(Miki Jinno in Beerland. Photo credit: Vice/Screencap)
As regular readers might know, I’m a resident of Birmingham, AL, so I’m quite stoked to finally feature someone from my neck of the woods who’s changing perceptions and challenging stereotypes. This time though, the playing field isn’t entertainment–it’s the world of beer.
Last month, I highlighted Viceland’s Beerland and its Alabama-centric episode featuring Birmingham home brewer Miki Jinno. Originally from Japan, Jinno’s foray into Birmingham’s home brewing scene has a charmingly Seinfeld-esque beginning–she regifted a present meant for her former father-in-law back to herself–and since then, she’s been on a journey to bring Birminghamians beer infused with a unique Japanese flair.
I interviewed Jinno mid-December after the Beerland episode to ask her more about her brewing, what inspires her, and where she sees home and craft brewing in Birmingham going in the future. As a home brewer, Jinno makes her brews for friends and family, but you can try Jinno’s beer each year at the Moss Rock Festival in Hoover, AL, about an hour’s travel outside of Birmingham.
I watched your episode of Beerland and I thought your approach to beermaking is really interesting especially since there are so many beermakers here in Birmingham; yours can stand out from the crowd.
What got you interested in making beer?
I gave my ex-husband’s father a beer-making kit. He’s a scientist and my background is in science, too. I thought he would like it, but he didn’t use the kit. He just left it on the shelf. I didn’t want to waste the kit, and I was also interested in making beer. I started using that kit to make beer. But of course with a beer kit, you’re not [making great beer.] So, I changed all the ingredients to fresh ingredients, researched what kind of hops to use and fresh yeast to use to make a great beer.
You said in your episode that people didn’t expect someone like you to make beer. What do you think people expect when they think of a brewer?
A beer maker is usually big, has a beer belly. Beermasters, cowboy junkies—those guys are big, and they’re usually older. We go once a year to the Emerald Coast Brewfest, and we usually stay overnight with those guys and they’re telling me, “Hey, Miki, you’re too skinny to brew beer, you need more food.” In the first couple of months or more, I couldn’t really belong to those groups even though I brew beer. First, I’m a female and I’m relatively skinny, and I’m Asian. They think “Oh, you brew beer, but you don’t really get into it.” After they got to know me for about a year, maybe less, they start recognizing how I make beer. That broke the wall of the stereotypes of how they view me…It really took a while for the craft beer people to become comfortable because I’m not that guy that they’re expecting.
I’ve read about your infusion of your Japanese culture into your beermaking? How does your background influence your beer?
As a Japanese person, I have access to lots of Japanese ingredients. Right now it’s [about] Asian fusion—Asian fusion restaurants and ramen noodle places in Birmingham are becoming [more popular]. Everybody likes green teas and being healthy. I think as a Japanese person, I can bring something very unique to the U.S…It’s a great opportunity for me to put something in the beer to introduce people to something they’re unfamiliar with, like Japanese tea or Japanese citrus, which as a different flavor from American tangerines and stuff like that. Something like Yuzukoshō, it’s something that you’ve never tasted before, but I have because I grew up with it. Those little unique, great things are things I can introduce to American people.
As someone who has never had any kind of alcohol, what would be one that would be a good starter for me?
If you like tea, you definitely need to try my green tea beer, or another one I made with kukicha, another type of tea. You don’t taste any bitterness, only tea flavor. I also drop lemon into the beer, so it’s more like refreshing tea. Also, if you like coffee, I made a porter—imagine it’s a hot summer, and you have a choice to drink iced coffee or drink beer, but you want to drink both. So I made a coffee porter.
I’ve never thought about how many types of beer there can be, but this is really interesting.
Thank you. I’m a BJCP [Beer Judge Certification Program] judge, so I actually go to judge other beer at home brew competitions. We judge homebrew competitions everywhere, but I usually judge the Birmingham Brew-Off, Peach State Brew-Off, and Boardtown Brew-Off. Sometimes a brewery will invite me to taste their beer before they make a big batch. Going through this judging program, I learn [about] a ton of new beers, so many different types, so many different ingredients, it’s really interesting. It’s not the [usually] beer you think about—there are beers that taste like wine or taste like a scotch. There are so many kinds out there.
Where do you see Birmingham going in the next few years?
