月別アーカイブ: 2018年8月

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Echigo, the first micro-brewery of Japan

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History of the brewery

The Echigo Brewery was the very first in Japan to produce craft beer and they have been going strong in the world of beer ever since.

A number of micro-breweries in Japan opened after the revision of the liquor tax law in 1994, because the minimum production volume required to obtain a beer brewing license was greatly reduced. That made it possible for small manufacturers to start businesses, and Echigo Beer was the first to open a brewpub in Japan.

The founder of Echigo Beer had been working as a stage actor in Europe, where he met deep and diverse beer culture and dreamed spreading it from his hometown Niigata to the whole Japan. He managed to achieve his dream and now, Echigo brewery is playing the key role in the beer industry in Japan and even the whole world.

The brewery is located in Niigata prefecture, which is the number one rice growing prefecture in Japan and home to the famous Koshihikari rice, a short grain rice regarded as the best quality and flavor in all of Japan. The brewery has high standards when selecting the Koshihikari rice to assure the superb flavor outcome.

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Beer recommendation

Echigo Koshihikari Beer is the flagship brand of Echigo Brewery. It is a rice style lager with 5% alcohol. While the malt ingredient is imported from Europe, the rice is harvested literally from the backyard of Echigo Brewery. Though this beer is categorized as being dry, the brewery uses the time-consuming German decoction method to bring out the natural sweet flavor from the Niigata grown Koshihikari rice, which can appeal even to those who do not like dry beer.

It’s a pale golden color that comes out of the bottle, with a strong head that quickly fades. It has a slightly acidic tang to the regular lager flavour, but it is not too overpowering.

The beer has a crisp and refreshing flavor, and exceptionally soothing and smooth quality. The sweet aroma of rice, and eloquent fragrance of hops, make it the perfect complement to any Japanese dish. Echigo Koshihikari is a true izakaya and sushi bar standout, it complements sushi, sashimi, yakitori served with salt (without tare sauce), etc.

We recommend trying this one and only Japanese beer!

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With over 320 years of sake brewing experience

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The brewery

With over 320 years of sake brewing experience, Muromachi Shuzo in Okayama Prefecture
takes pride in its sake brewing technique handed down from generation to generation, as well as its passion in constantly searching for the best flavor.

The brewery is also called Sakura Moromachi, and you will quickly notice a cherry blossom (sakura) emblem on the bottle labels. These are important symbols for the brewery, as sakura is the national flower that symbolizes resilience and grace and Muromachi is the era that culture blossomed during the most peaceful time.

Muromachi Shuzo uses the only pure strain of sake rice in Japan, which is very rare and difficult to cultivate, as well as some of the best quality water in Japan – Omachi spring mineral water. The brewery believes that unique and high quality sake can only be made using all local ingredients.
The brewery is worldwide-renowned and has gained global recognition in various competitions, their sake have won the grand prize at the Monde Selection and a range of other international spirits competitions.

Recommendation

The flavourful Bizen Maboroshi Junmai Ginjo sake is made with 100% Bizen Omachi rice, which is quite rare, expensive, and difficult to grow. Omachi rice is noted for its unique umami flavor, which is brought out through a low-temperature fermentation.

This sake has as a light and sweet aroma, and is delicious chilled. The fragrance is reminiscent of the pleasant smell of fall fruits such as pear and apple, as well as melon, and it has a touch of astringency too. The initial taste is very full-bodied. It spreads in your mouth immediately, and has a pleasant sourness and acidity, and bit of sweetness. The texture is quite thick and almost borderline viscous. The finishing notes of the flavour are hints of light wood, black pepper, and then back to a mild sourness. The nectar-like flavor in this sake pairs well with the sweet vegetables and vegetable tempura.

This sake has won the most prestigious double gold award in San Francisco International Wine Competition. It also won the gold medal twice in International Review of Wine Competition organised by Beverage Tasting Institute. The gold sticker represents that this sake won the gold prize at the Monde Selection in Brussels.

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This is not your everyday sake, so we recommend it for a special occasion!

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