Sake Destinations – KJ Visits Brooklyn Kura
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Brooklyn Kura in Industry City, which is the first sake brewery in the state of New York. Brian, the businessman behind the operation and Brandon, formerly a researcher scientist and home brewer, is the resident toji. The pair met in Japan in 2013 and have been working towards making great sake ever since.
My sister and boyfriend were along for the ride and we were able to taste through a number of their fantastic brews. First up was their Junmai Ginjo Nama. It had distinct notes of green apple, tangerine, and an undertone of cocoa bean balanced by a soft, full body and a savory finish. My boyfriend Mike felt this one was reminiscent of sake from Niigata; very textural with delicate flavors.
Next was a sake that threw me for a loop. Brian poured us a sake with a subtle pink hue. We asked what gave it the unusual color, but he insisted we try it and see for ourselves. My sister Gia said there were lots of peach aromas and I noticed some floral tones. It reminded me of aromatic wines made from muscat grapes. There was something about the brew that reminded me of beer, but I kept that thought in the back of my mind. It was finally revealed that this particular sake is a Junmai Ginjo Nama that was dry-hopped with Citra hops after pressing. This sake is one of the most unique and successful off-beat styles I have ever enjoyed drinking. Besides the nose being full of peach, floral and tropical aromas, the palate was rich in body, yet dry enough to keep the robust aromas in check. It was a beautifully balanced brew and I made sure to buy a bottle to enjoy over the weekend.
We tried two more sakes before exploring the brewery itself which is right behind their sleek, yet cozy tasting room. Their Junmai Nama Genshu 'Superdry' clocks in at 17% abv. It has a cleaner, fresher feel on the palate with notes of banana, bing cherries, a touch of minerality and a dry, ricey finish. Their Junmai Nama 'Blue Door' was a perfect brew for the season, showing off notes of custard and autumnal fruits.
It's exciting to see such a young brewery making outstanding and original sakes. I can't wait to see what's coming next. If you are located in NYC and are interested in trying their limited release Occidental Citra dry-hopped sake, Brooklyn Kura is having a party at Sake Bar Decibel on 9th st. this Monday, October 22nd 6-8pm.
Industry City is just below residential Park Slope and only a couple of miles from the quirky waterfront town of Red Hook. Brooklyn Kura is a perfect excuse to spend time in these interesting areas that are being revitalized for public use and commerce. The brewery is open for tasting Fridays 5-9pm, Saturdays 1-9pm and Sunday 1-6pm. To keep an eye on upcoming events and where to find BK sakes in NY, follow them here: @brooklynkura