Curbside Pickup

Sake Gumi Celebrating Hiroshima August 2017Every year, August is a time for reflection. As a Japanese-American (and as a human) it is a time to reflect upon the events of August 6, 1945, when the American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, dropped the world’s first atom bomb over the city of Hiroshima.

My first trip to Hiroshima was a revelation. The wide-open streets and greenery were a welcome contrast to the concrete jungle that is Tokyo. Full of historical museums, memorials, public art, and culture, Hiroshima is one of my favorite cities in the world. It's a city that is aware of its history but isn't tied down by it. I encourage anyone who visits Japan to make a stop in Hiroshima. It is easily accessible by bullet train.

The food culture is rich with regional dishes like Hiroshima okonomiyaki and tsukemen. Hiroshima is also the number one oyster producing prefecture in Japan. Their sakes often have a slightly sweet entrance and Perrier-like ending which is an ideal pairing for oysters and shellfish.

Hiroshima is said to be the birthplace of ginjo, where water is very soft, so sake has to be fermented at a lower temperature for longer. This discovery of using ginjo yeast and fermenting at a lower temperature for longer is credited to a Hiroshima brewer named Senzaburo Miura (1847-1908). Two of the three sakes this month are ginjo sakes. So pop open a bottle and experience Hiroshima through the fruity ginjos and the bold tokubetsu junmais offered to both levels!

August is also a time for celebration.

It's been five years since Kayoko and I opened the doors to Umami Mart in Oakland. On August 3, 2012, we took a chance and opened a shop "Celebrating Drinks, Design + Japan." Since then, we throw a party every August to celebrate how thankful we are to still be here in the company of so many people who showed up to our first party, and for the newcomers who continue to discover Umami Mart today.

Kanpai!
Yoko

LEVEL 1: Introductory Membership (Two 300ml bottles)

Sake Gumi Celebrating Hiroshima August 2017Fukucho “Biho” Junmai Ginjo
Imada Sake Brewing Co. (Hiroshima, Japan)

Seimaibuai: 60%, SMV: +3

Imada Sake Brewing is located in Akitsu, Hiroshima, where Senzaburo Miura discovered ginjo sake in the late 1800s. An excellent example of Hiroshima ginjo sake, Biho has a minerally aroma of grape skins and Granny Smith apples. It is creamy upon entry and ends with a long, complex finish and a hint of ginger ale. This semi-dry, fruity, fragrant brew is best cold with shellfish like squid, oysters, or mussels with a squeeze of lemon and handful of parsley.


Sake Gumi Celebrating Hiroshima August 2017Kamotsuru “Noble Crane” Tokubetsu Junmai Genshu 
Kamotsuru Sake Brewing Co. (Hiroshima, Japan)
Seimaibuai: 60%, SMV: +3

A Hiroshima sake made especially for Americans, this sake is unique because it is a sake using the fruity ginjo yeast (no. 9) that pairs well with flavors that are common in dishes enjoyed in the U.S. – tomato sauces and salty foods like blue cheese or salami. This is a genshu, meaning it’s undiluted with water. With a 17% ABV, it’s bold and rich, and you will taste the alcohol. You can enjoy this fragrant sake full of nectarines and blackberries chilled, but to savor its dry finish, try at room temperature or slightly warm. Cheers to the continued friendship between Hiroshima and America.

LEVEL 2: Premium Membership (Two 720ml bottles)

Sake Gumi Celebrating Hiroshima August 2017Maboroshi “Mystery” Junmai Ginjo 
Nakao Brewery (Hiroshima, Japan))
Seimaibuai: 58%, SMV: +3

Take in the bouquet of berries and bread for this junmai ginjo. Ginjo yeast is known for its fruity qualities and this sake not only has aromas of bing cherries and cranberries but also of pie crust. I like the slight weightiness of this sake that has a minerally, creamy mouthfeel and a natural sweetness. It has a spicy, earthy ending thanks to Hiroshima Hattan Nishiki rice used to brew this sake. Sip this sake chilled alongside an arugula salad dressed in vinaigrette or with oysters and a squeeze of lemon.

Sake Gumi Celebrating Hiroshima August 2017Kamotsuru “Noble Crane” Tokubetsu Junmai Genshu 
Kamotsuru Sake Brewing Co. (Hiroshima, Japan)
Seimaibuai: 60%, SMV: +3

A Hiroshima sake made especially for Americans, this sake is unique because it is a sake using the fruity ginjo yeast (no. 9) that pairs well with flavors that are common in dishes enjoyed in the US – tomato sauces and salty foods like blue cheese or salami. This is a genshu, meaning it’s undiluted with water. With a 17% ABV, it’s bold and rich, and you will taste the alcohol. You can enjoy this fragrant sake full of nectarines and blackberries chilled, but to savor its dry finish, try at room temperature or slightly warm. Cheers to the continued friendship between Hiroshima and America.