月別アーカイブ: 2021年10月

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November 1st Is Authentic Shochu & Awamori Day! Try Traditional Okinawan Awamori

November 1st Is Authentic Shochu & Awamori Day

In September 1987, the Central Association of Sake Brewers of Japan established November 1st as “Authentic Shochu & Awamori Day”. The brewing process begins in August or September every year, and the “authentic shochu nouveau,” or auspicious new liquor of the year, is ready to drink on or around November 1, hence the date.

In Japanese Shinto tradition, the month of October is called “Kannazuki” (literally ”the month when there are no gods”) it is believed that the eight million gods of Japan leave their shrines and congregate annually at Izumo Taisha. They return on November 1st , and it is no coincidence that this day can be read as “a good day in a good month” (in Japanese world play 11 can be read as いい (ii) , which means “good”).

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 Yaesen Shuzo

Yaesen Shuzo is a leading awamori manufacturer in Ishigaki Island, established in 1955. Yaesen (八重泉) was named after the springs (泉) of the islands around here, called Yaeyama (八重山), and is located on a small hill overlooking the islands. The distillery is committed to trying innovative techniques to make their products better while maintaining the traditional kiln distillation and long-term storage in Western-style barrels, which were pioneered in the industry.

Yaesen is the Awamori that has been loved and nurtured by the people of Ishigaki Island since its establishment. It is an excellent product that can be said to be the origin of Yaesen, which has been through repeated trial and error for over 65 years since its establishment. Enjoy the robust and fragrant aroma, sharp and well-balanced taste, and deep sweetness from the direct fire distillation and black malted rice brewing that is traditional to Ishigaki Island.

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October 27 Is American Beer Day! Try Japanese Craft Beer That Is Highly Rated in America

NATIONAL AMERICAN BEER DAY is observed annually by beer drinkers across the nation on October 27. There are more than 7,000 breweries that manufacture beer in the United States. They range in size from industry giants to brew pubs and microbreweries.

American Beer Facts

◉ Prohibition in the early twentieth century caused nearly all American breweries to close.
◉ After prohibition was repealed the industry had consolidated into a small number of large-scale breweries.
◉ The majority of the new breweries in the U.S. are small breweries and brewpubs, who, as members of the Brewers Association, are termed “craft breweries” to differentiate them from the larger and older breweries.
◉ The most common style of beer produced by the big breweries is American lager.
◉ Most of the smaller breweries, which were founded in the 1980s, produce a range of styles.
◉ Beer styles originating in the United States include: American pale ale, Pennsylvania porter, American IPA, steam beer, amber ale, cream ale and Cascadian dark ale.

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Japanese Craft Beer That Is Highly Rated in America

The best way to celebrate American Beer Day is, of course, enjoying some American Beer! But how about adding a more interesting touch by trying a Japanese craft beer which is highly popular in America?

Our suggestion is Hitachino Nest White Ale, which is one of HITACHINO’s top-selling beers both in Japan and U.S. It pours cloudy with a nice yellow color, and instantly the aroma of pepper and orange announce themselves. Fruity and respectful take on a Belgian classic, with hints of orange, nutmeg and coriander.

Hitachino Nest White Ale has been available in the U.S. since 2000, and has developed a cult following among American beer aficionados. It has been praised by American beer connoisseurs for its complex flavour. Aromas of nutmeg and coriander permeate the nose, and tantalizing hints of sweet malt and spicy wheat lie below the surface.  Even in American, this is a highly sought-after brew, and rightfully so!

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Konteki Junmai Daiginjo: The Epitome of Purity

Higashiyama Shuzo

Higashiyama Shuzo is located in southern Kyoto city, the famous Fushimi sake district. The master brewer is Yasuo Hosaka, who is Nanbu Toji (one of the three major schools in sake making) with more than 40 years experience in making sake. The master brewer and his team respect the traditional style of sake brewing, and the taste of Higashiyama’s sake is very classical and authentic. There are four brands in Higashiyama Shuzo: Konteki, Rosanjin, Rikugen and Rakuden.

