Archive for September, 2008

Drinking History at Yasatei: Okada Brewery/Okinabenten

September 30, 2008


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Last night I was invited by the owners of Odakkui, Katayurimo and Hana Oto Izakayas to share a very special bottle of sake (above pic).
This sake, a superlative Daiginjo, had been brewed back in 1997 by Okada Brewery which eventually ceased operations in 2006. In spite of its old age (for a sake) it had preserved in perfect condition all the time at very cold temperature by a collector cum liquor shop, Matsunagaya in Shizuoka City.
For the connoiseurs, this Daiginjyo is called Okinabeneten, brewed by Okada Brewery in Fujieda City. Rice: Yamada Nishiki milled down to an extravagant 35%. The yeast was a Shizuoka NEW-5 Yeast. Dryness is only +7~+9 and acidity a very low 1.0~1.3. The drawing process was “Fune shibori/tank press”. Alcohol was standard 15~16 degrees.
A great sake, so pleasant to drink with a dry elegant entry, short tail and a complex and rich aroma and taste. Tended to show different facets with food, alternatively turning drier and sweeter. An incredibly extravagant sake to drink with food. We drank it both chilled and heated.

Now, what did we eat with such a nectar?
First of all, sashimi of course. Not one kind, but two!
First seafood sashimi as shown on pic above:
(From top clockwise) Fresh Shirasu/baby sardines, Akami/lean tuna, Madai/red snapper, Hotategai/scallops, Katsuo/bonito. In the centre is boiled Tako/octopus. The whole was provided with wasabi (real one!), grated ginger, myoga cut into very fine strips and chopped thin leeks.

Yasai sashimi/vegetables sashimi, the specialty of the house. Great juicy and cruchy cucumber, daikon, red radishes, celery (Shizuoka Prefecture produces half of all celery in Japan!), myoga and sweet red pimento. You probably noticed the big shiso leaf concealing chopped sweet onions. A treat for vegetarians (and vegans!)!

Yasatei is also renown for its superlative Kansai-style oden!

And finally another treat for vegetarians: renkon/lotus roots sauteed with soy sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds!

Great food for a great sake!

Yasaitei
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-Cho, 1-6-2 Green Heights Wamon 1-C
Tel.: 054-2543277
Business haours: 17:30~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Reservations highly recommended

Shizuoka Izakaya: Bu-Ichi (Re-visited)

September 29, 2008


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(Oumuraya Brewery, Hakuen Bishamon Honjozo)

The Missus has this special liking for Bu-Ichi Izakaya (which I share!), not only because she loves the food, drinks and atmosphere, but also because she always happens to learn something new she will be glad to try reproduce (in her own way) back home! I’m not one to complain, and I certainly enjoy writing about the place over and over again!


One thing is certain: this is one the very best places in the whole Prefecture to enjoy sashimi as once again demonstrated by the succulent katsuo/bonito served with grated ginger and thinly-chopped leeks.


Another reason is the top-class Shizuoka Sake!
I (my wife drinks wine as a matter of course) chose this very limited edition (only 300 bottles) by Oumuraya Brewery in Shimada (Tim, are you reading?):
Hakuen Bishamon, Honjozo, a very soft, almost sweet sake (Dryness: +1, acidity: 1.3).


Sanma/Mackerel Pike is in season. We ordered a yaki sanma sarada/grilled mackerel pike salad. The fish is first grilled, then shred into small bite-sized chunks and served with vegetables and home-made dressing. This is the recipe that the Missus has a special interest for!


Talking of vegetables,Bu-Ichi, in spite of all its great fish and meat, would be the perfect place for a vegetarian too thanks to perfect vegetables tenpura! Wherever they come from, they are always exlusively seasonal!


With such meals, sake tends to disappear too quickly! My next order was a Kikuyoi Tokubetsu Junmai by Aoshima Brewery in Fujieda City. Mr. Aoshima makes superlative sake getting recognition all over Japan in spite of its relatively small size. Incidentally he also speaks fluent English for those who would like to visit his brewery!

As we are both omnivores, we felt a little meat was in order to finish our meal (we usually skip dessert in Japanese restaurants as there is always the open possibility to visit another one later!).
Bu-Ichi serves a scrumptious sansho tori karaage/fried chicken with Japanese pepper. A beauty that my American friends in particular would swim across oceans to taste!

Look forward to the next meal there!

