Posts Tagged ‘Shizuoka Breweries’

February 2009: Shizuoka Breweries News (the good and the not so good)

February 23, 2009


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1-sake

Greetings, everyone!

There have been some changes (very) recently in Shizuoka
Prefecture.

In Kakegawa City, the cousin of Haginishiki Brewery owner in Shizuoka City has decided to part ways with Sogatsuru Brewery to fly on his own wings.
The new brewery will be called Hagi no Kura Brewery from April instead of Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery. It will also move to a new locale in Kakegawa City.
To be completely independent Hagi no Kura bought Yoshiya Brewery’s license In Shizuoka City. They also acquired all “Chumasa” brand sake, which they will sell under its name. There is a chance that Chumasa brand name will be continued.

As for Yoshiya Brewery, the owner’s “official reason” for ceasing operations is Mr.Nakashima’s, their Nanbu bremaster, physical incapacity to continue brewing. The brewery owner avered that he was not ready to have sake made by anybody else.
Upon investigation, the real reason is that no one in the family is interested in preserving 250 years of history and is more interested in money. The owner is notorious for his love of golf and Mercedes Benz,… His wife has made it secret she did not like being tied by business,… They sold all their equipment to Hagi no Kura Brewery and are now renting their land,…

As for Sogatsuru Nrewery, they have ceased making sake, but are still keeping their license. Maybe someone will be interested,…

Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Sake Vintage (3): Takasago Brewery

July 23, 2008


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I suppose I’ll have to repeat every time, but I have the particular luck to know a liquor shop, Matsunaga Saketen (Japanese), whose owner, Mr. Matsunaga, has collected and safely stored sake from the Showa Era, that is, since 1988 and before! He even has introduced his stock on the internet, a document that any Japanese-reading sake-lover ought to consult!

Melinda, Etsuko and even Tim are going to scream again for my skin as I continue exploring the whole Shizuoka stock (repeat, LOL)

Actually this particular bottle could also be called “A Last Bottle” as it was produced in 1985, that is, when the Brewery in Fujinomiya City was still called Takasago Brewery before it became Fuji-Takasago Brewery after its merging with a shareholding company.

Takasago Brewery: Daiginjo
Rice: Yamada Nishiki
Rice milled down to 40%
Yeast: No 10
Brewing (moromi) period: 35 days
Alcohol: 17.3 degrees (high)
Dryness: +7 (very dry)
Acidity: 1.1 (very low)
Amino acids: 1.2
Fermented in 1985
Bottled in November 1986

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Almost transparent
Aroma: Dry, Fruity: melon. Alcohol
Body: Velvety
Taste: Short tail. Dry. Complex. Strong alcohol. Almonds.
Lingers on sweetish on second sip.
Turns dry with coffee beans on third sip.
Drinks well with food. Tends to turn sweet with salty food.

Overall: A true vintage sake. Could have been stored safely for many more years!
Aggressive at first. Turns mellow with food. Extremely well-preserved.
A complex experience. Clearly made with a different mindset.

Private Brand 2: Umegashima/Yoshiya Brewery

July 18, 2008


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The other day as I visited Umegashima Hotsprings at the very top of Abe River some 38 km away from Shizuoka City Centre, I spotted this bottle in a small souvenir shop.
It is actually a bottle of Abekaido Honjozo by Yoshiya Brewery in Shizuoka City with a label devised for the local shops.

Yoshiya Brewery: Umegashima Honjozo
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled in June 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Almost transparent
Aroma: Dry. Light. Alcohol. Almonds, melon
Body: Velvety
Taste: Shortish tail.Dry. Strong alcohol. Almonds, coffee beans, bitter chocolate.
Dryness lingering in back of the mouth with food.
Drinks well with food. Strong comeback by almonds and bitter chocolate after food.

Overall: Sake devised for food.
“Suits itself to food”, but worth drinking on its own as it has plenty of characteristics worth exploring.

Isojiman Brewery Sake chosen for Hokkaido G8 Meet!

July 8, 2008


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(Shizuoka Shinbun, July 8th, 2008)

Shizuoka Jizake has finally made the grade!
All these bigwigs on the above pic were served Isojiman Junmai Daiginjo (Isojiman Brewery, yaizu City) at their official banquet held in Hokkaido on July 7th for the G8 Members and their guests.
For the record, they were also served (California) Winery Ridge Vineyards’ California Monte Bello (1997) with Hungarian and French wines.
Looking at the way Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy is “admiring” his cup, I doubt he had a clue about the whole thing! Well, I was not on hand to help him! LOL

I also know that the cheese was served by the only Japanese Chevalier Fromager, Ms. Keiko Kubota from Gentil Restaurant, Shizuoka City!

Three times “Hurrah” for Shizuoka!