Each rice variety has its own flavor characteristics, and the brewery strives to bring that out in their sake flavour. For example, a specially cultivated Yamadanishiki rice from Tottori prefecture is used for Konteki, while Rosanjin is made with Iwai rice from Kyoto prefecture. This is very helpful when establishing the differences among the brands. The color of Higashiyama produced sake is not transparent, but light bright yellow because it is filtered very gently to maintain the original sake flavor.

As with all Fushimi breweries, Higashiyma Shuzo can take advantage of the spring water here called “Fushimizu”. It is medium hard water, which contains potassium and calcium in good balance. 80% of sake is water, so Fushimizu is an essential ingredient in Higashiyama’s sake.

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Konteki Junmai Daiginjo

Konteki is the flagship brand of Higashiyama Shuzo. The taste of Konteki is rich and aromatic due to the use of specially cultivated Yamadanishiki rice, which is grown in Tottori prefecture.

The epitome of purity, this sake is more subtle and nuanced than most highly aromatic Junmai Daiginjos. It is based on the ideals of Zen Buddhism and “wabi-sabi,” the belief that beauty within the arts should be as understated and pure as a simple strand of pearls. It begins with a bouquet of bright floral aromas, and then comes the velvety and dangerously smooth finish. This is a great sipping sake but also a wonderful companion to a scallops, pork and other light meats.

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Have You Ever Been to Iwate Prefecture?

Have You Ever Been to Iwate Prefecture?

Iwate Prefecture is located in the northern part of the Tohoku region. Its size is second only to Hokkaido, which boasts the largest area in Japan but also the lowest population density of any prefecture on Japan’s main island, Honshu, making it the perfect place to get off-the-beaten path in Japan. It a rural prefecture known for its scenic beauty of rugged coastlines, soft pink cherry blossom trees, and historical temples.

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If you have ever visited Iwate Prefecture, you have probably visited scenic spots such as Jodogahama Beach which is listed as one of the best beaches in Japan, Geibikei Gorge with its bright greenery in spring and summer and foliage in autumn, and seen the breathtaking views of steep Kitamiyazaki cliffs.

Iwate is also known for its unique local cuisine, which is dominated by a variety of noodles dishes. You might have challenged yourself to eat as many wanko soba (little bowls of soba noodles) bowls as possible, had the refreshing Morioka Cold noodles, or Morioka Jaja noodles, udon-like flat noodles served with a miso-meat sauce and topped with cucumber and garlic. While enjoying these dishes, might have also tried sake from Asabiraki, which is the largest brewery in Iwate. You can also try Asabiraki sake at the convenience of your home, and we have the perfect recommendation, which lets you experience the taste of Iwate!

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Asabiraki Junmai Ginjo Kanzukuri 

Asabiraki Junmai Ginjo Kanzukuri is truly a work of art from the legendary Nambu Toji, sake brewing guild group based in Iwate prefecture for over a hundred years. It is made with a special Kanzukuri (cold brewing) brewing style.

Kanzukuri is the name of a Japanese sake brewing technique that was the main brewing method from 1673 until 1926 and applies to those made in winter when the air temperature is low, which makes it easy to suppress the growth of germs and control the temperature of the mash. Although seasonal brewing is now possible due to industrial technology and air conditioning, it is still desirable to keep the temperature low to allow the yeast to work effectively so it is still used today. It is a hard job for brewery workers, who work from the early morning during winter, and their effort is reflected in the taste of sake.

Asabiraki Junmai Ginjo Kanzukuri has a delicate, not too assertive aroma that rises to the top, and a deep, slow-developing taste. Best served chilled for experiencing the true flavor, however if you would like to see a bit more of the acidity and dryness, it also works well warmed up a little (around 40-45°C).

