Monday, January 19, 2009

11/6/08: Day 7 in Japan Part I - Visiting Eiko Fuji Brewery

Shortly after emerging from my morning onsen session, I was greeted by Kato-san from Eiko Fuji Brewery. Although Eiko Fuji is a recent entrant in the NY market, it is one of my favorites.

We arrived at Eiko Fuji after driving 30 minutes northwest towards Shonai Airport. Greeting us was an building from different generation.

As I needed to head to Tokyo by afternoon, I was pressed for time. Upon arriving, Kato-san took me on the tour of the premises. The steamer was the first stop, right by the entrance.

The brewery is spacious to a point where Kato-san kept saying that Eiko Fuji is not the most efficient operation. Thus, brewers had to run to koji room before rice cooled off. Located right next to the koji room is Yabuta press.

Fermentation tanks.

Storage tanks.

More sets of fermentation tanks.

Machine for labelling bottles.

Area for bottle storage.

After the tour, I was guided to the guest room. There was a bottle display right by the entrance; the "Ari Kato" labels on the right is for exclusive distribution in Japan.

There is an old brewery sign displayed in the first tatami room.

In the second room, I noticed a nice room divider with gold fan motif.

For this tasting, Kato-san prepared four selections: traditionally styled Banryu Honjozo, mellow yet clean "Jungetsu" Junmai, clean and dry "Shinki" Junmai Ginjo, and highly aromatic and deep "Kozakaya No Hitoriyogari" Daiginjo. The only regret was that I wasn't able to enjoy a long drink with Kato-san.

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