And just like that September has arrived, however the summer heat has still not cooled down just yet which might push brewing season backwards a few weeks for some breweries...
Lots of things are going on and generally all at the same time, which is still taking me a little by surprise after 3 years of quiet. But it is great to see all these events, as well as having so many sake bars and restaurants to visit is spomething I did miss a lot. So this month has a little bit of everything, sake festivals, great places to eat and I might have aquired yet another sake qualification...
Osaka Takashimaya Sake Festival
For the first time in 3 years the popular Osaka Takashimaya’s sake festival has returned and it was the first time I got a chance to join and meet some of the amazing breweries and people who promote their sake.
I drank some incredible sake from Mie based Moriki Shuzo, who brought a 6-year-old aged sake to the event, I did not even know she did that (!). I discovered Aichi-based @hakurou.sawadasyuzo, which really impressed me and I am looking forward to seeing the brewery soon and got to sample some interesting brews from @lagoon_brewery, which is one of my favorite Doburoku makers.
Blauer Engel - Austrian Food and Sake
More food and sake and this is probably one that comes a little unexpected. Blauer Engel has been on my list to visit ever since it opened, as it promises German/ Austrian food paired with sake and Doburoku.
Another reason is that a good friend and fellow Doburoku Ambassador Norie Asana is the house sommelier here and her pairing suggestions are pretty spectacular, to say the least.
If you are in the area, make sure to pop in to experience it for yourself. I would recommend the mini-course, consisting of an appetizer plate, breads, and main course. A great way to start (and extremely filling) and gets you to just enjoy yourself as the food and sake keeps coming your way.
It is no secret I love "Sake Jump" as it is a great festival bringing a variety of breweries and their sake to downtown Tokyo and its unique and very beautiful design also makes it one of the more photogenic ones.
It was great to bump into many familiar faces, both breweries and people coming to drink and I wish I could have visited one more day, as I had so many coins left, but no time to spend them all. Still glad I made it and am looking foward to the next one.
SSA Sake Sommelier
Very excited to add the prestigious SSA Sake Sommelier to my growing list of beverage qualifications!
I am especially thrilled, as they are doing so many great programs to promote sake both inside and outside of Japan and a really big shout-out to one of the best educators: @jijisake, who is combining her technical knowledge with hands-on sake brewing skills, possibly making her the only educator who has such in-depth knowledge from all angles.
Tonoike Sake Brewery Special Tasting
Whenever I am in the area and have friends, sommeliers or importers visiting I am trying to bring them to Mashiko and introduce them to one of my favorite sake breweries @tonoikeshuzou!!!
This time I was excited to visit with @sakeloversjapan and @joshuakalinan for a quick brewery tour and a very special sake tasting, which as always has been an unforgettable experience due to the amazing hospitality here.
I am lready looking forward to coming back soon.
Smoke and Sake
Another really interesting concept and one that works incredibly well is smoked foods and sake and there is one place in Kyoto that does exactly that @ibushigin_kazuya in trendy Pontocho. It is a real hidden gem with a great sake selection and delicious smoked bites to perfectly pair with them.
Tsukinokatsura Brewery Tour and Tasting
I must confess, I do not spend half as much time as I should/could in Kyoto's Fushimi Neighbourhood, but any excuse to visit will do. Especially when the plan is to visit Fushimi based @tsukinokatsura_sake, one brewery that has played a big part on my sake journey from the very start.
From getting a peek at what the brewery looks like just before the brewing season starts, to some great insight into both their Nigori production and their one in a kinda aged sake storage, to end the visit with a sake tasting where we again learned so much. Really amazing hospitality!