The next few years are very interesting. I think more breweries are going to pop up. It’s interesting that within five to six years, so many breweries are opened. I think it’s going to double. Probably in the rural areas, like Alabaster or other areas north and south that are not highly populated, I think they’re very interesting, too. I think there are going to be more smaller breweries opening up because people are recognizing how amazing this craft beer is.♦
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Halima Aden on the cover of CR Fashion Book
Model Halima Aden is giving black Muslim girls the visibility they deserve. Dec. 24, she tweeted out how she’s achieved success without sacrificing who she is.
“You can walk the red carpet, walk in fashion shows, and still be a cover girl while remaining true to yourself!” she wrote online, along with posting several of her high fashion covers for Allure, Vogue Arabia, Grazia, and CR Fashion Book.
You can walk the red carpet, walk in fashion shows, and still be a cover girl while remaining true to yourself 😘 pic.twitter.com/vOiKc42v8p
— Halima Aden (@Kinglimaa) December 24, 2017
Born in a Kenyan UN refugee camp to Somali parents fleeing their home country in the early 1990s and relocating with her family to Minnesota when she was seven, Aden has always paved the way for more inclusion and diversity in beauty and fashion. When she competed in the 2016 Miss Minnesota USA pageant, she was the first contestant in America to compete while wearing a hijab. She’s also the first Muslim model to dress conservatively and wear a hijab while working.
“To understand the importance of representation you have to ask people who’ve never felt like they were represented fairly,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “For me, anytime I saw somebody who dressed like me in a movie, the character was someone oppressed. There was a narrative to it that didn’t match mine. Same thing with the news. Every time I saw somebody who looked like me, chances were they were doing something bad. Now, I get to represent my community to the majority.”
Read more of her story at the Harper’s Bazaar link above.
(Photo credit: CBS)
JUST ADD COLOR reader Natasha Polsinelli has provided our first reader-submitted Man Crush Monday, Shemar Moore!
Moore is the star of CBS’ S.W.A.T., the same show that has our other Man Crush Monday highlight, David Lim. Moore has had a long career in Hollywood, starring on The Young and the Restless, Criminal Minds, and as the host of Soul Train from 1999 to 2003.
On S.W.A.T., Moore stars as Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson, a former Marine and S.W.A.T. sergeant who is the leader of his unit in his hometown of Los Angeles. Hondo is, according to CBS, “[t]orn between loyalty to where he was raised and allegiance to his brothers and blue,” but under Hondo’s leadership, “these dedicated men and women bravely put themselves at risk to protect their community and save lives.”
Moore has won eight NAACP Image Awards and uses his starpower to bring awareness to multiple sclerosis after his mother was diagnosed in 1998. As the spokesperson for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Moore has been a part of the organization’s annual charity Bike MS ride from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles and donates a portion of his “Baby Girl” clothing line to the organization.
(Photo credit: Tidal/YouTube)
One of the highlights of Jay Z’s Family Feud video, directed and conceptualized by Ava DuVernay, is the exploration of female leadership in families and, indeed, in a future America. Seeing scores of diverse women running the country, culminating in co-presidency between Irene Bedard and Omari Hardwick, only made me want to see a full-fledged drama series based around these characters and this new, Afrofuturistic and ethnofuturistic world.
Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling interviewed Bedard about her role and the importance of honoring female strength in relation to the nation and the world. Here are some key points from her interview.
On getting the call to star in Family Feud while at Standing Rock:
“…In the midst of all of this in Standing Rock, where reception is terrible, I got a call from my agent asking if I could be ready in three days to do a video project in New York. I got on a plane not knowing what I was doing except it was an untitled Ava DuVernay project. I love her and I knew whatever she was doing, it would be awesome. I went with complete faith.”
On hearing she was playing Madame President:
“[DuVernay] looked at me and said, ‘So, you are the President of the United States in the year 2444.’ I was like, ‘What?’ (laughs.) She said, ‘You are actually the co-President because at this time we have realized over the generations that we need to have more balance between the feminine and masculine.’… Of course this was going to done right with a director like Ava, but then to have Beyoncé and Jay-Z? I got to tell my son about this, He was like, ‘what?’ (laughs.) This project gave me some teenager cool points. (laughs.)”
On the importance of representing the matrilineal aspect of leadership:
“…Violence to Mother Earth is another representation of violence against women. Why do we do this? I feel it is because we are out of balance.
If you look at the story of White Buffalo Calf Woman, there are two men who come to her and one man wanted to own her, while the other wanted to give respect and value. The man who wanted to own her got the thunderbolt, the other who wanted to honor her received the gifts, the pipe and the people thrived.
We are lacking in intelligent discourse. I believe that we as a society are much more capable of being tolerant and loving to one another, than what might appear on the internet.”
Read the full interview at Indian Country Today.