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31 minutes | 7 days ago
Wild Rice: Omachi and Chill
Season 1. Episode 46. Today we start a new series focusing on what could be considered the real star of the show: sake rice! Let’s call it “Wild Rice”, because, why not. One of the wildest of the wild sake rices is the elder statesman, the real OG, the been-there-done-that sake rice: Of course we are talking about OMACHI. Omachi is often called the “grandfather” of sake rice because it is not a hybrid of other rices, but an original rice strain discovered in the 1850s. Its known as being a little bit hard to cultivate and a bit cantankerous – just like a real grandpa! The trade off for all that bother is that it gives sake a unique, earthy and… hard to describe taste. Robust but complex with a true depth of flavor. Do not miss your chance to visit omachi town during your next sake tasting session. For now, let’s listen in as John and Tim explore the long and winding road that has brought us back to the future of Omachi.
31 minutes | 12 days ago
U.S. Sake Brewer Series: North American Sake Brewery
Season 1. Episode 45. Another in our series of U.S. Sake Brewer interviews takes us to Virginia to talk to Andrew Centofante, Toji and Master Brewer of North American Sake Brewery. Andrew told us about his discovery of premium sake in Japan and then, following his home brewing instincts, he soon found himself propagating koji in his attic and fermenting sake mash low and slow in the basement. By 2018, Andrew was out of the basement and had opened his own brewery - the North American Sake Brewery, which is the first and only kura in Virginia. Taking his cues from the craft brewing industry, Andrew developed some classic sake styles from Superdry to silky super premiums. Today, we had the honor to phone a brewer-friend to get a guided tasting with Andrew and explore their "Quiet Giant" Genshu, and the lux "Serenity Now!" Join us as we explore another cool corner of the USA sake scene: North American Sake Brewery with Andrew Centofante.
31 minutes | 20 days ago
Bougie brews: Sipping on Some Spendy Sake
Season 1. Episode 44. Last week was an exploration of bargain brews, so this week it only seems natural to dip our toes into the world of "bougie brews" - and by that we mean sakes that cost over $80 per bottle. Now this is an area that is reserved usually for special occasion or holiday sake. But for us this week, we are discussing the virtues of paying more for that premium sake experience. We think it goes without saying that sakes of all prices can be absolutely delicious, but when you get into the realm of the ultra-premium sakes, can you taste a little something... different? One area where these spendy sips seem to shine is in their texture/mouthfeel. Extraordinarily silky and velvety textures are the norm at this price point. It's one trick that the cheaper sakes just can't pull off. So let's explore the joys of expensive sake and answer the question - is it worth it?!
28 minutes | a month ago
Bargain Brews: Sake on the Cheap
Season 1. Episode 43. When buying sake, price is always a consideration, and compared to wine, imported premium sake usually comes at, well, a premium price. What makes a sake expensive? The first factor is often the "seimaibuai" or rice milling rate. The smaller the rice is milled, the more expensive the sake will be. Transportation costs also add to the cost of sake. But are there affordable sakes out there? Can you find a good sake and a rock bottom price? This week John and Tim explore sakes that are on the cheaper side, but still shine like a diamond. You don't have to give up good taste to enjoy premium imported sakes. Just be aware that even the cheapest imported sakes won't be quite as affordable as imported wines, but they will bring value if you enjoy them with food and friends. Let's discover some bargain brews!
35 minutes | a month ago
Interview with Monica Samuels - Sake Samurai and Industry Innovator
Season 1. Episode 42. Sake Industry insider Monica Samuels had us at “Cheez-its.” When discussing the latest trends in sake and food pairing, Monica blew our minds suggesting we look into sake and junk food. Believe us, we will. Genius! Getting her start at Sushi Samba in it’s Sex-and-the-City heyday and quickly rising to manage a list of over 100 sakes at a time when most New Yorkers had never even heard of a sake cocktail. Monica tells us about her growing interest in sake that was encouraged by some impressive sake brewery visits to Japan. It wouldn’t be Sake Revolution without a tasting and Monica brought us a doozy to sink our teeth into. From Manatsuru Brewery in Fukui prefecture, we explore the fun and funky Mana 1751 Yamahai Tokubetsu Junmmai Muroka Genshu. The product of a true micro brewery, this is a Yamahai lover’s Yamahai for sure. Join us on our fun and enlightening visit with Monica Samuels!