Bu-Ichi
420-0032 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho, 1-6-10, Dai 2 Matsunaga Bldg. 2F
Tel.: 054-2521166
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations advisable

The last Bottle 1/2?: Iwamoto Brewery

September 27, 2008


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Mr. Matsunaga, owner of Mr. Matsunaga’s Liquor Shop showed me this bottle last Wednesday.
The last generation of Iwamoto Brewery producing Shikon among other brand names in Fujieda City married into the family owning Sanwa Brewery in Shimizu Ku.
This is another famous brand of theirs: Matsuwaka Midori.
As it had already been bought by a group of collectors, I was only allowed to take a pic and write down the information!

Iwamoto Brewery (ceased operations on July 4th, 2005)
Matsuwaka Midori Shiboritate Genshu
Bottled in 1992!

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 25/5: Bandai Brewery

September 27, 2008


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Bandai Brewery in Shuzenji, Izu Peninsula does produce quite a few “private labels”
This second one one, “Egawa Sake, Nirayama”, is also exclusively sold at Kuraya Narusawa Beer Brewery.
Actually the Brew master of the latter establishment also helps brewing sake at Bandai Brewery in winter!
Nirayama is the name of a locality in Northern Izu Peninsula.

Bandai Brewery: Edagawa sake, Nirayama, Tokubetsu Junmai

Rice: Yamada Nishiki
Rice milled down to 60%
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled in May 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Almost transparent
Aroma: Strong, but dissipates quickly. Almonds, bitter chocolate, coffee beans
Body: Velvety
Taste: Shortish tail. Sweetish first, turns dry quickly.
Fruity: almonds, chestnuts, bitter chocolate.
Strong junmai tingle.
Starts dry, but sweetness tends to reappear with every sip.
Pleasant. More coffee beans appearing with food.

Overall: “Shizuoka Type Sake”.
Devised for food, although enjoyable on its own.
Probably best appreciate at room temperature.
Drinks well with any food, from sashimi to yakitori.

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 25/4: Bandai Brewery

September 22, 2008


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Bandai Brewery in Shuzenji, Izu Peninsula does produce quite a few “private labels”
This particular one, “Egawa Sake, Tan An”, is exclusively sold at Kuraya Narusawa Beer Brewery.
Actually the Brew master of the latter establishment also helps brewing sake at Bandai Brewery in winter!
“Tan An” was another name of Egawa Hidemitsu a high-ranking Edo Era official with his seat in Nirayama, Izu peninsula. It is believed he was also the first man to bake European-style bread in Japan.

Bandai Brewery: Egawa Sake, Tan An, Junmai Daiginjo

Rice: Yamada Nishiki 100%
Rice milled down to 50%
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees
Bottled in May 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Almost transparent
Body: Velvety
Aroma: Fruity: pears
Taste: Shortish tail. Starting fruity to quickly turn dry.
Complex and fruity: pears, almonds, star anise, banana. Light junmai tingle.
Dry almonds lingering after second sip.

Overall: “Shizuoka Type Sake”
Easy to drink. Very dry. High alcohol contents make it suitable to food in spite of its complex fleeting character.
Tends to turn sweetish with salty food

Updated List of Shizuoka Brewers & Labels

September 21, 2008


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Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Here below is the list of all 31 “kura”/breweries in Shizuoka Prefecture (Chiyomusume Brewery has just ceased operations in October 2007), which were “working” as of November 2007 (with some nuances and notes attached!)
They are listed in a “traditional” order.
Official business names of Breweries are also included. Keep in mind that some breweries also produce brands for individual shops or distributors: “Miwa No sato” and “Ashikubo” by Fujinishiki, “Toro No sato” by Haginishiki, etc. as well as seasonal limited sake with different names.
As for the “maboroshi” (the ones that disappeared), I keeping updating the list!

