June 2009

Sake Moment - Can to Can

Posted by Stephen King in 2009, June, Newsletter

I saw the Narutotai Nama Genshu can in Tokushima for the first time I said to myself - that's coming to True Sake! Basically it called to me.


I was visiting the Narutotai brewery, learning from one of the smartest sake men in the sake industry, and was basically in hog heaven. After a working tour of the kura and several more hours visiting with his rice farmers, shacho asked if I would like to taste some product. Hmmmmmmmm! Of course. So he had a tray with roughly 9 brews on it brought in to a small tatami room looking out over a garden, and said "I have to make a quick phone call, so help yourself and have fun exploring." Well explore I did!


Behind three bottles I saw a small squat can - a stout little soldier - with a very pronounced and bold large rice paper label. COOL! I saw that it was nama so I tasted the other brews first and then dove into "THE CAN!" Bingo - it drank as well as it looked. Come to Papa! So I said that it must come to the US, and right there we planned for True Sake to carry the brew. I called the importer, who usually only imports Junmai sakes, and asked if he would carry a Nama Ginjo Genshu for me - us? The answer was all good!


Why in a can? Why? I thought glass was the way to go for nama-zake. Kazuo told me that he felt that by squatting the can it kept the sake colder longer. I then asked about the flavor of metal (aluminum), and he said "Don't worry, I would never let metal touch my sake." Apparently he has a sealant that coats the inside of every can, which is flavorless, and acts as a border to the brew. Smart heh?


Well - over the years we have sold a ton of "Beau-Shu," and it continues to be the "Favorite sake," of a large contingency of True Sake customers - who call the store and simply ask "Do you have cans in stock?" Now we have to ask "Which can" as there is a new kid on the block! The second can to hit the land has arrived at True Sake from Akita prefecture. Minato Tsuchizaki "Harbor" is a Yamahai Nama Futsu- shu Genshu. We sold two cases and will be reloading soon. (It's actually a special order from the East Coast) So rather than doing a head-to-head review to see which can is better or the "bestest" - I thought that I would do a goofy Can to Can highlighting the positives of each brew.


So here it goes - some "canned" thoughts on some canned sake:


Narutotai:                           Minato Tsuchizaki:

Fruity Aroma                         Mineraly Aroma

Dancer                                    Puncher

Smooth                                   Snappy

Disguised                               Boozy

Layered                                   Zesty

Better Chilled                        Better warmed

Fruity                                      Dry

Flavorful with Food            More punch with food

More Bright                          More Solid

Balanced nama                   Frisky nama

Female                                   Male

Heavy Petting                      Heavy Machinery

Bright Day                            Dark Night

Management sake              Machinist Sake

Team Wins                           Team Loses

First Date                              Last Date

Christmas                             Halloween

Wednesday                           Saturday

Obviously this is all tongue and cheek as these are too vastly different brews with their own strengths and weaknesses. It's similar to me comparing a Yugo and Hummer because they both have four wheels. It's not really scientific nor constructive, but they both are cans in a bottle world! So they are joined at the hip for now!

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