31 minutes | a month ago
Futsushu: The Extraordinary World of Regular Sake
Season 1. Episode 41. The word “futsu” in Japanese means regular or ordinary. In the sake industry, Futsushu is the word we use to refer to NON-premium sake. That is regular, ordinary or what some might call “table” sake. However, Futsushu is not one size fits all. What makes ordinary sake ordinary? Often it comes down to the rules and regulations for how premium sake is defined in Japan. With the exception of distilled alcohol, no additives are allowed in premium sake. Rules for so-called regular sake are not as strict – we are talking about the additions of acids, sugar or flavorings – none of these make the cut for premium sake. There are however some sakes that qualify for premium grades that are sold as table sake. So, once size does not fit all when it comes to the extraordinary world of regular sake!
29 minutes | 2 months ago
Sake Spotlight: Iwate
Season 1. Episode 40. Today we focus on another "Sake Spotlight" - this time it is the far north prefecture of Iwate. This is a rural and and sparsely populated part of the country with a total of approximately 20 sake breweries total. Lots of snow and agriculture, too. Despite it's remote location, sakes from Iwate have made their way around the world and Tim and John will taste two stellar examples of Iwate sake in this spotlight. We explore two well known Iwate brands - Nanbu Bijin and Tsukinowa. If you need a break from sake for any reason, be sure to try the gently competitive "Wanko Soba" challenge which is native to Iwate. Sake and Soba have ever had a better pairing! Join us as we dive deep into all things Iwate!
26 minutes | 2 months ago
Our Revolution Resolutions for 2021
Season 1. Episode 39. New Year's resolutions come in all shapes and sizes, but we here on the podcast are looking at our Revolution Resolutions - namely, our sake goals for 2021! The New year is one of the most important holidays in Japan. The Japanese flock to their local shinto shrine to pray for a healthy and auspicious new year. One tradition that is a bit less common is the drinking of Otoso sake. This is a medicinal sake infused with herbs and spices (cinnamon, ginger, pepper etc). Tim and John step into the new year with some new sake goals for the new year. For Tim, it is to drink outside his comfort zone, and as a good first step, he brings in a sweet Junmai Nigori. John wants to buy more sake locally and hits the japckpot when he finds some wonderful premium sake at his local liquor store. Here is a toast to 2021, hoping it brings us all more of the sake we love.
6 minutes | 2 months ago
Sake Revolution 2020 Recap
A quick look back on Sake Revolution 2020 and a few hints about whats coming up for 2021. Happy New Year from Sake Revolution!
30 minutes | 2 months ago
Married to Sake: My Life with a Nihonshu Nerd - Part 2
Season 1. Episode 38. As a follow up to Episode 22, where we met John's wife Myshell, and explored a bit what its like to be married to a sake nerd, this week the tables are turned! Let's meet Scott, Tim's better half! When you're not really a drinker, how much sake know-how do you really absorb over 15 years of tagging along to tastings, sake events and pairing dinners? ...a lot more than you'd think! Listen in as Scott tells us his favorite style of sake to pair with Sushi and he also brings one of his favorite sakes to taste with the hosts. We are talking the smooth, creamy and cloudy Kamoizumi Ginjo Nigori. Who doesn't love a sake that pairs with chocolate cookies that are bigger than a hockey puck? Scott also explains some of the sake adventures he has had with Tim including a trans-pacific sake cruise and surviving the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake that struck 20 minutes before their Japan vacation was set to begin. There's a lot to explore and a few laughs along the way. And if you're not in the mood for sake, just tell 'em you'd like a Manhattan instead.