Shizuoka City:
1) Chumasa/Yoshiya Brwery (Aoi Ku)/Yoshiya Brewery (also includes: Abekaido, Umifune No Yamahai, Chuemon, Umegashima)
chumasalabel.jpg abekaido.jpg abekaido-small.jpg chumasa-junmei-daiginjo.jpg chuuei.jpg hole-in-one.jpg chumasa-y.jpg

2) Garyubai/Sanwa Brewery (Shimizu Ku)/Sanwa Brewery (also includes Hagoromo No Mai, Shizugokoro, S-Pulse Brand, Sayo No MaiTesshu, Hoosu)
shizukokorolabel.jpg garyubai.jpg garyubai-moroka.jpg shizugoromo-taru.jpg garyubai-hoosu.jpg sanwa-g.jpg garyubai-jg.jpg sanwa-junmai.jpg garyubai-tsuri.jpg

3) Haginishiki (Suruga Ku)/Haginishiki Brewery (also includes: Toro No Sato, Minami Alps, Surugayoi)
haginishiki-label.jpg haginishiki.jpg toro-no-sato.jpg haginishiki-hiya.jpg haginishiki-junmai-ginjo-nama.jpg

4) Kumpai (Suruga Ku)/Kumpai Brewery (also includes: Tenryo No Taki, Meguriai, Shizuka, Daikichi, Kogarashi No Mori, Abe no Shizuku, Ra, Sakura, Tsubaki, Resienkashu, Momiji)
kunpailabel.jpg kumpai-2.jpg kumpai-1.jpg kumpai.jpg kumpai-daikichi-kogarashinomura.jpg kumpai-old.jpg kumpai-shizuka.jpg kumpai-surugamasamune.jpg kumpai-taru.jpg eikun-ra.jpg kumpai-momiji.jpg

5) Masuichi (Aoi Ku)/Masuichi Brewery (includes: Tsurugi)
masuichilabel.jpg masuichi2.jpg masuichi-small.jpg masuichi-tomii.jpg masuichi-tsurugi.jpg masuichi-honjozo.jpg

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Ihara Gun, Yui:
6) Eikun/Eikun Brewery (also includes: Sumpu No Takajo, Iroha, Kohaku, Hiyaoroshi, Midori no Eikun)
eikunlabel.jpg eikun-daiginjyo.jpg eikun-kohaku.jpg sumpunotakajo-eikun.jpg iroha.jpg eikun-tokuhon.jpg

7) Shyosetsu/Kamizawagawa Brewery (also includes: Yamda Nishiki, Gin Ginga,Aki Agari)
shyosetsulabel.jpg shyosetsu-cup.jpg shyosetsu-small.jpg shosetsu-nama.jpg shosetsu-k.jpg syosetsu-jungin.jpg shosetsu-futsu.jpg shosetsu-jundaigin.jpg shosetsu-futsu.jpg

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Shida Gun:
8) Hatsukame (Okabe)/Hatsukame Brewery (also includes: Arabashiri, Midori, Kame, Okabe Maru, Kame Shirushi, Kiwami 35, Hyogetsu)
hatsukamelabel.jpg hatsukame.jpg hatsukame-1.jpg hatsukame-cup.jpg hatsukame-kame.jpg sugimoto1.jpg kame-in.jpg kame-kin.jpg hatsu-b1.jpg hatsu-b2.jpg okabe-maru.jpg hatsukame-daigin.jpg hatsu-hyogetsu.jpg hatsukame-shibori-ginjo.jpg hatsu-bu-ichi.jpg

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Fujieda City:
9) Kikuyoi/Aoshima Bewery (also includes Matsushitamai 40, Matsushitamai 50)
kikuyoilabel.jpg kikuyoi.jpg kikuyoi-tomii.jpg matsushita-40.jpg kikuyoi-tokuhon.jpg

10) Shidaizumi/Shidaizumi Brewery (also called Shirasagi, Aoi No Tsuki))
shidaizumilabel.jpg shidaizumi.jpg shidaizumi-cup.jpg sake18.jpg shidaizumi-hachian.jpg shida-1.jpg shida-2.jpg shida-3.jpg shidaizumi-father.jpg shida-aoinotsuki.jpg shida-nama.jpg shidaizumi-futsu.jpg

11) Suginishiki/Sugii Brewery (also includes: Fujimai, Touryuumou, Kinnosuke, Taru no Sake)
sugiilabel.jpg suginishik-2007.jpg suginishiki1.jpg sugii-toryumon.jpg sugii-kinnosuke.jpg sugii-yamahai2.jpg sugii-kimoto.jpg sugii-nama.jpg sugii-taru.jpg

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Yaizu City:
12) Isojiman/Isojiman Brewery(also includes: Shumpu, Aiyama)
isojimanlabel.jpg isojiman-cup.jpg isojiman-tomii.jpg isojiman-bag.jpg isojiman-aiyama.jpg shunpu.gif

