One of my favorite reads in undergrad was Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko. I have no intention of writing a book report here, but I have a lasting impression of the theme of change in the story. That cultural rituals aren’t necessarily rote or stagnant but can adapt to contemporary influences without losing the essence of their purpose and meaning. I guess this is a very English Lit 101 way of saying that when it came to Ceremony for Baxter Brewing, I was engaged in the idea of bringing an established beer forward in a way that preserved the core concept, while remaining open to new possibilities.
Ceremony is a subtle and delicate balance of green tea derived tannic astringency with body from malt. For this year’s rendition, I gently increased the malt contribution, which brought the ABV from 4.2% to 4.9% and added a touch of honey malt as a nod to the practice of adding honey to tea to soften bitterness. I feel that the result is potentially even more balanced than the great versions that have preceded it.
Ceremony has always been about the interplay of the grassy and herbal flavors of green tea and their corollaries in certain hop profiles. I took this concept and added small amounts of these ‘greener’ hops to amplify the tea flavors while adding larger volumes of citrusy and fruity hops for contrast and balance.
Ceremony was initially packaged in one of the most beautiful cans that we have produced. I was so excited when Baxter decided to make this new Ceremony our first ever stickered 16 oz can. This new capability marks a new era for the brewery which will allow us to pursue new offerings and innovation in a way that we didn’t have access to before. I love the way that the bright white label jumps off of the can and provides a striking contrast to the black type and Baxter orange. It’s tied to its origins by prominently displaying the koi fish but this time in a hand drawn charcoal style that speaks to the artistry involved in creating this beer.
Everyone at Baxter is very proud to bring you this year’s Ceremony. It’s been a very rewarding process to engage the source material behind the brand and bring it to you fresh and reconsidered with a deep respect for everything it has been. Cheers!
Director of Brewing