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 1/7: Morimoto Brewery

July 7, 2008


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I just cannot help coming back to my “roots”, as Morimoto Brewery was the first I ever commented on! A long love story indeed, which can finish only my own demise!

Morimoto Brewery: “Yatte Mita” Nessei
This was the first time that Hitoshi Morimoto created a sake with only Homare Fuji rice grown in Shizuoka Prefecture, hence the title “Yatte Mita” (I tried it!)
Very little information as usual, and I did have to fork out a little of myself!

Rice: Homare Fuji (Shizuoka Prefecture)
Junmai
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Sake brewed in 2006, bottled in June 2008
Limited to: 180 bottles

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Almost transparent
Aroma: Fruity, vanilla, banana
Body: Velvety
Taste: Shortish tail
Extremely complex and fruity: almonds, vanilla, coffee beans, bitter chocolate, banana.
Elegant and pleasant.
Lingers longer on palate with food.
Pleasantly warming alcohol.

Overall: A sake appealing to all.
Elegant and very easy to drink.
Quite a performance considering it was made primarily with Shizuoka-grown rice.
Extremely complex, constantly asking questions. Highly unpredictable.
Coming up with a different facet with every sip.

Shizuoka Vintage Sake (2): Haginishiki Brewery

July 3, 2008


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As I said before, I have the particular luck to know a liquor shop, Matsunaga Saketen (Japanese), whose owner, Mr. Matsunaga, has collected and safely stored sake from the Showa Era, that is, since 1988 and before! He even has introduced his stock on the internet, a document that any Japanese-reading sake-lover ought to consult!

Melinda, Etsuko and even Tim are going to scream again for my skin!as I continue exploring the whole Shizuoka stock.

This particular brew was also bottled in 1987, although Mr. matsunaga thinks it was actually brewed in 1986!

Haginishiki Brewery (Shizuoka City), Daiginjo
No records but for:
Alcohol: 17~18 degrees

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Alsmost transparent
Aroma: Dry, discreet, fruity: pineapple, melon, gummy sweet
Body: Velvety
Taste: Short tail. Dry. Almonds, pineapple.
Turns very dry with food with a strong hint of alcohol and lots of coffee beans and pineapple. Almonds and bitter chocolate also fighting for supremacy.

Overall: An “old fashion” sake with strength in alcohol.
Suited for food, especially oily and strong sauces.
Still very pleasant in spite of grand age!

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 13/7: Hana no Mai Brewery

June 29, 2008


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Karakkaze/”Dry Wind” has been one of Hana no Mai Brewery’s flag brews for quite some time.
The brewery has even created a sake lovers’ association of the same name in Hamamatsu City.

Hana No Mai Brewery: Karakkaze “Karakuchi” Ginjo

Rice: Yamada Nishiki (Shizuoka Prefecture)
Rice milled down to 55%
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled on January, 10th, 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Almost transparent
Aroma: Dry. Fruity: Almonds, pineapple
Body: Velvety
Taste: Dry. Lingering tingle. Alcohol. Fruity: vanilla, almonds, pineapple.
Shortish tail. Warmth lingering in the back of the mouth.
Turns drier with food with more pineapple, almonds and coffee beans making their entrance. Hints of melon/cantaloupe.

Overall: a very dry sake with good character.
Probably best enjoyed with food.
Interesting on its own, especially when lightly chilled

Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Yoshiya Brewery 2/5

June 26, 2008


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This is the third sample of this series dealing with Yoshiya Brewery in Shizuoka City:

Yoshiya Brewery: Chumasa “Utage” Ginjo

Rice: Yamada Nishiki (Hyogo Prefecture) 70%
Iwate Toyonishiki 30%
Rice milled down to: 45%
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Dryness: +5
Acidity: 1.1
Bottled in May 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Transparent
Aroma: Discreet and fruity. Cherries, Custard
Body: Velvety
Taste: Short tail, but warms back of the mouth. Pleasant with strong alcohol impression.
Complex and fruity: Cherries, custard.
Almonds appearing later. Becomes more complex after second sip.

Overall: Pleasant and easy to drink.
Fit well with food in spite of its ginjo complexity.
Light. Calls for the next sip.
A sake for all seasons.

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 2/4: Yoshiya Brewery

June 24, 2008


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I tasted that particular brew by Yoshiya Brewery in Shizuoka City whan I ordered with my lunch at Ekimae Matsuno Sushi last Sunday!

Yoshiya Brewery: Chuumasa Junmai Ginjo
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Contents: 300ml
Bottled: April 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Transparent
Aroma: Dry, light and fruity: Pineapple
Body: Velvety
Taste: Short tail. Junmai tingle. Complex. Fruity: Pineapple, almonds, coffee beans.
Turns drier with food with a strong comeback by coffee beans and almonds.

Overall: A “Shizuoka Type” Sake.
Very pleasant and easy to drink.
Great with sushi and sashimi.
Strong character preserved all way through.

