A Selection of 5 Newly Brewed Sakes
Hello there! another delicious sake season is upon us- here at KURAND SAKE MARKET the new sake has already started to hit the fridges.
For many people the term new brew might be quite alien. What on earth is it and isn’t sake made all year round? is there such a thing as new and old?
Fear not for I shall attempt to explain.
New Brew = New Sake?
Pop into a sake shop and you will no doubt see sake marked as new brews and little notices attached to the bottles that read something along the lines of: XX brewery’s new sake in stock. In the case of new brews, what you see is what you get: newly brewed sake.
That being said, is there a way to know when it was newly brewed?
An accurate definition would in fact be sake which has been “produced and shipped within the brewing year”.
There Is a Punctuation Mark in the Sake Brewing Season.
The term brewing year in sake-making terms is effectively a way of punctuating the brewing season and points in particular to the period from July 1st of one year, to 30th June of the next. In Japanese it is called the Shuzonendo, marked on the sake labels by the abbreviation BY.
For example, if the label is marked with 25BY (2013), it means the sake was made during the period July 2013 to June 2014.
Sake is usually brewed between October of one year to March of the next so nearly all sake brewed in 2014 would actually be marked 25BY.
If we were to explain the meaning of new brew based on this interpretation of brewing year, then it is self explanatory that it refers to sake that has been produced between October and March and shipped before June.
Anyone Who Likes Their Sake Fresh and Vivacious Is Recommended To Try a New Brew!
If we were to sum up the characteristics of a new brew in one word, we could use the word ‘fresh’. At the end of the day, we are talking about sake that has is freshly pressed, freshly bottled so you might even call it vivacious or youthful. On the other hand, roughness and off flavours are also characteristic.
Over time, the edges fade and the flavour transforms into a milder child; putting in the fridge and having fun with this transformation is just one of the ways to enjoy new brews.
KURAND SAKE MARKET Will Also See The Arrival of Many a New Brew!
So there you have it, a new brew is a sake with a fresh feel that has been “produced and shipped within the brewing year”. Every KURAND SAKE MARKET branch is stocked with freshly brewed new brews. All of which are procured directly from the breweries so they really are new in every sense of the word. Allow me to share a section of the menu with you.
(All of these are available to compare at your leisure)
Kamisugi New Brew Honjozo Muroka
Aichi Prefecture, Kamisugi Brewery. A regional sake bursting with the unique flavour of rice and water from Anjo. There is an insistence on using raw ingredients that have been sourced from within eyeshot. That lettering on the front label, which reads ‘freshly pressed’, is really powerful don’t you think. Freshly pressed and new brew are almost synonyms.
Miyoshikiku (3 scented chrysanthemums) Awanami Yamada Nishiki Shiboritate Tokubetsu Junmai Genshu
Tokushima Prefecture, Miyoshikiku Brewery! Brewing the sake of today, a type of flavour that is new to everyone. Their focus is on not just the flavour and aroma, but the harmony of the water and alcohol and from that creating something that doesn’t feel alcoholic. Recommended for people who are not so used to drinking sake. The label itself gives off a “I am not just anyone” sort of aura.
Fukunishiki Junmai Shiboritate Nama Genshu
Hyogo Prefecture, Fukunishiki Brewery. 20 years of junmai-only brewing. Banshu sake that conveys the umami qualities of the rice. A prominently strong flavour in the KURAND SAKE MARKET lineup, a very manly masculine sake!
Marushi Masamune Shiboritate
Tokyo, Koyama Brewery. The only remaining brewery in Tokyo’s 23 wards, this is a must-try Edo sake. A new brew made in Tokyo— just in, this is the embodiment of freshness. You might be thinking that sake is all about regionality; well just feel Tokyo’s potential.
Chiyo No Kame (Ancient Turtle) Junmai Shiboritate
Ehime prefecture, Chiyo No Kame Brewery. ‘Life-focused sake brewing, brewing that isn’t possible anywhere else’. Generally speaking, sake that is produced by a cheerful and energetic brewery is bound to make the drinker feel the same way! — the brewers certainly are an energetic bunch……! ’KURAND SAKE MARKET always comes alive whenever Chiyo no Kame is around.
Well, that abouts wraps up my explanation of ‘new brews’.
Every year, around this time, we receive an update from the breweries about their new brews. To receive the announcement: “The new brews are ready!” is always a special event and is the sake proprietor’s unique way of tasting the seasons.
Everyone, be sure to try new brew sake before the season ends!
Shinshu = （新酒）New brew
Shiboritate = （しぼりたて）Freshly pressed
Shuzonendo (酒造年度) = Brewing year / BY (July of one year to June the next)
Muroka = Unfiltered (see this article)
Nama = Unpasteurised
Junmai = Sake made with only 3 main ingredients: rice, water and koji (no added alcohol / fortification).
Tokubetsu Junmai : A junmai with a special quality such as a high rice polishing ratio.
Edo = Old name for Tokyo (if something is old Tokyo, it tends to get referred to as Edo)
Honjozo = Sake made with a little added brewer’s alcohol (fortification) and with a minimum rice polishing ratio of 70%.
Yamada Nishiki = The king of sake brewing rice famed for its elegant feminine flavour.
Banshu = An area of Hyogo Prefecture where some of the best Yamada Nishiki is grown.