Saturday, November 15, 2008

11/2/08: Day 3 in Japan Part I - Tenju Brewery

After a festive evening, I staggered my way to Tenju Brewery for the guided tour.


Impressive sign awaits the guests.

Machine to polish rice (seimai-ki). Tenju feels that having their own polishing machine is necessity to achieve desired precision in milling.

Traditional steaming machine.

Poster illustrating flour yeast. Of these types, Tenju uses "Nadeshiko" (ND-4). ND-4 provides soft and fruity aroma to the saké.

Most of the steaming is done through this machine. The result is rice that is chewy in the inside and hard on the outside, an ideal condition for making saké. Tenju's philosophy is to keep with the tradition while incorporating necessary technology that would best allow brewers to make saké.

Various tanks for yeast starter, fermentation, and aging.

Family crest decorated in the brewery.

After the tour, we were off to the conference room for some saké talk and of course, tasting. This is one of the items displayed in the conference room.

Although last night's festivities lingered, I couldn't pass up the tasting. The following were tasted: fruity "Hiyaoroshi" nama, sherry-like organic Junmai Ginjo, intense Daiginjo made from Miyamanishiki, and soft and round Junmai Daiginjo made from Akita Komachi.

To grow the rice to make organic saké, they enlist help of ducklings. As the ducklings swim, the disturbance create conditions that makes it difficult for weeds to grow.

After the tasting, we were treated to Akita speciality "Inaniwa Udon" for lunch. Due to last night's festivities, I could only finish half. A real tragedy indeed...

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