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October 16th Is National Liqueur Day! Celebrate with Fruit Sake!

October 16th Is National Liqueur Day!

National Liqueur Day on October 16th annually celebrates the myriad classes and flavors of liqueur.

The word liqueur comes from the Latin liquifacere, which means “to dissolve”. A liqueur is an alcoholic beverage made from a distilled spirit. Liqueurs are prepared by infusing certain woods, fruits, or flowers in either water or alcohol and adding sugar or other items. Others are distilled from aromatic or flavoring agents. While liqueurs are typically considerably sweet, distillers do not usually age their product long. They do, however, allow a resting period during production, which allows the flavors to marry.

There’s a liqueur for everyone’s palate, from the more common fruit, coffee and chocolate flavors to the exotic licorice and flower liqueurs. This is they day to celebrate and enjoy the many varieties of the sweet alcoholic drink!

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Miwaku Fruit Liqueur Series

Miwaku fruit sake series are produced by Aichi based Maruishi Jozo, an award winning brewery with more than 330 years of sake brewing experience. The base is junmai-shu so you can also expect a high-quality taste of sake. Made from carefully selected fruits, mainly from Aichi Prefecture, so that you can fully enjoy the aroma and taste of the fruits as they are. The low alcohol percentage of just 7% is attractive even to those who don’t normally like alcohol and it is perfect for making cocktails!

Miwaku no Momo is a treat for peach lovers! This liqueur is mildly sweet so it goes down very easily. The peach taste gives this sake just the right amount of sweetness. Try it mixed with rum or rose sparkling wine.

Miwaku no Mango is great for those who crave the flavor of tropical fruits. It is made with alphonso mango which is considered to be among the most superior varieties of the fruit in terms of sweetness, richness and flavor.

Miwaku no Ichigo is made with juicy and sweet strawberries, a flavour which is hard to resist! It has strawberry jam-like texture and fruity flavor. The sweetness of the strawberries is gently enveloped by the sake, and the crushed strawberry seeds are an added attraction!

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Kinokuniya Bunzaemon: Sake Inspired by the Legendary Edo Merchant

The Legend of Kinokuniya Bunzaemon

Kinokuniya Bunzaemon, one of the most famous business tycoons from Kishu (former name of Wakayama), made a fortune in the Edo Period by risking his life to transport loads of Kishu mikan (mandarin oranges) on a ship called the “Kinokuni Mikanbune” to Edo.

Arida in Wakayama Prefecture has long been famous for its mikan cultivation. Mikan is said to have been introduced from Yatsushiro, Kyushu Island in 1547, and took root here as Arida had little flat land and it was difficult to grow rice.

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In 1634, Tobei Takigawara of Arida decided to send his own mikan oranges to Edo (current day Tokyo) by ship. They were a hit there, and from then on Arida mikan oranges were always in a high demand. However, one particular year, when the annual Fuigo Festival (which has a tradition of throwing mikan to the children) in Edo was approaching, the sea was too rough to sail and both the farmers who grew the oranges and the merchants who sold them were in trouble.

However, a 17 year-old young man who would later be known as Kinokuniya Bunzaemon, bravely volunteered to ship mikan. Even this would be a dangerous trip,  he knew that if he shipped the oranges now, they would sell like hotcakes. Kinokuniya Bunzaemon was joined by his two friends and overcoming the challenges,  they managed to safely deliver mikan oranges to Edo.  With the money earned from selling mikan, Bunzaemon became a merchant dealing in lumber in Edo, and is said to have made a great fortune.

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Kinokuniya Bunzaemon Junmai Namachozoshu

Wakayama-based Nakano BC is best known for their premium umeshu, but they are also brew high quality sake brand “Chokyu” and “Kinokuniya Bunzaemon”.  The brand name “Kinokuniya Bunzaemon” was inspired by this story and is brewed to a higher quality with the aim of creating a sake with a gentle taste of rice that is typical of Wakayama.

