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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 and Sachiko Miyagi, I am also a Sake Adviser certified by the Sake School of America (via the Sake Service Institute in Japan). In 2021, I've earned my Sake Scholar certification under the guidance of Sake Samurai, Michael Tremblay aka Toronto's favorite son.

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.


Some quick picks from me, new picks with asterisks (updated 10/17/2021):

*Harushika Junmai Ginjo Namazume Hiyaoroshi - I went to Nara in 2019 for the first time, and it was absolutely beautiful. But, I didn't think so at first though. At first glance it's rather touristy. But, my wife and I ended up doing an awesome bike tour with Hiro-san through the backroads and alleyways along the Saho River that really made me a fan of the "Ancient City" (which I hope is a real nickname for Nara, if not I blame Wikipedia). The last leg of the bike tour ended at Harushika Brewery. Harushika's fall release Hiyaoroshi is so smooth, so fruity, so juicy. With the abundance of Hiyaoroshi sake we have available at True Sake, this is the one I have been gravitating towards.

Kaze no Mori Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu "Wind of the Woods" - Incredible sake from Nara prefecture. This brew has very minimal intervention, as it has no water added, and it is not pasteurized. Basically, as is, straight from the tank to the bottle. A refreshing and effervescent sake that I love to have in the fridge at home, almost at all times. The importer Floating World in Santa Fe, New Mexico can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned. At this very moment, their sake lineup is untouchable. 

Yuki Otoko Junmai 1-Cup - In 2018, I got the chance to visit Aoki Shuzo in Niigata prefecture (Thank you Ataru-san and Nori-san for the opportunity!). A memory I will never forget. This is one of my favorite 1-cup sakes, as it kinda has the complete package: 1) Great unique cup design. We have four of these empty cups as our household drinking vessels. The "Snow Yeti" is undeniably cute, as he's about to partake in a skiing expedition. 2) The flavor. A great classic-style Junmai sake that pairs beautifully with pork dishes. My personal favorite pairing is with a katsu sando. Shines at room temp, in my personal opinion. 3) A good charitable cause. Proceeds from the sales of this sake go towards Niigata local search-and-rescue organizations, which is very much needed in snowy Niigata winter wonderland! 

Fukukomachi Tokubetsu Junmai "Fair-Lady Komachi" - I always say Tokubetsu Junmai sake are vastly underrated. Nobody ever really asks for it, to be honest. You have your Daiginjo fans, your Kimoto/Yamahai fans, your Nama fans, but Tokubetsu sake is often overlooked. This bottle in particular, from Akita prefecture, is somewhat hard to find here in the United States. Take note of the graham cracker, caramel, nougat, and marshmallow flavors on the palate. So smooth, and so easy to drink. My wife says it's, "... like drinking water." I think she may be right on this one. 

Tamagawa "Ice Breaker" Junmai Ginjo Muroka Nama Genshu - This is truly bombproof sake. You can beat this sake up! No need to coddle or babysit this sake, despite being a nama. Leave it in the sun, leave it out of the fridge, open it up and neglect it, it'll be fine! Remember when you were taught to take care of your nama, and drink them quickly? Those rules get thrown out the window when talking about Ice Breaker, or most Tamagawa sakes. Rule #1 when it comes to sake: there's always an exception to the rule. We at True Sake probably won't even contact you for a "nama confirmation" if you buy this online. It truly is bombproof. Food pairing wise, you can throw so much at this. Of course, it's great with al pastor tacos (a true Chris cliche when reading my sake picks), but also great with chicken katsu curry from Fish & Bird in Berkeley, California. Bold flavors pair well with a bold sake. If you're in the Bay Area, you can pick up the exclusive 1.8L version of Ice Breaker, which is available in the United States for the first time. Also, try this on ice! Hence the reason why this is called Ice Breaker. As the ice melts and dilutes your sake, it becomes a real smooth operator. In addition to drinking it chilled neat, on the rocks, Mei-san told me that the sake fans in Japan are warming this up and calling it "Hot Breaker". Wow. What a time to be alive!

Senkin Urara Junmai Daiginjo Shizuku  - I asked Beau-san for a recommendation the other day, and I was quite surprised that he actually gave me one. This sake is quite special. I'm usually not into the posh Daiginjo sake, but this sake is absolute technical perfection. Wow. I thought it was fantastic, but once you dive into the statistics, and get really nerdy with it, it goes from fantastic to out-of-this-world next level. Where do I begin? First off, it's drip style sake, meaning that the bag hangs from the rafters, and drips naturally into the tank, letting gravity do its thing. It's very time consuming, but well worth the effort as this method creates a more elegant, more smooth sake drinking experience. The Yamadanishiki rice is milled to an extreme 17%, which is pretty crazy to me. Not less than 1% crazy, but crazy nonetheless. Also, Senkin Brewery only makes small batch Muroka Genshu, which adds to the craziness and complexity of this brew. Thank you to Beau-san for the opportunity to try this technical masterpiece. I was very grateful that I go to share this with some good friends that were hosting us in Portland. Truly a special sake. If you are a Daiginjo drinker, and you haven't had this yet, what are you waiting for?!!


 

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.


  • Harushika Hiyaoroshi Junmai Ginjo

    Harushika Hiyaoroshi Junmai Ginjo

    Junmai Ginjo
    $36.00

    The nose on this seasonally released single pasteurized “draft” sake is a mild collection of raisin, cooked apples, berries, grape, and crushed lea...

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  • Kaze no Mori Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu "Wind of the Woods"

    Kaze no Mori Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu "Wind of the Woods"

    Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu
    $32.00

    WARNING – Be Careful Opening This Sake! The nose on this magical brew is a unique collection of ricey, earthy, woody, banana, and pear aromas. This...

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  • Yuki Otoko Junmai "Abominable Snowman"

    Yuki Otoko Junmai "Abominable Snowman"

    Junmai
    $11.00

    This very drinkable cup sake has a very gentle nose made up of cream, rice, and a hint of wood aromas. This is a very light and very dry brew that ...

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  • Fukukomachi Tokubetsu Junmai “Fair-Lady Komachi”

    Fukukomachi Tokubetsu Junmai “Fair-Lady Komachi”

    Tokubetsu Junmai
    $39.00

    The nose on this unique sake that is new to True Sake is a gentle collection of caramel, Rice Krispies Treat, White Chocolate, and steamed rice aro...

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  • Tamagawa Junmai Ginjo Muroka Nama Genshu "Ice Breaker"

    Tamagawa Junmai Ginjo Muroka Nama Genshu "Ice Breaker"

    $32.00

    The nose on this very talked about sake is a cool collection of cocoa, wet wood, cream, and nut aromas. Another liquid adventure from Philip Harper...

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  • Senkin Urara Junmai Daiginjo Shizuku “Immortal Wing”
    Sold out

    Senkin Urara Junmai Daiginjo Shizuku “Immortal Wing”

    Junmai Daiginjo
    $120.00

    The nose on this elegant “Ultra” Junmai Daiginjo is a tantalizing collection of mineral, pear, sweet rice, and citrus aromas. This is a great examp...

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