Thirsty Thursday: Uehara Brewery Forest Spirit Sake Junmai Ginjo

Sake. I love it but rarely do I splurge on it.  Yet with summer’s heat, something chilled, refreshing, yet deceptively high in alcohol sounds perfect (next time Fino Sherry, I promise).

This Thirsty Thursday our glasses travel to Japan.  Uehara Brewery began in 1862 amidst upheaval in Japan. Commodore Perry had shelled Japan into trade with the US eight years prior. Centuries of Shogunate and Samurai rule were crumbling. Smelly Westerners ran rampant in the streets. Famine, unemployment, riots, and hysteric movements raged throughout: good time to start a brewery.

Seven generations later, Uehara has revived wooden barrels and presses. Their rice comes from local, sustainable farms in the sleepy, green oasis of Shiga, Japan. They polish it too 59%, avoid charcoal filters, dilution, and pasteurization (Muroka Nama Genshu): all common modern “refinements” of most sake today.


imageAppearance: looks a hazy, white quartz.

Aromas: smell pronounced yet rounded and pleasant of lilac, honeydew melon, pastry icing, fresh dough.

Palate: feels too sweet, luscious really at first, but gradually pings with candied lemon acidity, and dries out into a fine grained leather. Medium bodied.

Flavors: weave intensity and complexities so fine yet bold I fight to slow my mind down long enough to break it apart. But fresh white peach, cardamon, chamomile, a light lemon juice, sea-bleached wood, vanilla powder, and clover honey ply amongst each other. The length is medium plus.

Uehara Brewery’s Soma no Tengu “Forest Spirit” Junmai Ginjo Muroaka Namagenshu Usunigori manages is ghostly moniker with a plump, fruity yet youthful verve that completely takes me. This is outstanding stuff (5 of 5).


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