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Shimada City:
13) Wakatake/Omuraya Brewery (also includes: Nagai Ki No Hashi, Oikawa Han Kajika, Tansei, Suruga Tansei, Aoimiyagi, Suruko, Shizuoka Oden No Sake, Onna Nakase, Shiro, Take no Kaze, Fuuko, Oyakko, Numazu Uogashi Sushi, Rock Sake, Kaon, Aki no Nama Ippon, Najimi, Sanbyakuton, Juubei, Miya no Mizuku, Shiro, Sagaradako, Hanaoto, Totakozen, Yumei no Tsurubashi, Tenbishi, Shimada Juubei, Namikozo, Okinasagi, Rendaikoshi)
wakatakelabel.jpg wakatake.jpg wakatake1.jpg wakatake-nama.jpg nagai-ki-no-hashi.jpg oomuraya-take.jpg oomuraya-tan.jpg fuuko.jpg oomuraya-uogashi.jpg suruga-tamsei.jpg wakatake-kajika.jpg rock-sake.jpg wakatake-r1.jpg wakatake-r2.jpg wakatake-r3.jpg wakatake-1.jpg wakatake-2.jpg wakatake-3.jpg wakatake-4.jpg wakatake-5.jpg wakatake-6.jpg wakatake-7.jpg wakatake-8.jpg wakatake-9.jpg wakatake-10.jpg wakatake-11.jpg wakatake-12.jpg wakatake-13.jpg wakatake-14.jpg wakatake-15.jpg wakatake-rendai.jpg hana-katana.jpg odakui5.jpg wakatake-gensghu.jpg

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Kikugawa City
14) Matsuwaka/Shiromatsu Brewery (actually buys its sake and sells under its label)
wakamatulabel.jpg

15) Sayogoromo/Morimoto Brewery (also includes: Sayogoromo No Uta, Kojyo, Aeru No Sato, Sakuretsu Karakuchi, Ma, Shachou No Irasuto, Jizake Koubo-Fujihomare, Sayo no Sanzoku)
sayogoromolabel.jpg sayogorom-no-uta.jpg morimoto8.jpg morimoto.jpg morimoto-label1.jpg morimoto-label2.jpg morimoto-toku.jpg morimoto-dry.jpg morimoto-jm.jpg morimoto-s1.jpg morimoto-s2.jpg morimoto-s3.jpg morimoto-s4.jpg hama-tasting3.jpg

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Omaezaki City:
16) Takamatsu/Ishikawa Brewery (includes: En’yotakamatsu) (actually buys its sake and sells under its label)
takamatulabel.jpg

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Kakegawa City:
17) Aoitenka/Yamanaka Brewery (also includes: Shin’en, Funaseme, Oniaoi, Yokosuka, Yamanaka)
aoitenkalabel.jpg aoitenka.jpg aoitenka-yamanaka.jpg aoitenka-yokosuka.jpg

18) Hagi No Kura/Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery (Hagi No Kura and Soogatsuru were two separate kura in the past, but they have merged although under the direction of Hagi No Kura under a combined name) (includes: Ichitomi, Chiyo)
haginokura.jpg hagi1.jpg hagi2.jpg sogatsuru-gin.jpg sogatsuru-jun.jpg

19) Kaiun/Doi Brewery (also includes: Iira, Takatenjin, Hasei Shokiji, Sakura Hana, Hana No Ka, Yumejikomi, Enshyuu No Shiki, Kaiun Den, Komotaru, Enshyunada, small cask)
kaiunlabel.jpg kaiun-cup.jpg kaiun-ginjyo.jpg kaiun-iwaizake.jpg kaiun-small.jpg iira-sake.jpg kaiun-hananoka1.jpg kaiun-hananoka2.jpg kaiun-sakurahana.jpg kaiun-takatenjin.jpg kaiun-jungin-ha.jpg

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Iwata City:
20) Senjyu/Senjyu Brewery (also includes: Senjyushirabyoushi, Senjyu Kuromai, Honami, Maiguruma, Sawayaka 16, Blue Bottle, Nadeshiko, Tsurubara, Jubilo Label)
senjyulabel.jpg senjyu-taru.jpg senjyu-kuromai.jpg senjyu11.jpgsenjyu12.jpg senjyu13.jpg senjyu14.jpg senjyu15.jpg senju.jpg senju-bio.jpg

