June sakes ship today for Sake Gumi, our monthly sake subscription club. If you like what's on deck here, you should join!
There’s a little known secret outside the sake world: Sake + Cheese = Harmony. Before formulating the theme for Sake Gumi this month, I was fortunate enough to talk to all four of the brewers whose sakes I chose about how they enjoy their sakes... with cheese. When asking each brewer for their favorite cheese pairing there was no hesitation, each had an answer ready to go. Because sake is relatively low in acidity, it works with cheese. It’s like a great duet – each taking turns and complementing one another. Think Sonny and Cher or Rihanna and Drake.
To celebrate the theme for this month, we will be hosting Sakqueso! on June 17th at Sequoia Diner in Oakland. This event, featuring chef Casa de Kei and Hakkaisan’s Timothy Sullivan, will include a 5-course cheese-centric tasting menu, paired with three types of Hakkaisan sakes. For tickets, please go to: https://sakqueso.eventbrite.com. Remember, Sake Gumi members get $10 off per ticket!
Even if you can’t make it to our event, we hope that you will have your own Sakqueso! party at home with these sakes and tasting notes, shared amongst friends and family.
LEVEL 1: Introductory Membership (Two 300ml bottles)
Kagatobi Junmai Ginjo
Fukumitsuya Sake Brewery (Ishikawa, Japan)
On its own, Kagatobi Junmai Ginjo tastes sturdy and robust, especially for a ginjo. But to unleash its inner sexiness, it must be enjoyed with a double or triple cream brie. Kagatobi Junmai Ginjo mimics the light, but incredibly rich texture of a triple cream brie when consumed together. Many like to enjoy this sake chilled, but I encourage you to try it at room temperature.
Rihaku “Dance of Discovery” Junmai
Rihaku Shuzo (Shimane, Japan)
This junmai has a hint of smokiness and acidity, which is highlighted when paired with an aged gouda. I love sipping Rihaku Junmai with Old Amsterdam aged gouda or mimolette – I suppose the theme here is orange or aged cheeses. Drink this Rihaku Junmai chilled when pairing with cheeses. Otherwise, try the Rihaku Junmai warm with roasted meats or vegetables.
LEVEL 2: Premium Membership (Two 720ml bottles)
Chiyonosono “Sacred Power” Junmai Ginjo
Chiyonosono Shuzo (Kumamoto, Japan)
If Level 2 were a song, it’s clear that Bottle 1 represents the treble and Bottle 2 is the bass. So for this bottle of junmai ginjo, it was clear that Humboldt Fog (an ashy, tangy goat cheese) would click as a cheese pairing. As a California native with Japanese immigrant parents, I think that there is nothing more satisfying than finding a local food that pairs with a drink from the motherland. It’s the ultimate Japa-Cali pairing. Enjoy this Chiyonosono Junmai Ginjo chilled or at room temperature.
Ace Brewery (Miyagi, Japan)
Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city opens with the most scrumptious bassline in the song "Sherane," which reminds of me of this scrumptious pairing, Ichinokura Junmai and triple cream brie. The two melt into each other and pretty soon it’s hard to tell when the sake starts and the cheese begins. If life is stressing you out, grab a bottle of Ichinokura Junmai and triple cream brie, and you'll soon find hope in life and humanity restored. Drink the Ichinokura Junmai at room temperature.