31 minutes | 2 months ago
Not All Heroes Wear Capes: Interviewing Sakeman Red
Season 1. Episode 37. You’ve got the Avengers, and your Justice League Heroes but did you know we’ve got some sake superheroes too? This week John and Tim interview Sakeman Red a.k.a Nick Matsumoto. Nick is part of team Sakeman, who describe themselves as “A team of athletic, sake superheroes who import their own brands and educate the masses!” Nick first connected with the Sakeman group through his love of judo. The first thing you’ll notice about the Sakeman group is their use of iconic and custom made luchador masks when presenting their stellar sake portfolio of sake from premium producers all around Japan – so their stuff is legit. . As Nick explains in our interview, the masks help draw attention to sake and start the conversation! Or the masks draw an invitation to wrestle! However it turns out, Sakeman is all about good sake. Thanks Nick for taking the time to teach us to work hard, train hard and drink hard!
33 minutes | 3 months ago
Listener Request: How to Taste Sake
Season 1. Episode 36. Shoe leather? Starfruit? Pheasant Skin? Have you ever heard a - let's say - "advanced" sake aroma or taste description that left you feeling a little bit lost? What if you feel like you're not picking up on the nuance or subtlety in sake? That is exactly the question one of our listeners asked us by email. In this episode, John and Tim break down the process of tasting sake - Tasting with intention to study the main points of a sake. That would be the appearance in the glass, aroma, palate/taste and finish. We talk about each step in detail and what to do if you might be lacking the vocabulary to express what you're tasting. Also, we'll review some tips and tricks to study aromas and flavors. In the end, the art of studying sake tasting is about enjoying sake tasting. Learn as little or as much about tasting as interests you and helps you find a sake you love.
30 minutes | 3 months ago
A Sake By Any Other Name...
Season 1. Episode 35. "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." When Shakespeare's Juliet is coming to terms with the fact that she is crushing hard on Romeo - her family's sworn enemy - she muses on the meaning and importance of names. Is what's true for roses also true for sake? This week John and Timothy dive into the word of "re-branded" or so called "white labeled" sake. That is, sake that is purchased from a brewery and sold under a different brand name. There are a couple of ways these sakes show up on the market. The above-board way is to truly partner with a sake brewery and be completely transparent about who the producer is when selling and promoting the re-branded sake. However, some brands buy sake to re-label and <u>don't</u> disclose the producer. This is a tricky situation as you can never really be sure of the source or quality of the sake. Because of this, we'll be focusing on a few re-branded sakes that put their brewers front and center where they belong.
25 minutes | 3 months ago
U.S. Sake Brewer Series: Den Sake Brewery
Season 1. Episode 34. Continuing our series of interviews with U.S. sake brewers, this week we sit down with Yoshihiro Sako, owner and brewer at Den Sake Brewery in Oakland, California. Yoshi comes from the hospitality side of the sake industry and brings a true love of sake over to the world of U.S. sake production. Hailing from Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan, Yoshi is the ultimate ambassador of sake - melding his knowledge of Japanese culture and language with his years living in the U.S., to create a sake that is a unique and delicious hybrid of these two world views. With a bumped up acidity, unique calhikari rice and a firm, dry finish, Yoshi crafts sake that hews to his own vision. So far, he's been recognized as a James Beard Award semi-finalist as well as being featured in season two of the PBS Television series Tastemakers. Listen in as we taste Den's Junmai (batch 11) and explore the flavors that Yoshi is crafting in Oakland. As a true pioneer of sake brewing in the U.S., it's an honor to chat with Yoshi about sake now and how to raise sake up in the years to come.
31 minutes | 3 months ago
Ultimate Sake Underground: On Location at Decibel
Season 1. Episode 33. Do you know your way to New York's most legit and old school sake bar? Walk east on 9th street until you see the "On Air" sign just before second ave. Descend the stairs and behind the door you'll find Decibel, the ultimate underground sake bar. If you find yourself in a dark and graffiti-covered basement, you're in the right place. Opened in 1993 by East Village restaurant pioneer Bon Yagi, Decibel has welcomed the spectrum of NYC nightlife in search of sake for over a quarter century - and with over 100 sakes on the menu, there is plenty of sake to choose from. What better place for Tim and John to do their first "on location" episode, than from New York's most classic sake bar. Sit back, relax and take in the sounds and atmosphere of Decibel as our hosts recall their underground (mis-) adventures in sake. Special thanks to Decibel's Cho-san for arranging our recording session!