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Fukuroi City:
21) Kokkou/Kokkou Brewery (also includes: Denichiro, Mori no Ishimatsu, Kinzan)
kokkou.jpg kokko-tomii.jpg kokkou2.jpg kokkou-2.jpg denichiro.jpg

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Hamamatsu City:
22) Chiyomusume/Miyazaki Brewery (actually buys its sake and sells under its label) (ceased operations in October 2007)
chiyomusumelabel.jpg

23) Hana No Mai Brewery Hana No Mai Brewery (also inckudes: Hoho, Tsuu, Shizuka No Mai, Yamada Nishiki, Karakkaze, Hikuma No Uta, Keichu, Susono-private label, Enshu no Gin, Ra-Uogashi-private label, Sushi Tetu-private label)
hananomailabel.jpg hananomai-small.jpg hananomai2.jpg hana-sparkking.jpg hana-daigin.jpg hana-nama.jpg hananomai-tasting1.jpg karakkaze.jpg hananomai-tasting2.jpg hana-keichu.jpg susono-1.jpg hana-shiboritate-junmai.jpg hana-nama-ginjo.jpg shizutetsu1.jpg

24) Shusseijyou/Tenjingura-Hamamatsu Brewery (also includes: Ginro, Tenjin,Tobinkakoi, Shussei no Tokuri, Ten, Tengu, Ryu, Mu Jun)
shussejolabel.jpg shusseijyo1.jpg shussei-hon.jpg tenjin-junmai.jpg tenjin-nama-junmai-ginjo.gif tenjin-ginnama.jpg tenjin-uta.jpg shusseijo-nama-genshu.jpg
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Fujinomiya City:
25) Chiyo No Mine/Fujimasa Brewery (also includes: Genkotsu, Fuji no Kasagumo, Fuji no Uta, Kin Label, Shiro Label, Hiya, Chiyonomine, Hyoutan Tokkuri)
chiyonominelabel.jpg genkotsu.jpg fuji-no-kasagumo.gif fuji-no-uta.gif

26) Shiraito/Makino Brewery (also includes: Fujisan, Shimizu Minato Jirocho, Fuji No Shiraito)
shiraitolabel.jpg shiraiito-cup.jpg shiraiito-cup1.jpg shiraito-cup2.jpg

27) Takasago/Fuji Takasago Brewery (also includes: Tago No Ura, Raku, Soleil, Aragoji, Utafuku, Sunshu Nakaya, Chinkoku No Yama, Kura No Megumi, Homare Fuji)
takasagolabel.jpg takasago-taru.jpg takasago-yamahai.jpg takasago-kura.jpg takasago-jg.jpg soleil.jpg takasago-homare.jpg takasago-hon.jpg

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Fuji Gun:
28) Fujinishiki/Fujinishiki Brewery (also includes: Ashikubo, Miwa No Sato, Fujigasumi, Homarefuji, Mononofu No sato, Juku, Tokaido Chu, Samutsukuri, Aoi Tokugawa Sandai, Sui, Maboroshi Shiro, Abekawa, YuYU, Odoriko, Umiya Azura, Izu Yama Yama)
fujinishikilabel.jpg fujinishiki-1.jpg fujigasumi.jpg fujinishiki.jpg fuji-nama.jpg fujinishiki-homare.jpg mononofu-1.jpg fujinisiki-juku1.jpg fujinisiki-juku2.jpg fujinisiki-maboroshishiro.jpg fujinisiki-violet.jpg fujinisiki-maboroshishiro.jpg

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Numazu City:
29) Izuumi/Watanabe Brewery (also includes Tago No Fuji, Bokusui) izu-no-umi1.jpg izu-no-umi2.jpg

30) Hakuinmasamune/Takashima Brewery (also includes: Shirasago)
hakuinmasamunelabel.jpg hakuin-cup.jpg hakuin-masamune.jpg hakuin.jpg hakuin-yamahai.jpg hakuin-daigin.jpg

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Gotemba City:
31)Kinmei/Negami Brewery (also includes: Fugakusen, Gotemba Wakamizu, Wakajun, Fukotagu, Kintaroo no sato, Izumi no Yakata)
kinmeilabel.jpg kinmei-wakajun.jpg kinmei-fukotagu.jpg kinmei-sake1.jpg kinmei-sake2.jpg kinmei-sake3.jpg kinmei-sake4.jpg kinmei-sake5.jpg kinmei-sake6.jpg kinmei-sake8.jpg kinmei-sake7.jpg

