Sake Talk Anyone?

The female driven movement of sake in general in Japan is super strong, and this is something the article hasn’t focused on. One of my female friends is deep into the sake world there and has personal relationships with many breweries, writes numerous articles, hosts lectures, and is ambassador for several breweries (e.g. trade shows, tastings) and even has experience as a sake bar hostess pouring for customers (for hire). She (and quite a few others like her) are helping to promote sake, awareness, culture, history just within Japan and for one person doing all aspects aforementioned (not all at once) is amazing.

It’s also because females over there are better at networking/socializing and building interpersonal relationships on a more emotional level, and perhaps tell better stories for sake evangelism. Guys approach this differently, sometimes it works sometimes not as much. Of course for those that use what god gave them attract a large male social media followings (some pretend to be sake geeks but aren’t of course, but that’s how it is). Whatever helps bring people to the (sake) table.

The current master brewer of Hakurakusei (Niizawa Brewery’s younger label), Miyagi prefecture…she is about 23 years old, I believe.

Finally tasting a DEN Sake. Wow. I can’t compare to previous batches, but batch 8 is insanely complex. I get such strong notes of menthol and melon, followed by mushrooms, rice, and so so much umami. It’s a bit sweet and juicy but finishes off really clean. I’m also tasting this out of my newly acquired Riedel Junmai Gingo Glass which I must say, is pretty awesome! I can’t say if it makes a difference in the sake yet, but I much prefer it over a small o-choko when I’m drinking at home. kanpai!


Did you find this in LA?

No, I bought it on true sake. Their customer service btw is great.

#8 is definitely better out of a smaller / thinner glass, like a Chardonnay. The Riedel Junmai gives it more aroma, umami and volume but shortens the finish a lot, especially with Den. #7 was really good but #8 has a bit better mid palate and dryer finish.

1 Like

Hi Sake Lovers!

Questions: I’m sure we’ve had these discussions already, but…

  1. Is the reason you like wine glasses for sake because like with wine they bring more air and open it up?
  2. Is it the wider mouth or the bigger bowl or both?
  3. If you only bought one type of glass at home for sake what would it be?
  4. What do you think of the glasses in the swag bag from KanpaiLA?



Smaller shorter sake cups designed for easy sipping have all the flavors concentrated in a smaller surface area, so you won’t get as much aromas on the smell, whereas in a wine glass you have more surface area and exposure to air. This is especially true for sake that has been aged some time and need some aeration (usually it’s those aged for at least a year or more in low temperature), it’s a similar reasoning with aged Burgundies, except you don’t want to let it sit for so long (and you don’t need to decant sake).

The drinking experience in a glass really depends on the way the sake is built, and even factors such as inconsistency of the same bottle (e.g. let’s say you drink the same sake twice across 1 month or two in the same) could cause some minor changes for the better or worse.

If you use a wider mouthed glass you run the risk of shortening the finish (if that’s important to you) depending on what that sake is. Some sake need a wider glass for a better experience. You also have to consider what you are eating with as the end result of what you drink from what glass at whatever moment will affect the pairing (good or bad).

Some sake work nicely with Burgundy glass, pinot noir glass, and in general a Chardonnay glass would work overall for most.


Helpful @beefnoguy.

  1. Short cups for flavor, not the full experience of aroma, flavor, finish. It depends on what you want from your tasting experience.
  2. Chardonnay glass works overall.

I looked at a wine glass chart - the KanpaiLA glass is small but not too far-off from the chardonnay glass shape, maybe looks more like the port & riesling glasses, but I’m not picky.


1 Like

Website is a bit of a mess:


“It’s been a while since we’ve seen ElsieDee”…and we missed her!!!

1 Like

The Kanpai LA guys posted a story on Instagram.
It was a save-the-date for Kanpai LA “Spring Edition” 4/18/2020.


It must’ve really been a success. They’re not even waiting a year.

The black bottle Kaze No Mori nama junmai muroka nama genshu should be appearing on the market in California soon (depending on who ordered it). Still waiting for KNM Alpha 3…

Den Sake Brewery #9 is out. It’s very good, although still drinking rather young. Some grape notes and aromas, and finishing like a dry Yamagata sake, although not a sake you want to let sit out too long in your glass. Might be interesting to see how it evolves with some aging.

Denshu (Tokubetsu Junmai)…I’m very disturbed at the change in quality last few bottles I had this past year. More astringency, tartness, and bitterness…and what made it brilliant for its earthy/grassy aromas is missing…and instead a bit more fruit on the front which is very unusual… really sad.


Interesting about Denshu…

I don’t know why I have never mentioned them, but Bar Uerukamu (“Welcome”) in Lake Balboa should be on every Valley-based sake lover’s radar. They just posted a shot of the Kaze no Mori Black Label that @beefnoguy mentioned.

Bar Uerukamu is owned by husband & wife team, Chiaki and Jun. Chiaki oversees front of house on most nights and is a sake expert and even a sake documentary film maker! She produced Kampai! For the Love of Sake ( and its follow-up Kampai! Sake Sisters ( Let her guide you through their menu and pairings and you are sure to have a great time while enjoying Jun’s home-y, comforting dishes.


I just saw that Ototo received the Alpha 3

That’s awesome! Thanks for spotlighting this place. Never heard of it and im 15 min away.

1 Like

Very cool thanks for the update! SF True Sake doesn’t have Alpha 3 yet, but is expecting the KNM black.

I’m thinking of doing a tasting between all three variants of the Kazu no Mori between 5 people.
Would you recommend pairing food or would that make it harder to notice the differences between each sake?

I always do my own sake themed tastings at a local favorite izakaya, so I could try pairing each one with a wider variety of food to see what the best matches are. It’s trial and error…and also you won’t get hammered (or buzzed) as quickly and can pace yourselves. If you are referring to the two Kaze No Mori and the KNM Alpha 3, I would suggest KNM Alpha 3 first, and taste in the order of light to heavy, but you don’t have to strictly follow that.

I would order appetizers like salad, nibbles that go great with sake, sashimi (fatty fish, chutoro, and lighter flavored white fish if available) maybe some cheese or cheese based food (some strong cheese is always fun), salt grilled fish, yakitori (both salt and sauce/tare), and some other grilled protein (beef tongue, pork or pork cheeks or braised pork belly), something stewed or braised, shellfish (any prep, even oysters), maybe fried chicken or tempura of some sort, and feel free to order heavier flavored American sushi rolls for fun. That covers a lot of pairing ground already.

Or it doesn’t have to be Japanese. You could go for American BBQ, Korean BBQ (actually quite a splendid idea as you have similar preps and profiles to izakaya in those soon dubu’s, kalbi BBQ, seafood pancake, and maybe even something spicy as those muroka nama genshu’s could take a bit of heat).