made of these leaves the unique honey flavour. Sprouts with two leaves are harvested for this black Taiwan oolong. Our craft beer contains this type of tea with honey aroma to enhance the feel of our home country,” says Jack Yu, the brewmaster and co-owner of the brewery.
For brewing Amber Ale, Jack Yu uses dried fruits of longan, a tropical fruit tree. The fruit, known as the “dragon eye”, and the malt of barley variety Maris Otter, imported from Great Britain, give the beer a sort of dry sweetness, ideally suitable for drinking in the local subtropical climate. The hop is of American provenance. “We use Maris Otter malt also for brewing our Indie Pale Ale since the malt provides the beer with a solid base and just the right English touch. Along with the American hop, our beer contains the best attributes from the both parts of the world,” explains Jack Yu, whose brewery has already won an important world award - a bronze medal for Rye Porter in the Asia Beer Cup in 2016, the New Generation category.