Archive for February, 2009

Namazake – Unpasteurized Sake

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009


From late January to early February, we offer the Hatsushibori or early spring namazake at SAKAYA.  What exactly is namazake?  Namazake is unpasteurized sake, which means that the sake has been bottled without receiving the heat treatment of pasteurization.  Most sake is pasteurized twice during its production process; first after pressing the fermented mash to extract the liquid sake, and then again after a period of maturation before bottling.  Why is it pasteurized?  For a couple of reasons.  Pasteurization deactivates the enzymes still left frolicking about in the sake after fermentation and also kills off “riff raff” bacteria, thus stabilizing the brew for longer shelf life.  Unpasteurized sake therefore must be kept refrigerated or it will become cloudy, yeasty, and cloying.

Kept under the proper conditions and consumed within a brief time after opening,  namazake’s characteristically bold, fresh, and lively flavors are quite enjoyable.  Think of it as freshly squeezed grapefruit juice instead of the made-from-concentrate version or draft versus bottled beer.

At SAKAYA we have several styles for you to try and compare (including one made with peach yeast) so please visit us  by and give them a try to find your own favorite(s)!


Sake Brewing Firsthand

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Thanks to Daimon Shuzo sake brewery President and Master Brewer Yasutaka Daimon and a handful of sake souls including True Sake’s Beau Timken and Sake Handbook author John Gauntner, the Mukune International Sake Brewing Program, a revolutionary new sake education program, was born this February 9.  Yours truly will be among the fortunate fifteen this first year to actively participate as a kurobito (sake brewery worker) for a week in early March.

Each of the four week-long sessions will allow six interns the opportunity to live and work in the Mukune Brewery in a small village outside of Osaka making sake.

You can check in on the real time blog of these first interns as they learn firsthand about the craft that creates the beverage that we all enjoy so much.  The first session is now in progress and I’ll be blogging in this space when our session (#2) begins on March 9.

If you’re a sake enthusiast, you won’t want to miss this unprecedented insight into the cloistered world of sake brewing.



SAKAYA Valentine’s Day Sake Selections

Friday, February 6th, 2009


valentine’s day 2009


With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, for many the search for amorous expression intensifies.  For those who are seeking to go beyond cards,  candy, and flowers,  might we suggest something sake as a means to express your love?

Our picks (shown above from left to right) to make this a Valentine’s Day to remember are:

Tedorigawa Ikina Onna "Lucky Lady" Junmai Daiginjo (Ishikawa) -  When told that it reminded you of her, what fortunate woman wouldn’t be flattered to be presented with this beautifully elegant, silky brew!

Kamikokoro "Tokagen" Tokubetsu Junmai Nama Genshu (Okayama) - Uniquely brewed with white peach yeast, this early spring release namazake is delicately sweet like your first love.

Denshin "Yuki" Junmai Ginjo (Fukui) – Pure and clean with a gentle fragrance, the bottle design characters translate to "express what is in your heart."  Need we say more?

Juyon Dai Junmai Ginjo (Yamagata) -  Very difficult to find, this sake has achieved cult status for its delicately aromatic, smooth elegance with nuanced layers of apricot and melon flavors.  Its Valentine’s connection?  Ju yon is Japanese for the number 14.

Tsukasabotan "Fu-in (Seal) " Junmai Ginjo (Kochi) -  Seal your Valentine’s affection with the kiss of this clean, grapefruit and banana-scented brew.

Ban Ryu "Thousand Ways" Honjozo (Yamagata) – Give this cherry and berry noted sake and you won’t have to come up with the other 999 ways to say "I love you."

Finding a unique gift or preparing a special Valentine’s dinner is always a challenge.  Try introducing sake as the twist for this year.  You never know, it might become a tradition.


Rick & Hiroko


February Tastings

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit SAKAYA to add your name to our Tasting Reminder Email List, here’s the upcoming schedule of our in-store tastings for the coming month. 

You can also find the updated schedule on our website via the "Events" button.

Thursday, February 5, 6 to 8PM

Tasting of newly released Early Spring Season Namazake from importer JotoSake


Thursday, February 12, 6 to 8PM

SAKAYA’s Valentine’s Day Selections


Saturday, February 21, 3 to 6PM

Vine Connection Imports Sake Tasting


Saturday, February 28, 3 to 6PM

Hakkaisan Brewer Sake Tasting


Please join us to enjoy this month’s series of great sake selections. 

We look forward to welcoming you at SAKAYA!


Rick & Hiroko