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SIO – National Sake Day Sakebrewing Event

The Urban Craze
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If you didn’t know, this past Monday on October 1st was National Sake Day, “Nihonshu no Hi”. This day is used to celebrate the start of a new brewing season of Sake. To celebrate the kick off of a new brewing season, SIO (Sake Institute of Ontario) created a small and intimate SakeBrewing Event with only 50 tickets up for sale. The event’s goal was to share with everyone a little about what sakebrewing entails and some secrets of the trade. And of course, a tasting right after to put what we have learnt to the test.
236 Adelaide St W
Toronto, ON M5H 1W7
(416) 205-9808

Michael Tremblay played host opening up the night with a quick introduction on what sake is and how it’s made. To our Kampai Toronto veteran’s who attended the seminar back in May, this was a nice refresher (If you need a refresher, check here for our Kampai Toronto article). Michael also welcomed the Export Manager for Tamanohikari Sake Brewing Co. of Kyoto, Japan, Mr. Fukui. We were quite fortunate to have a guest speaker from Japan and right here in Ontario to share their knowledge on sakebrewing. First in line was Greg Newton of Ontario Sake, also known as Izumi Sake. He shared about the whole sakebrewing process over at Ontario Sake. He even gave us a little fun fact – many processes at Ontario Sake are kept very traditional and are done by hand to produce their sake. The Koji-kin which is the “mould” they use comes in a green colour on brown rice. But not to worry, after working with this “mould” it does turn white and is removed. If you’re wondering, this is all interesting but Brian, what does this all mean when we taste the Sake? Good question, the koji-kin gives off more of a nutty flavour to the sake whereas the level of yeast used will give you that fruity/flowery flavour. The ratio between rice and koji-kin will determine the sweetness or dryness of the Sake.

TUC - Sakebrewing - Filling up quick TUC - Sakebrewing - Michael Tremblay
TUC - Sakebrewing - Greg Newton TUC - Sakebrewing - Kozaemon the 14th

A general rule: the more rice that’s used, the sweeter the sake. The more koji-kin, the dryer the sake.

Now this gets even more interesting as there are 2 different types of sake that’s offered. A Junmai is the purest form of sake without any additional alcohol that’s added after the fermentation process. Any sake with this additional alcohol, which is also known as the brewer’s alcohol cannot be called Junmai. So keeping this in mind, sometimes the cause for a sweeter type of sake may be actually be the added alcohol and nothing else. Can you imagine if you had to a blind taste test… yup, I would fail without the labels too. =P

TUC - Sakebrewing - Hakkaisan Junmai
TUC - Sakebrewing - Ontario Sake
TUC - Sakebrewing - Kozaemon Sake TUC - Sakebrewing - You's Time Sake

We also had the CEO of Nakashima Sake Kozaemon the 14th share with us what made his family-owned brewery of over 300 years a little special. Nakashima Sake is based in Gifu Japan with over 40 different types of Sake. Kozaemon shared about how his family started off the business without attending any Sake brewing schools or academies. They simply spent a lot of time thinking about how to bring that happiness that’s uniquely sake to theirs. He truly believes and has been pushing hard on how Sake can be paired with food to bring richness that truly completes the dish. Fun fact number 2, he even shared that the Aiyama rice which is a super high premium rice is so valuable that it gets sold on the black market because of its price and available. So if you find really good priced Aiyama rice, be careful.

TUC - Sakebrewing - Masaru & Koji TUC - Sakebrewing - Mariko, Vivian & Ken
TUC - Sakebrewing - Masumi Karakuchi Sake TUC - Sakebrewing - Enjoying Yuzu no Hana Catering

Overall, the Sakebrewing and Tasting Event held by SIO was really informative. I’m the furthest thing from a sake expert, and I had a good time. SIO is really here to help raise the awareness and educate us what Sake is all about. Not only did they do it, but they continue to bring that happiness that’s uniquely sake to all their events. With delicious light catering by Yuzu no Hana, what can one possibly complain about? We here are TUC can’t wait for the next event by SIO, we’re here for the long haul… one sake at a time. =P

The Damage: $40/Ticket

About the author


best possible description of Brian: Works wayy too hard, but enjoys the simple things in life with a passion to give back to the community. He's interested in how things are started up and believes there are a ton of hidden gems within and just outside the city. Last but not least, continually grateful for all that has happened... the good and the bad. Cause honestly, we're more than blessed.

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