Friday, February 12, 2010

Central Bottle: Ichishima Saké Tasting

At Central Bottle, Thursday evenings are usually their weekly Wine Bar. I was there last evening and a number of people came in seeking a glass of wine, yet there was no wine to be had. Obviously, these people did not read their emails or check the Central Bottle calendar because last night was actually a Saké Bar! Fortunately, most people were willing to try some Saké, and they seemed surprised when they enjoyed it.

Michael Simkin, a Saké expert and pictured above, led a tasting of four excellent brews from the Ichishima Brewery. I had the pleaure to meet Michael previously, as well as to taste through the Ichishima line-up. It was great to see him once again, and to chat about Saké. He is very personable and extremely knowledgeable, a fine Saké ambassador.

The Ichishima Brewery is located in the Niigata Prefecture of Japan. Ichishima was founded around 1790 A.D. and has been owned by the same family continuously. Ichishima is also famous for being the first brewery to have licensed female toji, brew masters. They first began employing women in 1965 and the first woman was licensed as a toji in 1976.

The four Ichishima Sakés, included the Honjozo, Junmai, Junmai Genshu and the Silk Deluxe Junmai. You can read my prior post for some tasting notes. Michael's favorite everyday Saké is the Honjozo, and the Honjozo had done very well at the Saké I recently led.

Central Bottle had some special treats for the evening, including tuna sashimi and seasame soba noodles, both which were quite tasty. Two of the items they served, the edamame and soba noodles, are considered local foods in Niigata, and are supposed to pair well with Niigata Saké. I also had a tart, with prosciutto and parmesan, which paired very with the Junmai. Saké pairs well with many foods besides Japanese cuisine.

I was most pleased to see the other attendees, many who seemed to know little about Saké, finding that they enjoyed the fine brew. I am glad they were willing to try it, especially as so many people have misguided perceptions about Saké. Central Bottle will carry these fours Sakés, and may add more in the future. Why not stop by and take a chance on some Saké?

I should mention some other good news related to Central Bottle. The third outlet of Flour Bakery is planning to move next door to Central Bottle, which will give you even more reason to stop there.


npixie said...

Hi there - great post. I love sake tastings and am always looking for more. How much did central bottle's sake tasting cost?

Richard Auffrey said...

The tasting was free.