In this episode, I am talking to Tom Wilson, a master brewer and owner of the first UK sake brewery, Kanpai London. Kanpai represents a modern approach to sake brewing but follows the same philosophy as most brewers in Japan for hundreds of years: to make the best possible sake.
Sake is not a very easy topic. If you want to understand it well, you need to do some studying. You can buy a book or two about sake and read them. You can go to sake events and probably join a sake promoting organisation such as the British Sake Association. Finally, you can go to a sake course and get a sake qualification. My guest for this episode, Marie Cheong-Thong, a certified WSET sake, wine and spirits educator, freelance writer and the Chairman of the British Sake Association among other titles, is talking about all these options as well as about plenty of other sake related topics.
How sake brewing was evolving during the Edo period: technological innovations, the end of all-season brewing and why the kimoto method, which is not only about yamaoroshi!
In this episode of Sugidama Podcast I am talking to Nancy Matsumoto and Michael Tremblay about their new amazing book Exploring the World of Japanese Craft Sake. How the book was conceived, how it is to write a book together, the key points, discoveries and people. Listen to our conversation and buy the book! It's a joy to read.
Soboshu, the sake brewed by monks played a very important role in the development of sake brewing techniques in medieval Japan. The monasteries possessed many key components necessary for successful sake-making: economic power, skilled labour force, scientific knowledge and strong political clout. However, it all was ended by Oda Nobunaga, who saw temples as a threat to his rule.
There are many pleasures in sake you start appreciating only with time. When your first aha moment has passed and you went through the ginjo stage, you start looking beyond your comfort zone. There are many types of sake that you start discovering: nigori, junmai, koshu. But namazake is probably the most exciting discovery you make. It still has this whiff of exclusivity despite refrigerator trucks and sake fridges.
The new interview with Naoki Toyota and Tracey Delaney from The Sparkling Sake Brewery based in Cambridgeshire. Inspired by nature, Naoki went to study sake brewing in Nara, the birthplace of Japanese sake. After returning to the UK, he went on the mission to create the sake, which would express the beauty of UK nature.
The second part of the Emergence of Sake mini-series focuses on the introduction of koji into sake brewing, sake at the Imperial COurt during the Nara period and Soboshu, the sake brewed by monks.
This episode wasn't planned initially. I was going to write a short article about HIS Japan Premium, a new Japanese grocery and sake shop recently opened by a large Japanese travel company in Central London. However, the conversation with John Opondo, who is Managing Director of HIS Europe and Masahiro Tsuji, HIS Business Development Manager, turned out so interesting that I decided that I am not going to waste the great material and turned it into a podcast episode. Unfortunately, the sound quality is not that great, which I hope is compensated by John's optimism and charisma. Enjoy! Also please note that I am going to be at HIS Japan Premium on March 31 at Nomikai: Japanese Sake Experience Event. The link to Eventbrite where you can get tickets is in the episode show notes. I hope to see some of my listeners at the event! Kampai!
This episode is the beginning of a mini-series about the emergence of sake as a national drink of Japan. It covers the period from ancient times until the first mention of the sake brewed with koji mould.