I enjoyed Virginia’s first and only sake brewery last week – North American Sake Brewery! Sake is a historic beverage that remains to be one of the cleanest most curious drinks on the planet. The most important thing to know is that sake is made from rice. Sake is a traditional Japanese brew made by fermenting rice. Rice is also naturally gluten-free, making sake a healthier choice. Rice makes more than a side or part of a lunch or dinner, they can bring about such incredible aromas and flavor as a drink.
Sake is typically sipped and pairs wonderfully with all types of cuisine. North American Brewery has delicious Japanese food, beer, wine, and fun. You know everyone is there to have a good time because the sake culture is made for sharing!
For dinner, I had the Veggie Love bowl it was very flavorful. They have other clean options on the menu too like the poke bowl, ahi tuna, and miso hummus. They incorporate some non-GMO ingredients. They do hand-make their dumplings, and we might see gluten-free ramen on the menu in the future too.
The dining room is a blend of American and Asian esthetics. The Patio is super cute and open too. Online ordering and curbside are both available.
Sake is best when freshly brewed and is always best when drank as soon as possible. From the North American Sake Brewery website, “It is Japan’s national beverage and is used during formal ceremonies, weddings, special events, and holidays. Sake is deeply tied to the seasons and the rice harvest with the brewing season starting in the winter to allow the tanks to become cold enough to make sake. While the exact origins of sake are unclear with records reaching back at least 2500 years, it is believed to begin in China with the start of rice cultivation. Japan is really where the brewing of sake became an art and koji methods were refined during the Nara Period (710-794). Over the next 500 years, sake was being brewed in Shinto Shrines and Buddhist temples originally to appease God, but by the sixteenth century, breweries began to be established for sake to be drunk by the masses. In the Edo Period (1603-1868) the techniques for sake began to change toward less sweet and lighter flavors. Sake continued to evolve as time progressed and was heavily influenced by the coming world wars. With rice being rationed the sake industry collapsed and many sake breweries were forced to blend with cheaply distilled alcohol and much richer sake became popular. This brings us to the modern period in which new classifications based on rice polish ratios gave birth to the ginjo boom of the 1970s. These new styles refined flavor and aroma as well as pushed toward more artisan sake.
Today, sake is experiencing an international resurgence with America being the highest importer of sake. New craft sake breweries in the US are popping up around the country while the general population is embracing this ancient and beautiful drink.
Take a flight with your friends and enjoy some sake and food pairings. Don’t forget the sake bombs!