Shizuoka Sake Tasting 11/1~13: Hatsukame Brewery


Hatsukame Brewery/Futsushu

Sake can be truly extravagant in Shizuoka Prefecture, when you realize that futsushu/regular sake accounts for only 18% of its total production as compared to over 60% nationwide.
Not only this but futsushu made here uses rice that has been polished down to 70% and even less!

Hatsukame Brewery/Futsushu
Rice milled down to 65%

Clarity: very clear
Color: transparent
Aroma: discreet, fruity, almonds, nuts
Body: velvety
Taste: Sweetish attack. Shortish tail. Fruity: almonds, nuts, bitter chocolate.
Keeps well with any food.
Overall: Pleasant on the palate and tongue. Eminently drinkable.
Simply extravagant for a futsushu.
Great with food. Drinks up very quickly.
Can be savoured chilled, at room temperature or lukewarm (« nurukan »).
Certainly qualify for more than as futsushu/regular.
Hatsukame Honjozo Muroka Nama Genshu

Hatsukame Brewery is the oldest one in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Originally founded in Shizuoka City in the first half of the 17th Century, it moved to its present location in Okabe between Shizuoka City and Yaizu City during the Meiji Era.
It has also becomethe repository of sake history in Shizuoka Prefecture,thanks to its present owner, an ardent archivist!

Hatsukame Brewery

Honjozo, Muroka (unfiltered), Nama (unpasteurized), Genshu (unaltered)

Rice milled down to 63%
Dryness: +6.0
Acidity: 1.7
Alcohol: 18~19 degrees
Bottled on March 5th, 2009

Clarity: very clear
Colour: Light golden tinge
Aroma: Strong, sweetish, fruity, bananas
Body: velevety
Taste: Strong attack. Complex. Shortish tail.
Nice alcohol influence. Dry and fruity: banana, coffee beans, pineapple.
Turns drier with food.
Take a trun for a dry road with the second glass with almonds and more coffee beans.

Overall: A strong and complex sake, which takes you by surprise.
Great with any food!
Kamemaru Junmai Ginjo Gohakumangaku 100%

Hatsukame Brewery in Okabe Cho has a new young Masterbrewer of the Noto School after the retirement of his predecessor, of the Noto School too. Not only this new toji is good, he also happens to be comparatively young and eligible. I shan’t be surprised if he married one of the owner’s three daughters soon!

Hatsukame Brewery: « Kame Maru » Junmai Ginjo Nama (unpasteurized)
Rice: Gohyakumangoku (Toyama Prefecture) 100%
Rice milled down to 50%
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Dryness: +0 (sweet by Shizuoka standards)
Acidity: 1.4
Bottled in January 2009

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Transparent
Aroma: Powerful and sweet. Complex and fruity: banana, vanilla, pineapple, cherries, kumquat.
Body: Velvety
Taste: Well-rounded attack. Shortish tail. Junmai and nama combine into a pleasant tingle in the back of the mouth.
Fruity: bananas, almonds.
Sweetish at first. Ends up with pleasant dry finish.
Stands well to food.

Overall: Typical sake from Hatsukame Brewery.
Sweetish for shizuoka. Very nice and complex.
The type of sake you can drink chilled, or at room temperature with food.
Very elegant in spite of its sweetness.
Calls for another sip!
Junmai Ginjo Kamemaru

I’ve always entertained a special love for Hatsukame Brewery’s creations and quaint retro labels.
They have the healthy habit of regularly coming up with new experiments, proving their courage in these gloomy economic times!
Incidentally, the Brewery will have to change its address soon as Okabe Cho will become part of Fujieda City soon!

Hatsukame Brewery: Junmai Ginjo Kamemaru

Rice: Hyakumagoku 100%
Rice milled down to 50%
Acidity: 1.5
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled in October 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Light golden tinge
Aroma: Fruity, liquorice, gum jelly
Body: Velvety
Taste: Short tail. Smooth attack. Fruity. Complex. Sweetish. Liquorice, coffee beans, bitter choclate.
Turns drier later with almonds, bananas and coffee beans making an appearance.

