Posts Tagged ‘sake’

A miracle occurred this weekend! My husband had the entire weekend off! We decided to take advantage of that and head north to Petrified Forest National Park. As we headed up, both in direction and elevation, we finally reached this view and a temperature of 50F. We were wearing jackets. Color me excited!!

The closest town to Petrified Forest is Holbrook, Arizona, railroad and Route 66 town, which is now a sake destination. Sound unreal? It does but it’s also true. Atsuo Sakurai worked his way up from cleaning floors and other chores to first-grade master sake brewer in Japan. But sake brewing licenses are scarce there and he and his Navajo wife Heather moved to the US, eventually ending in Holbrook to be near her family. I’d read an article about him and his brewery in Arizona Highways but had forgotten about it until I was searching for things to see/do near Holbrook. We decided the chance to taste internationally recognized sake was too good to pass up.

From a start in their garage, Atsuo eventually opened a small business where his junmai gingo won a gold medal as the best sake produced outside of Japan. That’s a serious honor. He also won best sake in the Los Angeles International Wine Competition.

Do read the Smithsonian article. It’s really interesting and worth the time.

Here is rice fermenting.

I called on Friday to ask if we could meet him for a tour and tasting and he agreed. The tour doesn’t take long and we tasted all five sakes. The large bottle in the middle is the original award-winning one, the others riffs on that. From left to right: Desert Snow (unfiltered), Herbs and Bitters, the original Junmai Ginjo, Prickly Pear, and Navajo Native tea (a suggestion from his father-in-law.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried sake but based on my experience I expect at least a bit of bite. Was I wrong! Every one was smooth and delicious. We ended up buying one of each and plan on a family sake tasting or two at Christmas when everyone’s here. So not only was it was wonderful story, the end result was delicious. Win-win.

It was a great start to our day. Now it was time to head for Petrified Forest.