It’s probably been ages since you’ve had a fresh-squeezed cup of persimmon juice. What? You’ve never had that? 4 Hands Brewing Co. can remedy that. The St. Louis-based brewery, which recently celebrated its second anniversary, has released Late Harvest Saison, a beer that is only available in Kansas City.
“The goal was to create a Kansas City specific beer with every aspect of it being Kansas City based,” 4 Hands president Kevin Lemp says.
Lemp became friendly with chef Josh Eans (who took over Happy Gillis earlier this week) on Twitter. The two started bouncing ideas back and forth based on a potential ingredient list from Linda Hezel at Prairie Birthday Farm (profiled here in The New York Times by local writer Ben Paynter). They hit on wild persimmon right away, adding in ginger and honey, to create a beer that would represent fall.
“I think there are lots of possibilities for ingredients that we haven’t come to explore,” Hezel says. “I like to grow unusual things, use unusual things and I encourage my customers to do fun things with unusual ingredients. I’m delighted that it tastes good.”
If you’re pairing foods with the brew that runs 6.3% alcohol by volume, Lemp recommends something with squash.
“It’s hard to extract a lot of flavor from the persimmon when you’re working with 500 gallons of liquid, but you get a bit of the earthiness of the persimmon,” Lemp says. “The ginger works really nicely and the honey added a bit of gravity for a nice mouthfeel.”
“It gives a whole new meaning to a local craft brew,” Hezel adds. “It’s not just on the label that it’s from a local brewery. It has a local base in the soil.”
After a bit of delay because of the government shutdown — the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau wasn’t approving new beer labels for several weeks this fall — Eans came down to St. Louis for a brew day in November and the beer hit store shelves this week. There’s a tasting tonight at Gomer’s Midtown (3838 Broadway) from 4 to 6 p.m. and Friday at Lukas Liquor (13657 Washington) from 3 to 6 p.m. 4 Hands will also be cracking a firkin of their Bona Fide Imperial Stout at The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium (101 E. 13th St.) at 7 p.m. tonight. [h/t to KC Beer Blog]
While only 15 barrels were made of the Late Harvest Saison, Lemp believes that future collaborations could be headed up I-70.
“We don’t believe this is a one-time project. We’ll absolutely be doing this again,” Lemp says.
The next chapter is currently being written at the brewery. 4 Hands acquired a whiskey barrel that had been used by The Big O, a St. Louis-based microdistillery, to age its ginger liqueur. If you’re curious, Providence New American Kitchen (1329 Baltimore) is currently featuring cocktails made with the barrel-aged liqueur. A batch of Late Harvest is currently being aged in that barrel and will be released in 22 oz. bottles, likely sometime in 2014.
“I’m excited about the bourbon and vanilla notes, as well as the ginger. Bourbon with [Late Harvest] sounds fantastic.” Lemp says. “In six months, we’ll see where we are at and give it a taste.”[Image via Twitter: @josheans, Facebook: 4 Hands]