May 2020

Sake Experiences – Vertically Taste a Brewery

Posted by Beau Timken in 2020, May, May 2020, Newsletter, Sake Experiences

If you’re reading this newsletter then there is a pretty good chance that you are sheltering in place (SIP) to avoid contracting the Corona Virus. You’re at home bored to death, or you’re defying certain orders to stay home, and you’re out and about trying to find a sense of normalcy again. But it’s for certain that you are not on a plane to Japan to go sake brewery touring. Nope not yet! That said it’s a great time for sake breweries to come to you!


Usually at the end of a visit to a sake brewery (kura) the owners set a line-up of their sakes for you to taste. It’s always awesome, and it’s a great chance to “quantify” that brewery’s essence in sake making. You can taste the water in each sake, you can taste the “house” yeast if they use their own proprietary kobo, you can feel the use of acidity, and you can taste similar rice varietals throughout different milling categories.   In a word you can taste and feel a vein that runs through their sake offerings. It’s like discovering a gold vein through layers and layers of the Earth's crust. 

In an effort to find that vein herewith are several brewery line-ups that we carry that can help you “Taste a kura.” It’s a fun at home exercise to discover the vein of a brewery while you detect how they make their sake and what ingredients go in the production of several of their brews. It’s a way to pull themes that are in fact styles of brewing and to discover the essence of a kura’s flavors and feelings.


4) Visit the Tonoike Sake Brewery in Tochigi Prefecture:



5) Visit the Tsukinokatsura Brewery in Kyoto Prefecture:



6) Visit the Tsukasabotan Bewery in Kochi Prefecture:



And if you want to try something really cool - the same sake in three different brewing styles – then visit the Kamoizumi Brewery in Hiroshima Prefecture:



Don’t forget to taste evenly! Huh? Make sure that when comparing these amazing sakes to look for themes, veins, styles, feelings, and flavors that you use the same sized glass and same serving temperature for each brew. This will keep things equal in a manner of speaking and will help you find more similarities! And remember the ingredients might be different, but the makers are the same, so their style always shines through. What is that style? Take your time smelling, looking at the sake, and feeling the brew in your palate. Make sure each sip is the same size, and close your eyes if you really feel like getting into that brew!


The great thing about this “exercise” or “exploration” is that when we finally get through this virus craziness – which we will – maybe one day down the road you can visit one of these breweries and tell them that you really discovered the meaning of their sake during the great pandemic of 2020.

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