31 minutes | 4 months ago
Interview with Brian Ashcraft, Author of The Japanese Sake Bible
Season 1. Episode 32. This week, Timothy and John connect with a special guest for an interview and tasting. Brian Ashcraft is a well known writer focusing on the subjects of video games and Japanese culture. His most recent publication is The Japanese Sake Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Great Sake (With Tasting Notes and Scores for Over 100 Top Brands). It's a marvelous book that takes you deep into the world of sake without being too technical or boring. Every chapter has individual stories to highlight the topic or area being discussed. As one would hope, the last section of the book is a tasting guide to over 100 kinds of sake with tasting notes and pictures of the bottles. Not all the featured sakes are available in the USA, but there are enough to make it really worthwhile. Sake nerds finally have a Bible of their own - Amen to that!
25 minutes | 4 months ago
A Very, Very Tokubetsu Episode of Sake Revolution
Season 1. Episode 31. This episode can be summed up in a word: "Tokubetsu"... now that just means Special. If you want to short and sweet version you are done! But looking a little deeper, there are a few reasons why a brewery might label a sake their "tokubetsu" or special sake. In almost all cases, Tokubetsu is applied to either Junmai or Honjozo sakes. These two Classifications allow for upgrades to a "special" classification for a few (sometimes vague) set of circumstances. To qualify as tokubetsu sake must be milled to 60% or less remaining for either the Junmai or honjozo category. Another way to qualify for Tokubetsu is to use a special or unique premium sake rice. Finally you can also use a special process or production step and print this on the label. It's a little vague but it boils down to a special process for a special sake. The majority you will find will be Junmai or Honjozo that are having a serious glow up! Look for anything "tokubetsu" to find a special sake - guaranteed!
29 minutes | 4 months ago
Zombie Rice and Demon Slayers: A Sake Trick Or Treat?
Season 1. Episode 30. OK, Halloween is around the corner and sake is usually not that scary at all. But what if someone else picked a sake for you – and then you had to taste it blind!? Now we are getting into fearful territory. Well, to celebrate the notion of trick or treat, that is exactly what Tim and John are up to this week. They bought each other a mystery sake that was delivered and served to them completely hidden. John and Tim will taste their respective sakes and try to discover – were they tricked? Or were they treated to something delicious?? Also, each sake may have a spooky connection to something halloween-y… well, in our minds at least! Be sure to listen to the end to hear the big reveal! What sake did John pick for Tim? and vice versa! It’s a deliciously frightening episode of Sake Revolution!
30 minutes | 4 months ago
The Saga of Saga Kuras
Season 1. Episode 29. Sometimes cabin fever gets you down and you just want to get away... and we mean away-away. That got us thinking, how far west could we go from NYC and still explore a major sake region. Past Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe - That landed us on the far, far west of Kyushu Island in Saga Prefecture. This out of the way gem of a sake region is home to several outstanding breweries and also an "Appellation of Origin" control system which endeavors to define what "sake from Saga" really is. John and Timothy tackle two of the most well known breweries in Saga, Amabuki and Tenzan to explore what makes them unique - and what binds them together. The brewers of Saga are innovative and working hard to create a new generation of sake. So come fly with us to the far west of Japan to hear the Saga of Saga Kuras.
31 minutes | 5 months ago
U.S. Sake Brewer Series: Brooklyn Kura
Season 1. Episode 28. This is the first in a new series of interviews with U.S. sake brewers. There are few things more fun for a sake fan, than to sit down and drink a delicious sake with the people who actually brewed it. For our first brewer interview, we don't stray too far from home. We had a great time talking to our friends Brian Polen and Brandon Doughan of New York's Brooklyn Kura. We hear a bit about how Brooklyn Kura came to be and some of the advantages and disadvantages of brewing sake in the Big City. Also, we explore the learning curve of being the first to open a brewery in New York. As far as tasting goes, we get to enjoy two of Brooklyn Kura's stand out creations, the #14 Junmai Ginjo Nama and their Catskills Junmai Daiginjo. Join us for this fun interview with New York's first sake brewery, Brooklyn Kura.
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