It is an unpasteurized junmai sake with a gentle taste of robust rice flavor typical of Wakayama. Heat treated once, it has the freshness that only unpasteurized sake can have, and a firm but gentle aroma that no other unpasteurized sake has. Recommended to serve chilled. Enjoy the well-balanced and refreshing taste!

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Yuki no Matsushima: Sake Brand Inspired by the Beauty of Matsushima

Modern Sake Brewery in Tohoku

Miyagi Prefecture is one of the leading rice producing areas in Japan. It has been about 20 years since the brewery was established in Taiwa town, a place blessed with limpid water from the Mount Funagata in the center of Miyagi Prefecture. Taiwagura Sake Brewery has been making more than 30 kinds of sake, including Junmai-shu and Ginjo-shu. They strive to deliver better sake to more people. In order to realize this desire, the brewery is equipped with one of the most modern facilities in the Tohoku region. By mechanizing most of the processes, the brewery has been able to save a great deal of labor and produce high quality sake with less than half the staff of conventional breweries.

That being said, the root of sake brewing is still supported by the experience, knowledge, and intuition of the brewers who actually do the brewing. With the help of the latest technology, the brewery belives that they must also pass on the traditional skills of sake brewing. With this in mind, Taiwagura Shuzo will continue to pursue the pursuit of sake that will please everyone by combining advanced and traditional techniques.

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Sake Brand Inspired by the Beauty of Matsushima

The brand “Yuki no Matsushima” was named after the famous scenic spot of Matsushima islands, which was also praised by Basho, the supreme Japanese haiku poet. It snows only a few times a year in Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, and the splendor of the islands, especially when it is first covered with snow, is the reason for the name of the sake, which is meant to represent the Tohoku region.

Yuki no Matsushima Umakara Junmaishu is, as the name states, dry junmai. The acidity and richness of the flavor punch first from the nose. The mouthfeel and texture are smooth and mellow, with a moderate fruity sweetness and a strong saltiness. Although the acidity has a strong impression of the aroma, the bitterness and dryness that seeps through the throat and rises from the depths of the bottle spread quickly. It is a complex fusion of flavors, and it feels like discovering a new combination of “dry and ginjo”.

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The Best Selling Sake in September Was Kizakura Yamahai Jikomi 720ml!

The best selling sake in September was Kizakura Yamahai Jikomi 720ml!

Kizakura Brewery is an acclaimed Japanese sake brewery based in Kyoto, Fushimi, famous sake region in Japan for over centuries. Fushimi is blessed with natural medium soft water, called Fushimizu, and it is one of the main elements that make Kyoto sake taste soft and gentle. This kind of sake made with soft water is called feminine style sake (onna-zake).

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Onna-zake is made with mineral-light soft water, giving a gentler, slower-fermenting moromi, resulting in sweeter sake with lower acidity. It is soft, smooth, and easy to drink. In contrast, otoko-zake (“masculine sake”) is usually brewed with hard water (containing large quantities of various minerals), which tends to lead to a strong, dynamic fermentation requiring a relatively short time, and a resulting product that tends to dry sake with high acidity.

Kizakura Yamahai Jikomi is without a doubt one the best products from this brewery. A fantastically affordable sake for drinking every day, it is a staple in Japanese restaurants, and for good reason. It is a mellow and soft sake. If you’re new to sake this is a fantastic choice, as it develops different characteristics at different temperatures, allowing you to explore your own palate. Try this both chilled and warmed up!

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Yamahai Jikomi is made using a traditional slow fermentation technique process at low temperatures with extra time and care. This gives this sake rich flavour and semi dry taste with a good amount of acid. Kizakura Yamahai is the perfect food sake that goes well with any Japanese dish. Kizakura Yamahai Jikomi has a long list of awards thanks to Kizakura’s decades of experience, coupled with an endless passion for reinvention and innovation.

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