Shizuoka Vintage Sake (1): Masu-Ichi

June 22, 2008


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I have the particular luck to know a liquor shop, Matsunaga Saketen (Japanese), whose owner, Mr. Matsunaga, has collected and safely stored sake from the Showa Era, that is, since 1988 and before! He even has introduced his stock on the internet, a document that any Japanese-reading sake-lover ought to consult!
But I certainly will not limit myself to reading!
Melinda, Etsuko and even Tim are going to scream unfair! selfish! &%$#”#$ or whatever else, when they find out I have decided to explore the whole Shizuoka stock. Mr matsunaga also has other brews from different regions as demonstrated by the two Niigata sake dating back to 1977 I was gracefully offered to taste when I paid him a visit last Thursday to get my first two vintage bottles! Absolute nectars!

Masu Ichi Brewery (Shizuoka City): Junmai Nama Tsume, August 7th, 1987

Note: labels then did not follow the present classification system and do read a bit quaint:
This brew is declared as 二級/Second Grade. It also bears the mentions 米だけの酒/sake made from rice only, and 高級清酒/high grade sake!

Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Contents: 300ml


Unusual shape for a 300ml bottle, too!

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Almost transparent
Aroma: Oaky but discreet, hints of nuts and almonds
Body: Velvety to fluid
Taste: Short tail. Dry at first, then mellowing inside mouth. Junmai tingle.
Bitter chocolate, nuts, almonds.
Turns dry with food.

Overall: Very well preserved and easy to drink considering its old age. Just a faint hint of “oldishness”. Very different impression from present day sake, but very pleasurable. Reminded me of sake I used to drink a long time ago: more earthy and macho (Tim, don’t ask me!).
Lots of character, complex.
Could be enhanced by warming it first (300ml was ot enough to explore that particular route, unfortunately!).
A sake devised for food.

Shizuoka Tasting 2/3: Yoshiya Brewery

June 20, 2008


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It has been a while since I have tasted a brew by Yoshiya Brewery in Shizuoka City which a holds a special place in my heart as its toji/Master Brewer was the first gentleman to invite me to very private tasting sessions!
Since I know Melinda and Etsuko have a special liking for futsushu Icouldn’t help take one back home!

Yoshiya Brewery: Tokusen Chumasa Futsushu

Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled: April 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Almost transparent
Aroma: Sharpish and dry. Almonds. Alcohol.
Body: Velvety
Taste: Short tail. Sharp. Dry. Leaving a comforting warmth in the back of the palate.
Almonds, Coffee beans.
Drinks well with food.

Overall: A sake fit for food.
Dry but surprisingly pleasant. Simple impression but very likeable.
Even as a futshu, shows a distinguishable Shizuoka sake character.

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 8/8: Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura Brewery

June 12, 2008


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Got hold of another limited brew from Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery in Kakegawa City. For a once moribund brewery, it cetainly shows a lot of vitality!

Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura Brewery: Fudo Sogatsuru Ginjo

Alcohol: 18.2%
Rice milled down to 55%
Yeast: Shizuoka Yeast HD-1
Dryness: + 4.5
Acidity: 1.3
Water: Oigawa Water bed
Bottled: March 2008
Limited to 180 bottles sold in 30 selected liquor shops

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Almost transparent
Aroma: Discreet, almost sweet. Bitter chocolate, bananas, almonds.
Body: Velvety
Taste: Dry. Coffee beans. Short tail. Alcohol lingering on palate.
Complex and fleeting. Soft on the tongue. Varies little with food.
Almonds appearing later with drier impression.

Overal: Elegant in spite of high alcohol.
Marries well with food, even salty one.
Best appreciated on its own or at the end of a meal.
Almost liquorish.
Very much “Shizuoka Type” sake

Shizuoka Tasting 8/7: Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery

May 31, 2008


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Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura continues to assert itself back more and more in the World of Shizuoka Sake Breweries and has been venturing into some remarkable limited brews:

Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery: Fudo Sogatsuru, Bessen( Special Selection), Nama Shibori (unpasteurized), Roka zennukitori (Unfiltered)

Alcohol: 17.5 degrees
Rice milled down to 60%
Yeast: Shizuoka Yeast NEW-5
Dryness: +3.5
Acidity: 1.4
Water: Oi River Bed Well
Bottled: March 2008
Limited Brew: 180 bottles (720 ml)/Sold in 30 selected shops

Clarity: very clear
Colour: Light Golden Tinge
Aroma: Light, fruity, flowers, bananas, vanilla, melon.
Body: Velvety
Taste: Short tail. Complex. Strong alcohol. Fruity, bitter chocolate, berries.
Alcohol tingle lingering in upper palate.
Turns drier with second sip. Almonds appearing later

Overall: Very pleasant, almost elegant in spite of high alcohol and nama status.
Typical of Shizuoka style.
Drinks beautifully with food with more almonds and bitter chocolate appearing.
Re-affirms itself between foods.
Difficult to escape from!
Although not stated it is a junmai genshu.

