Sake Blog Posts

Mitobe Shuzo Part 2: From Paddy To Brewery To The Glass

At the brewery, Mitobe Shuzo boss Toshinobu Mitobe explains his decision to cultivate rice themselves, and why he still chooses to use other rice varieties to make his quality small-batch sakes. “Growing our own rice means we can focus on quality over quantity, and since each rice paddy has its own unique characteristics – how much sunlight it receives, the temperature gap between the morning an n...

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Nara Sake: The Original Sake. It's true! Ask the Brewer Mo...

I have long known that Nara Prefecture, which borders Osaka and Kyoto in western Japan, has been known as the birthplace of sake. But I got majorly schooled during a recent visit there.

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Sake Origins: Hiroshima. Senzaburo Miura and 'The Birthpla...

Ginjo sake, with all four of its sub-classes, is but seven percent of all sake brewed. Legally, it is defined by nothing more significant than how much the rice was milled before brewing. But technically, it calls for longer-term, lower-temperature fermentation.

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A Himeji Namazake With The Subtlety Of Cinder-blocks. It's...

John Gauntner, from, the archives, on excellent sake from Himeji city in Hyogo Prefecture: A while ago, I was privileged enough to attend a tasting of all sake made by Honda Shoten, brewers of Tatsuriki sake in Hyogo. For these guys, it is all about the rice, as well it should be. 

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Favorite Tipples. Koro Sake And Pilsner Urquell Beer. Sepa...

I don’t always drink beer. But when I do, it’s usually Pilsner Urquell. OK, that’s not true. It is usually from one of Japan’s quite passable large brewing companies. But without a doubt, my favorite beer in the world is Pilsner Urquell. And that tells you a lot about my preferences.

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Lees, Dregs, By-product: It's all Sake Kasu. Tasty and Hea...

Should you frequent sake retailers with anything resembling a good selection of sake, you will often find for sale bags of sake kasu: beige chunks and chips of something resembling cheese or tofu. Sometimes, the unmistakable fragrance of sake wafts up from the clear plastic bag as it sits on the counter.

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A Brief Introduction to Sake 1: From Cradle To Grave

From the first visit to a Shinto shrine at one month old, to the Buddhist funeral rites, the Japanese are accompanied by sake, also known as nihonshu. Its place in religious life comes from its associations with rice – the food of the gods – and its symbolic purity. Sake is consumed at every major rite-of-passage in a Japanese person’s life.

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Nihonshu a Brief Introduction 2: Some Basic Sake Terms

In part 2 of Nihonshu, A Brief Introduction.  John Ashburne dips into some of the basic sake terms.  For anyone who wants understand the value of sake or how to better enjoy it, these terms provide the landscapt for understanding nihonshu.

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Naka-Whatevuh: the Middle Way of Sake and the Lovely Nagan...

John Gauntner, from the archive, writes: Naka in Japanese means middle. The character (中) is one of the easiest to remember of the gazillion or so that there are to learn.

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Mitobe Shuzo Part 3: From Fune to Fabulous Junmai

Mitobe-san and Yuuki-san give us a guided tour of the brewery. The summer months - we visit late August - are relatively quiet, but in winter, the premium sake-making period, it's a morning until night whirlwind of junmai activity, that magic blend of inspiration and perspiration that is top level sake-making.

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Mitobe Shuzo Part 1: Master Sake Makers Of Yamagata

Tendo is a sleepy rural town in Japan’s rural northern Yamagata Prefecture, famed for its production of shogi chess pieces, its fertile farmland fed by the pure waters flowing down from the Ou mountain range, and a Panasonic factory producing hi-tech camera lenses. It is also home to sake giant Dewasakura. However, it is to meet another local sake maker that the Foodies Go Local team takes the bul...

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The Sake Masters: Time to give the Toji the Respect they D...

Recently, I read an article that came to me mysteriously by email about how winemakers in general deserve more attention and credit. The article suggested that too often folks fall in love with terroir, i.e. all that connects a wine to a certain place, and as such that the role of the person who actually called all the technical shots along the way gets downplayed, and that that shouldn’t be. The ...

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