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"Ask Beau" December 2006

Man this email hurt in a certain kind of way, but where there is pain, there is truth. And I enjoy both the pain and the truth of this "Ask Beau" question from Brian in Berkeley who wrote:

"I was in the store the other day and overheard you say that you have been to over 50 breweries in Japan but never once have you been to a brewery in the US. Does this mean that you are a brewery snob?"

Beau Timken

Ouch! That stings. I have been called out on the dance floor by one of my peeps! (Yes, I greatly appreciate when my customers and friends call me out, I really do.) Brian the best answer that I can give is that I look for "mental value" when I go to a brewery. By that I mean, I go looking for extremely specific information, which I often times do not get when visiting a large or "group guided" kura (brewery). Does that mean I am a snob. I hope not. It does mean that I get very frustrated when I am at the source of great sake knowledge and they give me a smidgeon of useful information.

Last month I went to a brewery in Tokyo prefecture (Yes they brew sake in Tokyo - not proper but outskirts of a large prefecture), and they attempted to give me the "quick see" tour - thinking that I didn't know too much about sake brewing. After 30 minutes of the "quick see" they knew that I was on a different level than most brewery visitors who are seeking the "B-line" for the tasting room. Eventually, I was escorted by the head brewer (Toji) who had to actually refer to old texts to answer some of my questions, but the point is that I get frustrated if I am close to sake knowledge and my guests do not provide it. Yes. This sounds like I am a damn snob! So in a sense I am!

But back to you Brian. The answer is that I have never been to Takara Brewery 35 minutes away from True Sake. That sucks! In fact that is so damn lame that I intend to do something about it. I will look into doing a True Sake Tour at Takara that will be open to all of those who sign up. That way I will prove that A) I am not a total snob and B) when you ask good questions you get good answers.

If you are interested in a weekend sake tour at Takara brewery in Berkeley with True Sake as your hosts please send an email to info@truesake.come with the Message "Brewery Tour".

Please send your sake specific questions to askbeau2 @ (This address is not for general questions and I only review the questions once per month. All correspondence should use info @

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