Overall: Complex sake fit for both drinking on ts own and enjoying it with food.
A lot of caharacter. Typical of this brewery.
Dry in spite of the indicate 0 dryness.
Very enjoyable. Great sake to explore1
Lovely retro label!
Hatsukame Brewery: Ginjo 500

It’s been some time since I tasted a brew from this old favourite brewery of mine, namely Hatsukame Brewery in Okabe Cho.

It’s been some time since I tasted a brew from this old favourite brewery of mine, namely Hatsukame Brewery in Okabe Cho.
This bottle will remind Etsuko that she has been wanting to check that « Tortoise »!

Hatsukame Brewery: Ginjo 500

Rice: Yamada Nishiki 100%
Rice milled down to 50%
Dryness: +3
Acidity: 1.1 (very low)
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Contents: 500ml (hence the name!)
Bottled in March 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Transparent
Aroma: Fruity: almonds, banana. Alcohol
Body: Velvety
Taste: Short tail. Welcome alcohol. Almonds. bitter chocolate, bananas, coffee beans.
Smooth and elegant with alcohol warming up back of the palate.

Overall: Typical Hatsukame Brewery sake.
Refined, elegant, plenty of character.
Great on its own and with food.
Could replace any wine!
Hatsukame Okabe Maru, Junmai, Homare Fuji

This particular brew, Okabe Maru by Hatsukame Brewery in Okabe Cho, Shida Gun, has recently become very popular with ladies and has turned into a regular feature at numerous « Saketen »!
I just love the retro label!
This was the first bottle tasted at by the Hamamatsu Geeks on March 21st.

Hatsukame Okabe Maru, Junami, Homare Fuji
Rice: Homare Fuji (Shizuoka)
Rice milled down to 55% (extravagant!)
Alcohol: 16~17% (high)
Dryness: +2.0 (high for Shizuoka)
Acidity: 1.3

Clarity: very clear

Colour: Golden Tinge

Aroma: Fruity, spicy. alcohol. pineapple.

Body: Velvety

Taste: Fruity with a strong junmai tingle: almonds, chestnuts, pineapple.
Short tail, calls for a second sip. Welcome acidity with second sip.
Bitter choclate appears on the palate.

Overall: A bit extravagant junmai at 55% millage!
Drinks very easily on its own. Probably best appreciated as a classy aperitif.
Goes well with food.
A complex, elegant sake.
Interestingly enough, ladies found it sweetish.

Hatsukame Shiboritate Namazake Muroka Honjyozo Genshu

This particular brew by Hatsukame Brewery in Okabe Cho, Shida Gun is put out every year in the first week of March as a very limited edition to be drunk as soon as possible. It is impatiently waited by many local sake fans, izakaya and restaurants.

Hatsukame Shiboritate Namazake Muroka Honjyozo Genshu
(Just pressed, unaltered and unfiltered after alcohol addition)
Alcohol: 17~18 degrees
Rice milled down to 60%
Dryness: +1
Acidity: 1.5
Bottled on March 6th 2008

Clarity: very clear

Colour: Golden tinge

Aroma: fruity, sweet, alcohol, pineapple, apricot

Body: velvety

Taste: Fruity, pineapple, peach, apricot.
Strong alcohol and nama tingle. Welcome acidity with almonds appearing later, especially with food.

Overall: Unusually « sweet » for a Shizuoka Sake.
Can be drunk for its own sake, but goes down very well with food.
Complex, fruity, strong.
Shows many facets with further sips. Could be drunk as a digestif after a meal.
Interestingly enough, the Master Brewerrequests this sake to be drunk within 10 days of its bottling.
Well, I started it March 18th. No problem, whatsoever!

Hatsukame Shiboritate Ginjo

We are still very much in the « shinshu/new sake » and it is only a question of time (and drinking capacity) to grab them all one by one!

This one comes from a favourite brewery in Okabe Cho, Hatsukame, whose Toji/Master Brewer hails from the Noto Peninsula, Ishikawa Prefecture.

Hatsukame Shiboritate Ginjo
Rice: Shizuoka Yamada Nishiki 100%
Rice milled down to 55%
Dryness: +4
Acidity: 1.4
Alcohol: 17~18 degrees
Bottled in December 2007

Clarity: very clear

Colour: Practically transparent

Aroma: very fruity and flowery/Pineapple, green apples

Body: velvety

Taste: Surprisingly dry considering its aroma. Very clean taste. Alcohol discernible. Flowers/green apples/liquorice. My wife and girlfriend loved it. It seems that ladies have a weak spot for such dry sake.
Drank well with food.

