Craft breweries have used everything from the Wu-Tang Clan’s music to cannabis to up their flavor. One brewer, Heroica, in the city of Jundiaí in Brazil, is switching it up and using the branches of centennial Japanese bonsai trees for its beer.
“I was already working in a commercial brewery, following predetermined recipes without the possibility of adding a personal touch or making any kind of change,” Domingues told Munchies. “I decided to make very experimental tests at home and I came up with very different results.”
He’s able to source the bonsai tree branches for his IPA recipe when Bocabello prunes more than 400 of his bonsai trees twice a year. A hundred of Bocabello’s bonsai trees are kuromatsu, which he received as a gift from a third-generation member of a Japanese family that traveled to Brazil in 1912.
Heroica’s Kuromatsu Kamikaze IPA also includes Chinook, Amarillo, and Centennial hops. Only about 265 gallons of the brew are produced every two months.
The brewer’s newest recipe, SuperSonic SourTonic, uses juniper from Bocabello’s bonsai trees. It’s a sour beer made with cucumber and juniper berries, with flavors similar to those of a classic gin and tonic.