Nov 21, 2009

How to Judge Sake

In front of me were daiginjo, namazake, junmai sake, tokubetsu honjozo, yamahai, etc. I was drinking these sakes and comparing them with each other. There was plenty of sake, and there was no fear that all the sake was drunk off since I was then at a sake brewery.

I enjoyed various kinds of sake beginning with the freshness of the namazake followed by the fragrance and smooth taste of the daiginjo. Then, I had some food before drinking acid and full-bodied yamahai. In this way, I continued trying one sake and another.

One gou, two gous, three gous, and I drank more, and there was plenty of sake since, I repeat, I was at a sake brewery. It was November 14. I was participating in "Gathering for Enjoying 'Tamura' and 'Kasen'" at Tamura Syuzoujou brewery.

With few acquaintances in the venue, I was a little nervous at first. However, after drinking some sake and getting drunk, I felt easy and could talk with people and staff of the brewery freely. Sake really makes people friendly!

And I continued drinking more and more. However, any heavy drinker has the limit and finally gets drunk if continuing drinking sake. I got drunk and my nose and tongue less well understood the virtue of the drink. How much sake in the world did I drink?

If a man in the state of inebriety continues drinking and frequently extends his hand unknowingly to a specific bottle of sake, this is the bottle he unconsciously selects. And, maybe he selects right sake for himself.

In the event, we could literally enjoy various sake of the brewery to our hearts' content. When I had got drunk very badly, I suddenly found myself drinking "Kiwametsuke Karakuchi" single-mindedly without paying no attention to daiginjo and other premium sakes.

"Yes! A good brew must be one that you want to drink more even after you drank very much of it," I thought.

Thus, in my conclusion, "Kasen Kiwametsuke Karakuchi" can be said to be certainly a good brew.

Nov 17, 2009

Sake Brewery Stamp Rally

I am participating in the stamp rally "Visiting Sake Breweries by Seibu Railway Line." Participants are to visit some or all of the specified breweries in Saitama and Tokyo, which are located along or relatively close to Seibu lines to collect stamps of breweries. After collecting stamps, I will participate in the prize competition for bottles of sake.

On the day when I visited Tamura Syuzoujou for sake brewery study tour, I first visited Ishikawa Brewery to collect the Tamajiman stamp, and then went to Tamura Syuzoujou, where I of course obtained the Kasen stamp.

Later, on another day, I went to Ozawa Syuzou to collect the Sawanoi stamp. Thus, I easily collected the three stamps since my home is along the JR Ome Line and these breweries are also along the same line.

October 11, my friend and I went for drive to see autumn leaves in a Chichibu area. Of course, this was a good opportunity to visit some breweries in the area.

Bukou Syuzou for the brand name "Bukou-Masamune"

The shop building has been registered as national tangible cultural property. They have a wide merchandise assortment.

The mother water has been registered as one of the 100 excellent spring waters of the Heisei period (from 1989). Bring a PET bottle and be given some of the water.

Yao Honten known for the brand name "Chichibu-Nishiki"

In contrast to Bukou Shuzou, the factory of Yao Honten has modern facilities.

The souvenir store for tourists and sake brewery museum are on the premises of the brewery. These establishments can be visited at ease. Beside sake, the souvenir store sells shochu, wine, and other local products.

We had lunch at the restaurant "Nosaka" close to Seibu Chichibu Station.

Pork miso bowl is sold at 850 yen. Charbroiled pork is very hot, soft and juicy.

In any case, autumn leaves in the Chichibu area were like those in these pictures (taken at a point close to Ashigakubo Station).

Finally, we visited Igarashi Syuzou brewing "Tenranzan.

The brewery displays antique items representing their history in their cozy little direct sales store.

So, by this day, I had collected six stamps.

Nov 10, 2009

Drinking Sake with a Favorite Cup

Saturday, a sake drinking gathering for enjoying "Tamajiman" was held at the izakaya restaurant Nanoka in Tachikawa city.

Tamajiman is sake brewed by Ishikawa Brewery in Fussa city, Tokyo, and there are many people who love this sake here in the western part of Tokyo.

On this day, we enjoyed many different types of sake including Daiginjo Nama Genshu Shizukudori, Tanrei Ginjo, and Tama-no-Yorokobi Junmai Daiginjo.

Among these sakes, a 720-ml bottle of Daiginjo Nama Genshu Shizukudori is sold at a price over 10,000 yen and was used to give a toast on that day. This high-end premium sake has an elegant fragrance and soft touch of taste with richness.

Tanrei Ginjo is dry sake with the alcohol content of 14 to 15 degrees. It has a mild aroma and is smooth drinkable sake. In this sake, I felt an attractive taste, which I guessed drived from koji, and I liked this sake best on that day.

Also, every participant was given a sake cup, which was sold by Mr. Tatsuro Sasaki, and everyone enjoyed sake with the given cup.

At the venue, Mr. Sasaki was also showing and selling his goods including sake cups and tokkuris. So, I bought one sake cup in addition to the given one, and thus I got two cups.

The purchased cup (right in the picture above) is an earthenware work called "Oribe" and this was created by Mr. Mitsunori Demachi. The one on the left is the cup given in this event. Using these favorite cups really adds to joy of drinking.

I am really enjoying looking closely at this Oribe cup. As you see in the photo below, it exhibits such different features from different angles.

I'm sure I will more enjoy sake with this cup.