The taste, on your lips
Can it be forgotten,
|The well and pump at Hakushika|
|The stone tracks for the carts to keep the wheels from causing ruts in the roads.|
Sake Brewing was a tremendously labor intensive and complex process. Following the technological advances during and after WWII the method and tools involved began to change rapidly. Many, if not all of the old ways began to change as did the tools of the trade. In 1982 Hakushika opened the Brewing Museum to preserve the old ways. In the Kobe Earthquake, much of the old building housing the Sake brewery collapsed. A room in the museum still stands as it did after the earthquake.
-This was the coolest room in the buiding... slightly recessed in the ground with a dirt floor... a nice respite for those of us wearing suits for the day!
|Kurabito (seasonal Sake workers) working in a Koshiki rice steamer.|
(Don't look at me for an explanation... )
Rice ->Rice Polishing ->Rice Washing ->Rice Steaming ->Motojikomi (yeast mash prep) -> Fermenting ->Filtration ->Pasteurization ->shipping
-I do know, that sake quality has much to do with the amount of polishing the rice undergoes (the more refined (polished) the higher quality. Also, one must look to see if additional 'brewer's alcohol' has been added to the sake which detracts from the natural flavors etc.
|The final product... delicious!|
Sake, like much of Japanese lore and culture, holds a mystique in America. Not many American's (and I'm guessing this includes most Western Countries) have any real grasp on Sake and what its about. I know that most of my experience with Sake has been of an awful variety best used in cooking.
There is an understanding with most people that Sake should be drunk warm, and even guzzled like a shot from the small glasses. These misconceptions come from the obvious... Most Sake served in the U.S. is JUNK. Some of the Sake I've tasted from the shelves of the super-markets shouldn't even be cooked with,
Granted some Sake is meant to be served warm, the heat bringing out the texture and flavor of the drink, something suitable for a cold evening before bed. But, most Sake should be served cold, (at or below room temperature.) Most of all... Sake is a rice 'WINE' not a rice 'Jagermeister'... It really isn't meant to be thrown back in competition at a frat party. (Though with big enough bottles... this could be a lot of fun!) -to watch that is....
Sake should be smelled, and tasted, and felt... enjoyed for the layers of flavor that develop as it is slowly consumed. It is much more like drinking a wine, something to be savored and experienced.
Many cheap boxed wines tout the $5 wine that tastes like an expensive bottle... While I've drunk some great cheap red wines... Don't expect much out of 5-15 dollar bottle of Sake... For a great bottle of Sake, something you could sit with friends and revel in its taste... you may expect to spend $30-$70 dollars a bottle for that excellent taste.
I think of the cultural quirks that makes me laugh the most is the pronunciation of sake...
-come on people... its Sa-keh NOT sa-kee....
I'll have more posts on Sake in the near future... Sake and the Pool of Zen have a connection that stretches over the centuries binding Poetry and Sake through time immemorial.
Spilling on the tongue
Like a distant Lover's kiss
Spinning the room
All photo's, original works, and comments are my personal property. Please be respectful of the effort I've taken. Your comments are welcome, be polite: No throwing pebbles in my pool of zen.