Overall: Easy to drink. Fruity and flowery in aroma. Surprisingly crisp and dry in taste.
Intricate balance. Classy.
Secret: the « toji » was elected the best Noto Peninsula « toji » by his own peers!

Tomizoo Junmai Ginjo

This is the third Shizuoka I tasted at Sugimoto on November 16th, 2007

Hatsukame Brewery in Okabe Cho, Shida Gun, has the invaluable habit to come with all kinds of surprises and beauties and this particular sake is certainly no exception!

Tomizoo Junmai Ginjo

Rice: Hyogo Prefecture Yamada Nishiki 100%
Rice milled down to 50%
Dryness: +3.0
Acidity: 1.4
Yeast: No 14

Clarity: very clear

Colour: golden tinge

Aroma: Discreet, sweet, fruity. Anise

Body: Velvety~fluid

Taste: Junmai tingle. Fruity: bananas, pears, melon.
Welcome acidity. Drinks like a « fleeting lover »!

Overall: Supremely elegant. feminine? Probably, although I would be hard put to explain. A sake you cannot remember fully but that you cannot forget!

4) Hatsu 2007 Kame

This was the second bottle tasted by the Shizuoka Geekes during their third tasting session.
Hatsukame Brewery in Okabe-cho, Shida Gun, are particularly proud of this brew. It is their « Vintage Brew » as they reproduce it every year according to the same exacting techniques. They actually call it « Hatsu 2007 Kame »

Hatsu 2007 Kame
Dai Ginjo
Rice: Yamada Nishiki 100%
Rice milled down to 45%
Bottle contents: 500 ml
Bottled in February 2007

Clarity: Very clear

Colour: almost transparent

Aroma: Anise, apples

Taste: Complex. Orange peels. Apples. Welcome alcohol tingle. Bitter chocolate appears later.

Overall: A beauty!
Almost tastes like a very dry Cointreau. The Brew Master’s special recommendation!
Should be drunk on its own, preferably after food.

3) Hatsukame Honjozo

This was the first bottle sampled by the Hamamatsu Geeks on September 14th. Notice the great retro label design!:
Hatsukame Honjozo (Hatsukame Brewery-Okabe Cho, Shida Gun)
Although a Honjozo, the rice was milled down to an extravagant 60%!
Dryness: 1
Acidity: 1.4
Bottled in February 2007

Clarity: very clear

Colour: almost transparent

Aroma: Ricey, light

Body: smooth
Taste: dry in spite of the 1.0 grading. Very light alcohol tingle. Vanilla, Coffee. Welcome acidity refreshingly lingering on the palate.

Overall: very light, almost feminine.
The alcohol adds complexity long enough in the palate fro reflection.
Easy to drink at any time of the day. Best on its own.
2) Junmai Ginjo

This particular brew directly recommended to me by Mr. hashimoto, owner of Hatsu Kame Brewery in Okabe Cho, is a junmai ginjo made with Yamada Nishiki Rice from Hyogo Prefecture milled down to 50% in June 2007

Clarity: Clear

Colour: tinge of gold

Aroma: light and ricey

Body: Velvety

Taste: Sweet and discreet. Welcome tinge on back of the palate. Bitter chocolate/ Vanilla

Overall: Distinguished and highly pleasurable. Would go down well with any food.
Turns sweeter with second/third sip

1) Kame Shirushi

Hatsukame Shirushi (First Tortoise Seal) was brewed in December 2006 by Hatsukame Brewery in Okabe Cho, Shida Gun. Their toji is from Ishikawa prefecture and of the Nanbu School.

It is Ginjo, rice milled to 60%, Dryness +1 (almost sweet for Shizuoka) and acidity 1.2 (quite low).

Aroma: light/Grapefruit/Orange/Plum

Colour: faint amber

Clarity: vey clear

Body: light

Taste: Almost sweet, easy to drink. Grapes and oranges. Does not stay long in mouth.
Would be perfect with « oden »!

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