Tag Archives: Suruga Brewery

Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Suruga Brewery-Tenko Junmai Dai Ginjo Muroka Genshu (conducted at la Sommeliere in Shizuoka City)


I don’t mind repeating it all the time but I prefer conducting sake tastings in the right environment but not many places are propitious for that exercise or willing to help.
But La Sommeliere in Miyuki Cho, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City is certainly becoming a habit as not only I can conduct my tasting in the best conditions possible but also exchange views at the same time!


This time we tasted a nectar brewed by an increasingly popular Suruga Brewery (Shizuoka City) which is already a lot of attention throughout Japan despite its very short history!


“Tenko/Heavens Rainbow” Junmai (no pure sake alcohol blended in) Daiginjo Muroka (unfiltered) Genshu (no pure water added)!


Rice: Yamada Nishiki (Hyogo Prefecture)
Rice milled down to 40%
Dryness: + 2
Acidity: 1.2
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees
Bottled in December 2015


Clarity: very clear
Color: light gold
Aroma: dry and very fruity.
Pears, banana, custard, chestnuts, young coconuts, green melon
Body: fluid, almost sirupy
Taste: dry and fruity attack backed with puissant junmai petillant.
Complex: custard, cream soda, banana, yogurt.
Always seems to reach the brink of sweetness without reaching it.
Lingers on for a short while before departing on a slightly drier note of custard, oranges and faint almonds.
Will become markedly drier with salty foods.

Overall: Very rich sake if there were such a term!
Both elegant and very satisfying.
Very fruity and sweetish at first but beautifully counterbalanced with swift, but in the right amount, acidity.
Could definitely be used as a superlative dessert wine!
Suggested pairings: Blue cheese!


420-0857 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Miyuki Cho, 7-5, Aiseido Bldg, 1F
Tel. & Fax: 054-266-5085
Opening hours: 11:00~22:00, 12:00~18:00 on Sundays & National Holidays
FACEBOOK (Japanese)
Entirely non-smoking!


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Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Suruga Brewery: The Newest Brewery In Shizuoka Prefecture!

Takahiro Nagashima/長島隆弘 of Nagashima Sake Shop and Daigo Hagiwara/萩原大吾 of Suruga Brewery

I finally found the occasion to pay a long delayed visit to the newest Sake Brewery In Shizuoka Prefecture (and probably in Japan!): Suruga Brewery/駿河酒造!

Tenkou/天虹/”Heaven’s Rainbow”, Suruga Brewery’s representative brand!

My good friend Takahiro Nagashima of Saketen was on hand as he had wanted to visit and deal with Suruga Brewery the very moment they arrived in Shizuoka City!

Delivery truck formerly owned by Yoshiya Brewery.

Suruga Brewery may have a short history but it has been a pretty eventful one!

Haginishiki Brewery of old times!

It all started in 2006 when some members of the family owning the Haginishiki Brewery in Shizuoka City decided to separate themselves form the old brewery to create the new one.

Chumasa sake casks from the defunct Yoshiya Brewery

So they first moved to Kakegawa City where they started brewing their own brands at the former Sogatsuru Brewery which had laid dormant for 10 years.

Hagi No Kura Brand flag

They produced brands such as Hagi nO kura, Sogatsuru and Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura. Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura was the official name of the “new” brewery then.

Equipment from the defunct Yoshiya Brewery

One cannot start a new sake brewery with a new license in Japan.
The only way you produce your own brand of sake is either to obtain the collaboration of another brewery or to buy the license of a brewery.

More equipment from the defunct Yoshiya Brewery

They brewed their sake under the name of Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery until 2009.
Then in 2010, Yoshiya Brewery in Shizuoka City decided to stop their activities.

Press from Yoshiya Brewery

They then were able to buy Yoshiya Brewery’s license and call themselves Suruga Brewery.
Not only did they buy the license but also all the unsold sake and equipment from Yoshiya Brewery!

Tanks from Yoshiya Brewery

Sake brewery equipment is hard to make and obtain, and terribly expensive, so buying a defunct brewery’s equipment is quite common in Japan.

Another view from the outside

But they moved to their present address in Shizuoka City only last year.

Chumasa brand

I was personally extremely happy to learn and verify that they kept the names Yoshiya Brewery’s sake brands, Chumasa, Onigoroshi and Abekaido in their own range of labels headed by their representative brand name, Tenkou.

Entrance to the koji muro/麹室

Now, the family branch who decided to go alone also possessed land and a supermarket in Nishiwaki, Suruga Ku (hence the new name of the brewery) in Shizuoka City.
They just transformed the supermarket into a very efficient, cost-saving brewery!

Inside the koji muro

They had their own well dug 50 meters deep into the Abe River subterranean bed. This water is top-class for sake even that deep inside a city!

Modern temperature regulator

The brewmaster/杜氏 at Suruga Brewery is Mr. Kazumo Kobayashi/小林一雲 (39) of NaganoPrefecture and of the Nanbu Brewmasters School who brew the sake with his team of three “kurabito/helpers”.

New tanks/oke/桶

The present yearly production is of 350 goku/石/about 63,000 liters.

Having a peak at premium sake ready to be pressed!

The shikomi/actual brewing is done in two stages, in November~December, and then again in March~April.

Modern tanks where fermenting is being conducted

Apart of the brewing personnel who reside in the brewery only during the brewing, Suruga Brewery, Daigo Hagiwara, who represents the 3rd generation, employs 4 full staff and 2 part-timers.

It’s brewing!

One cannot escape the manual work, however modern a brewery might be!

They still keep reminding themselves of their new name!

The Abekaido Brand!

Mr. Hirai, the accountant and jack of all trades!

A treasure trove of old and very old sake!

Their best and most expensive sake!

Don’t worry, I’ll start tasting reports soon!

Suruga Brewery
422-8044 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Suruga Ku, Nishiwaki, 923
Tel.: 054-281-1331
Fax: 054-251-1475

Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
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