Sake Made with Burgundy White Wine Yeast Hits the Shelves
On March 10, Hananomai Brewery in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture began selling a new sake called Abysse in department stores, restaurants and Hananomai liquor stores across Japan. Abysse is a unique take on standard sake as it uses white wine yeast rather than typical starters.
The result is a sake with many of the characteristics of white wine in flavor, and, like white wine, is very compatible with fish dishes.
This is not the first time a sake has been brewed with wine yeast, but Hananomai is hoping this particular brand will appeal to younger drinkers in Japan, who have been moving away from sake in recent years. The yeast comes from the world-famous Burgundy region of France, and is brewed to a slightly lower alcohol content than regular sake at 12%.
In contrast to its name, Abysse is the result of years of market research into innovating sake to create bold new ideas that capture the attention of today’s younger generations. But it’s sure to be a treat for sake lovers of all ages looking for a new twist on their favorite drink.
Super-Frozen Nanbu Bijin Sake Promises Freshest Taste Anywhere in the World
Iwate Prefecture’s internationally award-winning brewery Nanbu Bijin announced a new development in unpasteurized namazake. By utilizing flash freezing technology, they’ve discovered a way to store and transport freshly pressed sake for long periods of time with no loss of flavor.
For centuries, sake had been enjoyed on a regional basis and was effectively stored at room temperatures. But, in the latter half of the 20th century, awareness of other regions’ sake grew, necessitating distribution to far-flung locations. Refrigeration helped to preserve regular sake as it traveled all over Japan, but the increasingly appreciated namazake presented new challenges.
Even if stored, enzymes inside its container continue to mature namazake, altering its flavor in transit. In the past, refrigeration – normally effective – caused namazake bottles to shatter and adversely impacted flavor even further.
But, Nanbu Bijin found that by rapidly freezing bottles of namazake, they could be transported without risk of bottles breaking. Taste tests further found flavor to be unimpacted by this process. The company found bottles could be stored for up to half a year in this fashion if constantly stored at -7℃ (19℉).
The new type of namazake Nanbu Bijin is hawking with the help of this process is “Frozen Beauty,” a play on the English translation of the brewery’s name, “Southern Beauty.” It’s expected to hit the market this June.
California’s Den Sake Brewery Nominated for Top US Honor
In 2017, Yoshiro Sako started Den Sake Brewery in Oakland, California after apprenticing at breweries around Japan. Using the skills he learned, he teamed up with a local rice farmer in the Sacramento Valley and began brewing Den.
Still a small operation, Sako released his first two batches in August of 2018 to be sold at a handful of stores in San Francisco and the East Bay. The hand-crafted brew supposedly pairs wonderfully with both Asian and western cuisine.
And despite the relatively low output and infancy on the market, Den Sake Brewery has already received a nod from the 2019 James Beard Awards, sometimes referred to as “the Oscars of food service” and one of the highest honors of its kind in the United States.
Den Sake Brewery was shortlisted along with 19 other nominees from all over the country in the category of “Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer.” Over 600 professionals in the culinary industry vote on nominees.
Whether the fledgling Den Sake Brewery can pull a major upset in the awards remains to be seen, but winners are announced March 27 and we might just see Sako go on stage at the James Beard Awards Gala on May 6 in Chicago.
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