Posts Tagged ‘Kikuyoi’

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 27-4: Aoshima Brewery

April 2, 2008

The Japan Blog List

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



This particular sake was tasted by nationwide connoiseurs for the 2008 March edition of Dancyu if I needed any proof of its sublime excellence (oxymoron?)!
It was exclusively made with Matsushita rice biologically grown in Fujieda City else to Aoshima Brewery. As the yeast is also from Shizuoka, you could not ask for a more local sake!

Aoshima Brewery/Kikuyoi-Matsushita Mai 40 Junmai Daiginjo

Rice: Matsushita Mai (fujieda City/Biological rice)
Rice milled down to 40%
Dryness: +6.5
Acidity: 1.2
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Yeast: Shizuoka Yeast
Bottled in December 2007

Clarity: very clear

Colour: light golden hue

Aroma: Light and discreet. Fruity, pear, pineapple, melon

Body: velvety

Taste: Light, complex, short tail, elegant.]
Dryness emphasized with second sip and food.
Coffee beans, bitter chocolate, almonds.
Calling for next sip.

Overall: Gentle and elegant sake. Very complex with multiple facets revealed along with more sips and food.
Litlle junmai tingle. Turns dry on the palate.
Simply extravagant. A very special drink for a very special moment with very special compny?


Shizuoka Sake Tasting 27-3: Aoshima-Kikuyoi Brewery

January 24, 2008

The Japan Blog List

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



Some time I remember having thanked a Shizuoka Brewery for not making “futusushu”/regular-normal sake, thinking in my ignorance that all Shizuoka sake ought to be premium sake.
I have eaten my words quite a few times since then.
Aoshima-Kikuyoi Brewery in Fujieda City is one of those breweries which still produce a precentage of their brews as normal sake, especially for “local consumption.
Alright, the catch is that any “normal sake” made in Shizuoka Prefecture is simply extravagant. You will not find any rice millage over 70%!

Kikuyoi Shiboritate Nama Futsushu
Rice: Ogonbore
Rice millled down to 70%
Alcohol: 19~20 degrees (genshu/original amount of alcohol)
Unfiltered (muroka)
Dryness: +2~+6
Acidity: 1.2~1.5
Yeast: Shizuoka Yeast

Clarity: very clear
Colour: almost transparent
Aroma: sweet/bananas/strawberries
Body: velvety
Taste: Sweet/nama tingle/Fruity: bananas, strawberries. Solid, strong impression.
Lingers inside mouth with a noticeable alcohol background. Welcome acidity with food.

Overall: I came to understand why Fujieda City people like their Kikuyoi normal/futsushu as it goes down so well with food.
Could be drunk at any temperature.
A sake designed for food.
Extravagant value considering parameters and price!

Shizuoka Izakaya: Imaizura

January 24, 2008

The Japan Blog List

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



Umaizura (actually mean Horse Face! The kanji for horse is featured in the address, Mr. Konagai forename and izakaya’s name!) is one of those “kakureya” (hidden spot) that would be impossible to discover without a guide. I was lucky enough to be introduced to this very traditional izakaya by my ne “sake friend”, Mr. Koyama who is in the preocess of writing a homepage for the Shizuoka Sake Brewers Association.

umaizura1.jpg umaizura4.jpg umaizura5.jpg

The entrance, once discovered in a dark side street opens onto a very comfy interior replete with traditional and antique Japanese furniture. You have a choice of sitting between a counter where you can have a look at the Shizuoka-style oden (I had to forego them this time!), rooms and corners all with tatami, some with dug space for your legs (expats better request for those), others with cushions on the tatami floor.


Umaizara is still an upper-class of izakaya tendered for the last 8 years by Mr. Konagai who shows great care in choosing the sashimi of the day. All food is cooked with care, whatever the syle, traditional or more modern to satisfy all tastes and appetites:

umaizura3.jpg umaizura2.jpg

One more reason is of course the Shizuoka sake :
Hatsukame (Okabe-Cho) (4 varieties)
Kikuyoi (Fujieda City)
Hana no Mai (Hamamatsu City)
Isojiman (Yaizu City)
This is not an extensively list as it changes regularly. Mr. Konagai will be only too happy to tell you what he has in stock and describe the brands he has on hand.

Now, as I shall have to visit it again for the oden and more sake, expect another article very soon!

Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Baban Cho, 39-3
Tel.: 054-2713636
Business hours: 17:30~?
Closed on Sundays.

Shizuoka Izakaya: Takasagotei

January 12, 2008

The Japan Blog List

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



If you happen to be staying, let’s say for a single night in Hamamatsu City, near the JR Station, I would suggest you visit Takasagotei Restaurant on the second floor of Hamamatsu Sago Terminal Hotel just right of the JR station south exit.

As a hotel izakaya since the 1970’s they are definitely above the run of the mill level of the fare usually delivered in business hotels.

Their sashimi offerings are within the good level prevalent throughout the Prefecture.

I found their mushroom tenpura (vegetarians, please note!) excellent.

tagasagotei-3.jpg tagasagotei-4.jpg
They also had an unusual “shirasu gyoza” (deep-fried whitebait dumpling), which would go well with a beer.

