Oh the things you learn when a 4th generation Japanese sake brewer visits Williamsburg. For instance: they have to cultivate koji mold on the rice before fermenting it, and this happens through a choreographed dance-like sprinking of the mold at Dassai Sake in Yamaguchi.
Kazuhiro Sakurai from Dassai was kind enough to fly from Japan and teach a class here last month, and he brought his premium sakes for us to try. (A little Grady’s cold brew coffee took care of his jet lag.) He also brought Timothy Sullivan, an American sake expert who gave us a pretty great ’101′ speech on how the drink is made and what life is like at the Dassai brewery. It’s an artisan operation, down to the paper wrapping on the bottle.
We got a little crazy and paired the sake with unusual bites, and Chef Mori from Kyoya made some incredible marinated fish with a sake lees sauce. Our pairing notes are below with cheeses and meats we sell at the store. The number refers to the amount of rice that remains after the polishing, so 23% sake is considered super high end stuff because so much of the husk has been milled away. We served the sakes chilled, or close to room temp. Not hot ’cause this stuff is too good.
Thanks to ©Kenji Takigami for sharing his beautiful photos. And here are a few more pics posted by Timothy at Urban Sake.
BROOKLYN KITCHEN SAKE PAIRING
Dassai 50 Junmai Daiginjo Sparkling Nigori
Mount Tam Cheese, Cowgirl Creamery, Vermont
House Ham, The Meat Hook, Brooklyn
Dassai 23 Junmai Daiginjo
Prairie Breeze Cheese, Milton Creamery, Iowa
Wild Blueberry Jam, Lost Loon, Maine
House Lamb Bacon, The Meat Hook, Brooklyn
Dassai 39 Junmai Daiginjo
Tarentaise Cheese, Spring Brook Farm, Vermont
OG Beef Jerky, The Meat Hook, Brooklyn
House Roast Beef, The Meat Hook, Brooklyn
Dassai 50 Junmai Daiginjo
Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese, Jasper Hill, Vermont
Oil-Cured Olives with Chilis
Big Hooker, The Meat Hook, Brooklyn