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 8/6: Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery

May 20, 2008


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Ii is at last getting easier to brews from the former Sogatsuru Brewery in Kakegawa City since its revival in 2004 thanks to one of the brothers at Haginishiki Brewery in Shizuoka City.
But I certainly still have quite a few more left to survey!

Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery: “Chiyo” Junmai Ginjo
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Rice milled down to 55%
Bottled: August 2007

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Almost transparent
Aroma: Light and fruity. Bananas, melon.
Body: Velvety
Taste: Short tail. Nice junmai tngle. Dry. Coffee beans, bananas, bitter chocolate, nuts.
Quickly turns dry on palate.
Almonds appearing later

Overall: A very “Shizuoka Type” sake. Best suited with food. Very dry, great with tempura and fried food!

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 1/6: Morimoto Brewery

May 19, 2008


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It’ s been a while since I could grab a bottle from my favourite Brewery, Morimoto in Kikugawa.
When I saw this particular one in Kakegawa JR Station, I just didn’t hesitate!

Morimoto Brewery: Sayogoromo Tokubetsu Honjozo

Rice milled down to 55% (extravagant)
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled in December 2007

Clarity: very clear
Colour: Golden tinge
Aroma: Fruity, biscuits, almonds
Body: Velvety
Taste: Short tail. Nice alcohol. Fruity and sweetish.
Complex: Almonds, bitter chocolate, bananas.
Drinks well and keeps steady with food.

Overall: Great balance. Sweetish but not overwhelming.
Extravagant for Tokubetsu Honjozo (millage down to 55%!)
Drinks like an ice-cream when chilled!

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 18-8: Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery

May 12, 2008


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Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery in Hamamatsu City have always been noticed for a certain originality bordering on the maverick side. I’m ceratinly not one to complain!
I had the chance to discover this very limited editio of a brew made from a mixture of old sake/koshu made ten years ago and sake made this year. It is advertised a ” a sake as easy to drink as umeshu”!

Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery: Mu-Jun
Alcohol: 15.2 degrees
Rice millage: koji kome/fermentation rice-Yamadanishiki, 40%. kake kome/rice-Gohyakumangoku, 60%
Yeast: No 9
Acidity: 1.8
Amino acids: 2.2
Contents: 500 ml
Limited edition: 180 bottles

Clarity: very clear

Colour: golden

Aroma: Fruity, light: apricot, peach, pineapple.

Body: Velvety

Taste: Sweet but not overpowering. Tastes like a sweet white port.
Complex with a lot of fruits: Mikan, apricot, peach.
Short tail. Honey and coffee beans coming out later.
Some welcome acidity and dryness appear later with more mikan.

Overall: A rarity in Shizuoka: a dessert sake! Perfect when drunk slightly chilled.
Drinks well with food whether salted or sweet.
Great with cheese and choclate!

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 8/5: Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura Brewery

May 12, 2008


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Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura Brewery has accomplished a fully-fledged return since their transformation 4 years ago from a moribond Sogatsuru Brewery for the pleasure of all sake lovers.
I decided to taste their Kazutoyo brand name again this year when I found it in Kakegawa JR Station.

Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura Brewery: Kazutoyo-Kakegawajo Ginjo
Rice milled down to 55%
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled (300 ml): November 2007

Clarity: Very clear

Colour: Almost transparent

Aroma: Fruity and sweetish: Melon, bananas

Body: Velvety

Taste: Short tail. Nice alcohol. Very fruity: melon, bananas.
Complex and elegant. Turns a bit drier with food with more almonds and apricots.
Turns sweeter again away from food with a hint of bitter chocolate.

Overall: Drinks well with food. Easy on the palate.
Deserves to be drunk with great food. Very “Shizuoka-style”.
Original balance between sweetnes and dryness.

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 19-3: Kokkou Brewery

May 8, 2008


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Brews from Kokkou Brewery in Fukuroi City are not always easy to find, although this particular brewery is very important in Shizuoka Prefecture as it saw the birth and first use of the Shizuoka Yeasts which revolutionized the sake of this Prefecture some 30 years ago!

Kokkou Brewery: Tokubetsu Honjozo

Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled: December 2007

Clarity: Very clear

Colour: Light Golden Tinge

Aroma: Fruity: Nectarine, vanilla

Body: Fluid

Taste: Fruity and dry. Short tail. Melon, Nectarine.
Almonds appear later.
Turns drier with food.
Welcome acidity and alcohol backed up by more melon.

Overall: A sake best suited for food.
Varies very little with food. Very enjoyable