September 2019

Power 5 Challenge - Strange Brews

Posted by Beau Timken in 2019, Newsletter, Power 5, September

This month’s Power 5 Sake Challenge takes a look at 5 different sake that could be considered “strange.” Is being strange a bad thing? Heck no! In fact it’s quite a differentiator in a market that has so many sake to choose from. It other words these 5 sake are unique and very much worth a taste if you want to expand your sake frontiers! And remember sake brewers would not make something that tastes like crap just to be unique! In fact it’s quite the opposite. The makers of these 5 different brews feel like they made great tasting sake and that’s why they are different! This is a great example of how and where sake came from and where we are headed. And the future is glorious. 

Power 5 A

1) Kamoizumi Aged Nama “Red Maple”

  • I’ve been preaching the age your namazake mantra for well over a decade, and this Hiroshima brewery heard me! There is so much going on in aged unpasteurized brew. It’s so much looking for the old and new in this sake. 


2) Kanbara Aged Yamahai Koshu “Ancient Treasure”

  • I once referred to this sake as the Koshu “Twilight Zone.” It is out there man! Such an adventurous sake on so many levels. First it has all of the wonderful appearances of an aged brew, but the flavor field is immense and so varied. From citrus tones to cocoa you will find it all in one of the really amazing expressions of aged sake.


    3) Ichishima Karen “Coy” 

    • I love discovery sakes that take drinkers in new directions and facets of sake appreciation. One of my favorite breweries in Niigata prefecture Ichishima made a sake that went out looking for new customers, and boy did it work. This lower alcohol (10%) was made to appeal to those who like fruity and light sakes. With an SMV of -23 and an acidity of 2.9 you’d think this brew would be in conflict, but quite the opposite, it's very well balanced and super drinkable for those who don’t like boozy sake. 


    4) Tamagawa Kimoto Junmai “Time Machine”

    • Stop me if you have heard this one before. An eccentric British sake maker finds an ancient recipe for sake from 1712 and decides to make it for the modern masses? Just another sake story, but one that is so fun and tasty from Kyoto Prefecture’s Tamagawa with Philip Harper at the helm. It’s not every day that you can taste history, but then again you can taste what sake tasted like in 1712 every day that you want to and you should! 


    5) Dewatsuru Junmai “Sakura Emaki” 

    • Anything the wine world can do the sake world can do, but only better. Wine has Rose, and the sake making world has an ancient heirloom purple varietal rice that brews into a rose-like color. This lower alcohol effort (12%) is incredibly well balanced and has flavors that match the colors in your glass.


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