Izu City:
32) Arabashiri/Bandai Brewery (also includes: Ban’you, Wakitaya, Kuromaizake, Amagi, Fujihomare, Izu no Sato, Arabashiri)
bandailabel.jpg bandai-kuromaizake.jpg bandai-homare.jpg bandai1.jpg bandai2.jpg bandai3.jpg bandai4-1.jpg bandai5.jpg bandai6.jpg

Notes:

1) Kikugenji (formerly of Toyoo Brewery) even sold in Shuzenji is no longer a Shizuoka sake but from a Nada brewery who bought the name before Toyoo Brewery was absorbed by Bandai Brewery in 2003 to be able to sell in its place of origin!

2) Fuuki in Shimizu City are not a sake brewery but a alcohol brewing and bottling company from the Nada area, although one of their casks is displayed at Sengen Shrine in Shizuoka City. They represented (and might even still) the biggest oke-gai in the Prefecture.
fuuki.jpg

3) Hiraki Brewery, although owned by Hiraki Co. Ltd, a Shizuoka Prefecture Company whose main shareholder is Shinya Totsuka, the present mayor of Kakegawa City, is a Brewery from Okayama City. No comments!

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 16/7: Sugii Brewery

September 20, 2008


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Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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September is always a busy month for Sugii Brewery in Fujieda City when they put on sale special brews matured over the year.
This particular sake has just been awarded a Trophy for “Best Ginjo” by the Tasting Panel at the International Sake Challenge 2008 held in Tokyo on July, 8th, 2008!

Suginishiki Extra Ginjo
Rice: Yamada Nishiki 100% (Hyogo Prefecture)
Fermented rice (kooji) milled down to 40%
Added rice milled down to 50%
Alcohol: 15.9 degrees
Dryness: +9
Acidity: 1.1 (very low)
Yeasts: Shizuoka HD-1 and NEW 5
Pasteurized only once
Bottled in August 2008

Clarity: Very clear
colour: Light golden tinge
Aroma: Light and sharp. Pineapple, green apple
Body: Velvety~fluid
Taste: Shortish tail
Fruity and complex: pears. green apples
Elegant and discreet.
From fruity turns quickly very dry, especially with food with added complexity.
Bitter chocolate and coffee beans appearing later with more food.

Overall: As usual, another pleasant surprise! Definitely for dry sake lovers!
Mr. Sugii seems to come up with another creation every time I taste his sake!
Drinks so well with or without food.
Should please both genders. tends to disappear quickly!

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 6/10: Oomuraya Brewery

September 16, 2008


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It’s been quite some time since I tasted a sake from Oomuraya Brewery In Shimada City.
This particular one should please Timothy as he serves Wakatake Sake at his sake tasting classes in New York!

Oomuraya Brewery: Wakatake-Oni Koroshi (“Kill the Devil/Demon Killer”)
Junmai-genshu (also exists as Honjozo)
Rice: Gohyakumangoku, Oogonbore
Rice milled down to 60%
Dryness: +9
Acidity: 1.3
Alcohol: 17~18 degrees
Yeast: Shizuoka NEW 5

Bottled in July 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Light golden tinge
Aroma: Fruity. Almonds, banana, pineapple.
Body: Velvety
Taste: Shortish tail. Dry. Almonds, pineapple.
Almonds and coffee beans appearing with food.
Junmai tingle getting stronger with food. Also tends to turn very with food with a strong alcohol accent.

Comments: A sake fit for food, especially oily and heavy sauces.
Shows various facets according to type of food.
Strong and aggressive character with a smooth finish

Shizuoka Izakaya: Waga

September 6, 2008


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Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Waga is your typical new wave izakaya. Opened a little more than two years ago by the very young at heart (a fan of the Beatles,Queen and Led Zeppelin among others) Shuhei Ichikawa it seems very popular as I managed to enter it only at the third try and this somewhat late at night. In any case if you plan to patronize the place before 9:00 p.m., you had better resrve in advance!

The staff in their late 20’s (30’s?) are a smiling hard-working bunch, but nonetheless extremely welcoming and attentive.
Now as any good izakaya, Waga always has at least a couple of remarkable jizake on offer, although they do change regularly.

The first I ordered was a Hakuin Masamune Junmai by Takashima Brewery in Namazu, a real beauty!
It just drank like wine! Pity I could not stay too long this time, or I might have contributed to the bottle death!

