Kuriro Rice Lager

We like to say that variety is our flagship beer at Side By Each, but Kuriro is one of the two beers we have on just about all the time, for a couple of good reasons. The first is that we try to  offer something for just about everyone, and Kuriro is the perfect craft beer for someone who is used to mass market lagers. It’s also popular with folks from other breweries, because it’s super easy to drink and everyone gets tired of hops sometimes. Lastly, it’s our bestseller for wholesale draft beer, for the same reasons.

Japanese lagers like Sapporo and Kirin inspired us to make Kuriro (sushi is Ben’s favorite food, and these beers go just great with it). In Japan brewers have used rice as an adjunct to malt for centuries, mainly because it’s commonly available and relatively inexpensive. Rice supplies yeast with fermentable sugars, but adds very little flavor or body, which results in a beer that’s quite light in color, flavor, and body.

We brew Kuriro with a base of pilsner malt (generally speaking, the lightest barley malt out there) and about 30% toasted rice flakes. Light hopping and a German lager yeast round out the ingredients. Soft and subtle describe Kuriro’s flavor profile. Grain and straw dominate the malt character, while notes of crackers round it out. German noble hops provide just enough bitterness for balance, while the yeast contributes a very subdued hint of fruit. Four to five weeks of lagering time allow this yeast to clean up Kuriro beautifully, resulting in a super light, crisp beer that’s easy to drink.

It’s also an easy beer to match with a wide range of food. Sushi goes great, of course. It’s also refreshing with just about any spicy Asian dish, with burgers and fries, with chips and dips… Really, it’ll go nicely with many things, provided. they’re not too rich or strongly flavored.

And how about that name? Kuriro (sometimes spelled Kurio) means “auburn” in Japanese. (Actually, Japanese, like most languages, doesn’t have a word for auburn, so really it means chestnut, which frankly is close enough.) The image on the can? That’s a rice hulling machine, paying tribute to Auburn’s industrial past and present and to Kuriro’s distinctive ingredient.

ABV: 5.0%, Bitterness in IBU: 20, Color in SRM: 2, Fermentation Temp: 13C, Grain to Glass: 6 weeks