Skip to content

Chris

Hello!

My name is Chris Cabrera aka CABS and I've been in the sake industry since 2015. After working as the General Manager of Umami Mart in Oakland California, it is an honor and a privilege to call True Sake my new home base.

In 2018 under the tutelage of Sake Samurai Toshio Ueno, I am also a Sake Adviser certified by the Sake School of America (via the Sake Service Institute in Japan).

In April 2021, I've earned my Sake Scholar certification under the guidance of Sake Samurai, Michael Tremblay aka Toronto's favorite son.

In November 2021, I've earned my Level 3 Award in Sake from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust taught by Jesse Pugach and KJ Rizzo.

I've been lucky enough to travel to Japan a handful of times, and was able to visit various breweries and tasting rooms, as well as attend my first ever Sake no Jin in Niigata. These are experiences I will never forget. I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge and expertise here at True Sake, and meeting fellow sake nerds, lovers, connoisseurs, and enthusiasts.

Me and Nishida Denshu. Photo by our Spring intern, Ayumi chan!


Some quick picks from me, new picks with asterisks (updated 6/15/2022):

Kumaya Shuzo AN Tokubetsu Junmai Omachi  - A fantastic expression of Omachi sake milled to 60 percent. I identify as "Omachisuto" which means being a fanatic of sake made with Omachi rice, a term I learned about in the new book by Nancy Matsumoto and Michael Tremblay. Great balance, with a nice dry and herbal finish that is synomymous with Omachi rice. Shout out to Eduardo Dingler for introducing me to this excellent sake.

Kumaya Shuzo "AN" Tokubetsu Junmai Omachi. If you know, you know. Also, shoutout to Tacos Oscar and the Anaheim Indoor Marketplace.

 

Nishida Denshu Tokubetsu Junmai "Country Squire"  - This sake is in my "Top Five Best Sakes in the Shop." Bold statement, I know. But it's true. Hints of vanilla, and hints of umami. As my favorite ATLiens would say, "So fresh and so clean." Nishida Denshu is made in limited quantities, so act fast. From Aomori prefecture.

Shinkame Junmai "Holy Turtle" - Arguably the best Junmai in the shop. Aged for 2 years, this full-bodied brew is great room temp, but fantastic warm. In 1987, Shinkame Shuzo was the first brewery to brew only Junmai sakes after World War 2, which is a big deal, as this happened during the "Ginjo Boom." Also a big deal, because so much sake post World War 2 had lots of brewers alcohol added. This is your sake drinker's favorite Junmai sake. Much respect to the Holy Turtle! From Saitama prefecture.

*Kikuhime Futsushu "Kiku"  - The first official bottle from our True Sake Selections series. After many years of our fearless leader and Sake Samurai Beau Timken being selfless, and not really getting credit for bottles he has brought in to the United States (Narutotai Nama, Cowboy Yamahai, Kuroushi one-cups, Urakasumi Honjozo Genshu, etc.), I said that it's finally time to put our True Sake stamp and seal of approval on the back label. Kikuhime is a legendary brewery here at True Sake and we are so stoked to be the first to carry their Futsushu. Don't knock a Futsushu till you try it. Not everything has to be a nama daiginjo. This is what the locals in Ishikawa drink. Using three different types of rice (Yamadanishiki, Gohyakumangoku, and mochi rice), this gem of a sake has notes of creme brûlée and is great room temp, but best warm. Buy this now before it sells out! From Ishikawa prefecture.

 

 Me and True Sake Alumnus, Shinsuke. I love Star Trek.

 

Sohomare Tokubetsu Junmai Kimoto "Heart and Soul" - A great izakaya sake for sure. This is a fun one to get nerdy with because Sohomare Shuzo uses only Toku-A special Yamadanishiki rice to make their Kimoto style sakes. Not only do they use the best sake rice ever, they also brew using multiple types of yeasts, and blend those sake batches to make one masterful blend (Yeast #6 Aramasa, #7 Masumi, and #1401 Kanagawa non-foaming if you were wondering). The un-Kimoto. The elegant Kimoto. Great for sake drinkers that like acidity and umami. This is the sake you take to your favorite yakitori spot. Sohomare is my jam!! From Tochigi prefecture.

 

With all that being said, the best way to learn about sake is to drink more sake, pay attention, take notes, and remember what you like and don't like. There's A LOT of misinformation out there on the internet (how ironic, since you're reading my list on the internet), but it's up to you to do your due diligence, and fine tune your sake preferences that align with your taste buds. Cheers! -Chris

 

An ad at Niigata's Echigo-Yuzawa Station featuring Reruhi-San, who looks like Theodor Von Lerch, an Austro-Hungarian general who introduced skiing to Japan.


Moerenuma Park (モエレ沼公園) Sapporo, Hokkaido


At Niseko Shuzo in Hokkaido, where the President insisted on this photo op, even though I just wanted to be a customer. My friend who speaks Japanese spilled the beans that I worked in the sake industry, which in hindsight, created this fun, awkward moment.


  • Kumaya Shuzo AN "Omachi"

    Kumaya Shuzo AN "Omachi"

    Tokubetsu Junmai
    $40.00

    The nose on this sake that is made with the Omachi rice varietal is a very cool collection of butter, sunflower seeds, dry grasses, cedar, grape, c...

    View full details
  • Nishida Denshu Tokubetsu Junmai "Country Squire"

    Nishida Denshu Tokubetsu Junmai "Country Squire"

    Tokubetsu Junmai
    $49.00

    This ultra-popular Junmai comes from a brewery that only makes 50,000 cases per year, which creates a hyper-demand for such a well-structured and f...

    View full details
  • Shinkame Junmai "Holy Turtle"

    Shinkame Junmai "Holy Turtle"

    Aged Junmai
    $52.00

    The nose on this Junmai that has been aged for two years is a vast collection of earthy, nutty, forest floor, steamed rice, and wet wool aromas. Ta...

    View full details
  • Kikuhime Futsushu "Kiku"

    Kikuhime Futsushu "Kiku"

    Futsushu
    $28.00

    This review was conducted at the recommended room temperature. The nose on this one of a kind sake is a tantalizing collection of Shiitake, sweet n...

    View full details
  • Sohomare Tokubetsu Kimoto Junmai "Heart and Soul"

    Sohomare Tokubetsu Kimoto Junmai "Heart and Soul"

    Tokubetsu Junmai Kimoto
    $40.00

    The nose on this traditionally made special brew is a gentle collection of toasted rice, wheat, nutty, earthy, cereal, vanilla, and lemon peel arom...

    View full details