They also have the great merit to offer a large range of Shizuoka sake out of their long drink menu, which warrant a visit by other Prefectures’ guests:
Hana no Mai (Hamamatsu City: 2)
Hamamatsu-Tenjingura (Hamamatsu City: 1)
Senju (Iwata City: 1)
Doi-Kaiun (Kakegawa City: 1)
Oomuraya-Wakatake (Shimada City: 1)
Isojiman (Yaizu City: 1)
Hatsukamei (Shida Gun-Okabe Cho: 2)
Shosetsu (Yui: 1)
Fuji-Takasago (Fujinomiya City: 1)

Hamamatsu City, Sunayama-cho, 322-7, Hamamatsu Sago Terminal Hotel, 2F
Tel.: 053-4538686
Business hours: 11:30~14:30, 17:00~22:00

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 27-2: Aoshima-Kikuyoi Brewery

December 28, 2007

The Japan Blog List

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



It dawned on me some time ago that If I wanted to taste and report on as many sake as possible, a simple, and easier one at that, way to do it cosisted in writing on sake I actually drunk in my favourite izakayas or restaurants, knowing the owners would not mind at all indulging me (and their reputation!).
Therefore this particular tasting was conducted at Tomii, a great Kyoto-style restaurant in Shizuoka City:

Kikuyoi Tokubetsu Junmai (Aoshima Brewery/Fujiieda City)
Rice: Yamada Nishiki
Rice milled down to 60%
Dryness: +6
Acidity: 1.3
Yeast: Shizuoka Yeast

Clarity: Very clear

Colour: Golden tinge

Aroma: Very fruity/pineapple/flowers

Body: velvety

Taste: Dryness mixed with junmai tingle. Complex. Keeps both dry and velvety after second sip.
Calls for another sip.
Turns drier with food and reveals more flavours: bitter chocolate/green apples

Overall: A typical “Shizuoka sake”. Easy to drink but very complex and elegant sake. Turns drier than most Shizuoka sake.
This particular sake was introduced in the celebrated manga, “Kurabito Claude” part III!

Shizuoka sake Tasting 27-1: Aoshima-Kikuyoi Brewery

December 23, 2007

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



It is somewhat difficult to believe, but for all my meetings and sending their brews everywhere I had not written a single tasting article about Aoshima-Kikuyoi Brewery in Fujieda City!
I made a point to tatse one when I visited one of my favourite sushi restaurants, Ekimae Matsuno Sushi in Shizuoka City today!

Kikuyoi Tokubetsu Honjozo Nama
Rice: Yamada Nishiki Toyonishiki
Rice milled down to 60%
Dryness: +5.5
Acidity: 1.3
Yeast: Shizuoka Yeast

Clarity: very clear

Colour: almost transparent

Aroma: Sweet, fruity/pineapple

Body: velvety

Taste: Welcome acidity mixed with a lot of fruit/pineapple/bitter chocolate/vanilla.

Overall: easy to drink. Very elegant for Honjozo.
Goes very well with any food, especially sashimi and sushi.
Lots of fruit. Turns complex with food.
Could be drunk on its own. Would particularly be pleasant chilled in summer.
With food, turns almost extravagant

Shizuoka Breweries 12: Aoshima/Kikuyoi

September 30, 2007

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



When I first Mr. Takashi Aoshima, the fourth generation owning the Aoshima Brewery (est. 1750’s) in Fujieda City, I was struck by the confident vitality of the gentleman.
kikuyoi1.jpg kikuyoi3.jpg
Mr. Aoshima, a toji/master brewer in his own right, belongs to a new school of young brewery owners under the teachings of Denbei Nakumaura, the researcher who changed the fate of Shizuoka Sake. He is the third toji to receive an official brewer’s name, “Densaburo”, after those of Kokkou (Fukuroi City) and Shidaizumi (Fujieda City) Breweries.
Mr. Aoshima does possess many qualities and talents, but I was impressed to learn he had spent no less than 4 years in the U.S. to major in management before coming back to look after his father’s business.
His sojourn in the U.S. did influence the gentleman who is very fit as he regularly cycles and plays tennis during the two-month holiday he and all his staff take in summer, an unheard-of eccentricity in this country!
kikuyoi4.jpg kikuyoi5.jpg kikuyoi6.jpg
Otherwise, it is sheer hard work and relentless toil in season. Even so, many local young would-be brewers have been applying for jobs at his kura lately. Aoshima Brewery can certainly contemplate a bright future. The more for it when one discovers that futushu/normal sake, which makes up for 20% of the total production, is made from rice milled down to an extravagant 70%!
kikuyoi7.jpg kikuyoi8.jpg
In his constant search for quality, Mr. Aoshima not only uses Hyogo Toku A Yamada Nishiki, Tokushima Yamada Nishiki and Iwate Giginga rices, but also organic rice grown locally for the last two years under the name of Matsusitamai for great absolutely local ginjo and dai ginjo.
kikuyoi10.jpg kikuyoi11.jpg
We actually spent three hours (I came in the company of my good friend, Mr. Nagashima) talking, and visiting the brewery and the nearby Matsushita rice paddies.
The annual production of 700,000 (1,8l.) bottles comes out of a brewery where traditional equipment sits beside the master brewer’s own original devices. Mr. Aoshima is still using the 100-year plus old “kama” for steaming the rice for the simple reason the wrought iron itis made of would just fetch too much in present days for an equivalent quality.
As for the water, it bursts out of a well dug more than 70 metres into the Oigawa River waterbed and the rice is exclusively fermented with Shizuoka Yeast.
Our visit was topped with the tasting of three sake including a daiginjo (40%), all at room temperature, the way it should be done.
Talking of tasting, why do I have the impression I shall be very solicited in the near future (already got that incredible Matsushita Mai Daiginjo in the fridge!)

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Mr. Aoshima (39)is still a very eligible gentleman…

Aoshima Brewery
426-0036 Fujieda City, Kami Aoshima, 246
Tel.: 054-6415533
Fax: 054-6443156