Actually you had better keep your eyes wide open! Not many izakaya offer French Pernod and Ricard, and Portuguese Porto wines!

Now the first indication of a good izakaya, and especially in Shizuoka Prefeture, is its sashimi offering. If you ask for “moriawase/plate”, you will get a good idea of the establishment.
Now, the “Katsuo Tataki/Bonito slightly cooked”, “Kanpachi/Yellowtail” and “Maguro/Tuna” were simply of the higher level that would put a few vaunted Tokyo places at shame, but at very kind prices!

As I said, my friend and I were in a bit of a hurry, but we opted for dishes representative of the establishment. The seasonal dish was “Jukusei Tsurushi Buta Saute to Kisetsu no Kinoko Ankake/Sauteed matured Pork (with tofu) and seasonal mushrooms in sweet and sour sauce”. A hearty dish which should satisfy a big appetite!

Talking of solid appetites the “Karaage/Deep-fried Chicken)” was not only succulent but absolutely enormous. You would problems closing your hand around any of them!

When it comes to sake I’m a big drinker. I asked for the other Shizuoka Sake available, Takasago karakuchi Junmai by Fuji Takasago Brewery in Fujinomiya City. Very dry indeed, but so easy and pleasant to drink!

“Tamagoyaki/Japanese Omelette” is also another preriquisite at any good izakaya, and the one concocted by Waga is also a beauty. We certainly did not need any dessert!

Blimey! There is no way we could sample all the offerings. Which means I will have to come back in a hurry!

Waga
420-0839 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Takajo Machi, 2-1-20, Kuroyanagi Bldg., 1F
Tel. & Fax: 054-271-7121
Opening hours: 17:30~23:30 (Monday to Thursday), 17:30~26:00 (Friday, Saturday and day before any National Holiday).
Closed on Sundays and National Holidays.
Set menus and parties possible.
Reservations recommended.
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Hokkaido Sake

September 2, 2008


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Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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I understand this blog is devoted to sake brewed in Shizuoka Prefecture, but whenever I have the luck to visit other regions in Japan I follow the (somewhat changed) adage: Drink in Roma what Romans drink!

I went on a six-night tour of Hokkaido from August 26th to September 1st, visiting Shiretoko (see pic above), one of the three Japanese World Heritages.

I also visited (for the second time) the Island of Rishiri where I even unearthed a “maboroshi/one that disappeared” brewery!

Eisen or Hokkai Eisen Brewery was the only brewery in operation in the island from 1876 until 1973 ( the year JRR Tolkien left this world) when it finally folded. The bottle above and a short history of the Kura can be seen exhibited at the Rishiri Island Folk Museum located inside the former first Rishiri Island Primary School Building!

I managed to sample the sake of six different breweries out of the 15 existing kura at restaurants and hotels in Abashiri, Rishiri Island, Sapporo and Otaru!
As a general rule these were very different from those found in Shizuoka Prefecture, not only because of the yeasts, but also because of the rice strains, some of which I had never heard of before.
They showed more acidity when dry, and tasted more sirupy when sweet.
These sake are obviously designed for a fish-based daily food. Shizuoka people do eat a more varied food, notably more greens than in Hokkaido, where everything seemed to contain more salt. They certainly puzzled me at times, although I did find some definitely to my liking!

If you want to taste or buy the whole gamut, I would strongly recommend that you either visit Kita Ichi Glass Company, Otaru City, Sakai Cho, 7-26 or visit their HP at http://kitaichiglass.co.jp/kakuten/kaku-sake.html.
You can call them at 0134-33-2002 or fax at 0134-33-1997 or e-mail them at sake@kitaichiglass.co.jp for their catalogue.

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Hokkaido Breweries List:

-Otaru City:
Kita no Homare
Tanaka Shuzo
Yamani Watanabe
Yuki no Hana Shuzo

-Nashike Gun:
Kuni Mare Shuzo

-Ketchan Cho
Niseko Shuzo

-Asahikawa City:
Otokoyama
Takasago Shuzo

-Nemuro City:
Kita no Katsu

-Kuriyama City:
Kita no Kinu/Kobayashi Shuzo

-Shintotsukawa City:
Kinteki

-Sapporo City:
Chitosetsuru

-Kitami City:
Yamada Shuzo

-Kushiro City:
Fukutsukasa Shuzo


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