BY Haco AUG 11, 2017
On July 23, 2017, thirty-one sake breweries from Gifu prefecture gathered at Josui-Kaikan in Tokyo, for Gifu’s sake event.
OHACO had the opportunity to interview seven of those sake breweries. Their stories can only be read here. Please enjoy this peek into there little-known world!
Watanabe Sake Brewery
Sake Brew master Darryl Cody comes the state of Utah from the United States of America, and he has been brewing sake for twelve years. He introduced to us the W series, the “W” of which stands for “Watanabe,” “Warai” (laughter), and “World.” This W series uses different types of rice but the same rice polishing rate and the same yeast.
First, Mr. Cody introduced Akaiwa Omachi; an unpasteurized, rich sake. It is very fruity with smoky notes and a very complex structure. It has very little tang but the taste is slightly bitter. This sake is very complex but well balanced. Highly recommend foods to pair with it are delicate dishes such as white fish and seafood salads.
★W Yamadanishiki Junmai Muroka Namagenshu: Enjoy the floral aroma.
This is another type of W series that use Yamadanishiki rice. The smell is more layered than the W series using Akaiwa Omachi rice. Mr. Cody said, “All the sake in here is low termination aging, so the taste is very mature. You can taste pineapple, tropical fruit, and yogurt, along with an aroma of white rose.” As he said, the W series features a very rich and floral aroma as well as a clean taste.
Mr. Hara is a young man who brews sake in his family sake brewery. He and his father graduated from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and studied sake and flower yeast. For that reason, they are one of the more unique sake breweries which use only flower yeast to brew sake.
★Genbun Daiginjo Flower Yeast Chrysanthemum.
Only the Nunoya Hara sake brewery can make sake using chrysanthemum yeast. This sake has a sweet melon and apple aroma and a rich umami taste. Mr. Hara said, “We polished the rice to fifty per cent. Daigijo usually has a clean taste and rich aroma but our daiginjo is different. We would like to keep the rich umami taste so this sake is good to drink without any snacks or food. You, too, can try the chrysanthemum yeast sake!
★Genbun Honjozo Flower Yeast Sakura.
This honjozo use sakura yeast. Its aroma is not that strong but it has a light taste and is good to drink with dinner. The aftertaste is sour and with freshen your mouth. Mr. Hara said, “One of the characteristics of flower yeast is sourness. Many flower yeasts have apple acid. This acid makes for a light and refreshing taste.” He also told us the differences between official sake yeast and flower yeast: “If you do not know about the characteristics of flower yeast, you might try to make sake the same way you would using regular yeast. In this case, you will usually fail. Each flower yeasts have unique characteristics. The fermentation method is especially prone to differing. Therefore, some yeasts ferment very quickly and, as a result, the sake is too young and not tasty. On the other hand, some yeasts ferment very slowly. To use flower yeast, sake breweries need to study the characteristics of yeasts and need to establish the best steps for making sake from each type of yeast. This takes time and can be troublesome, I’m sure you can guess.” This story convinced us that sake brewing using flower yeast is both very complicated, but also very attractive.