October 2009

SakeDay 2009 - The Infamy The Summary!

Posted by Beau Timken in 2009, Newsletter, October
What can I say? If you missed it - well - ummmm you missed. The 4th Annual SakeDay celebration was by far my favorite to date! There I said it. It was the best! Why? It was smart - it was fun - and it made me feel good to be in attendance.

I'd like to take a second to thank Miwa personally for all of her amazing efforts in organizing this wonderful occasion. She ran point on the event and did a superb job. Dare I say that this SakeDay was my favorite, because it was so well organized? You bet. Thank you Miwa 10,000 times over. I'd also like to thank Lynette, who did a lot of the "little things" that take so much time and attention. SakeDay is all about the details and Lynette should be considered the "Detail Queen." Likewise, a big thank you to Keiko who had just got off a flight from Japan in time to come and lend a serious helping hand. Lastly, a HUGE thank you to Mari and her team, our great vendors who laid down some great sake, and of course our volunteers who ruled the day! Thank you all.

Welcome Sakes I will highlight my personal favorites that started with a great welcoming sake and evolved into some damn fun sake tasting stations, (Please note - I was so "running" that I did not eat - not one single bite!) and the evening culminated in me whistling very loudly to our brilliant Okinawa band (8 members strong).

The "Point" or "Elevator Pitch Meaning" of SakeDay is the edu- entertainment factor. We don't want to just pour sake in your cup. We don't want you to just drink sake from your cup. We don't want to just watch you moo-around like cattle drinking sake from your cup with no idea of what you are drinking. We want you to think and drink. And that is why I like calling SakeDay the smarter sake tasting event! We want to impart some knowledge on our attendees, so they gain the greatest sake gift of all - a clue! I cannot tell you how many people came up to me during the event to thank us for giving them a "stepping stone" of knowledge that totally expanded their base of understanding. That's what is fun for me!

Sake Stations Now since you didn't go - or did - I will give away some of our secrets - not all. We had four Sake Tasting Stations to accompany the four Food Stations that paired sake specifically with four "global" cuisines that we selected to show the promise that sake need not just go with sushi! We had 13 vendors who poured any where from 3-14 different sakes for our guests to taste and explore. And we had a detailed superb program that featured each and every sake that was available that night - at all stations and from all of the vendors.

Food The Welcome Sake was a special treat. We poured the new incarnation of the Niigata stalwart brew known as Jozen Mizunogotoshi from Shiratake. This Junmai Ginjo has been re-tooled, re-designed and re- packaged (they now age this guy for a year) and folks really liked the new depth, volume, richness, and body of this very drinkable sake. Yes - our guests were the first to taste this baby!

Music Next came the Sake Tasting Stations - a weird and wonderful splinter of our sake imaginations. Why just speak about sweet and dry sakes when you can learn about the nihonshu-do? Why just hear about acidity when you can define it? Why fear alcohol-added sakes when you can taste the difference - if there really is one? And why explore Yamahai brews without really understanding the process? We wanted to answer all of these points in a fun and constructive manner. Here are the four Sake Tasting/Exploration Stations available at SakeDay 2009:
  1. The Acid Trip - Taste 5 different sakes of different acidity levels - each progressing one degree from 1.5-1.9. Then pick the sakes with the highest and lowest acidity levels.

  2. Who You Calling A Honjozo - Taste 4 sakes - three of which are Honjozo and one is a Junmai. Then try to find the Junmai sake amongst the brews with added alcohol.

  3. Sweet 'n Low - High 'n Dry - Taste 7 different sakes from all corners of Japan. Then try to pick the "sweetest" and "driest" sakes.

  4. That's My Guy - Yamahai Tasting - Taste 4 Yamahai sakes - 3 visible and 1 covered. The covered brew is a repeat of one of the 3 visible sakes. Then pick which two Yamahai sakes are the same.
Sound like fun? It was! And sandwiched between the rocking 8-strong band - the wonderful food pairings - the raffles and give-aways - and the abundance of vendor pour sake - SakeDay 2009 was a blast. Next year - do not hesitate! (PS. We had one of Japan's premier food and sake magazines cover the event - if that is any indication!)

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