Thursday, August 02, 2012

A Brewery of a Different Sort

With so many breweries in Asheville, and more coming, it would seem that this town is infatuated with the magic of feremented beverages.  Well, some local Ashevillians want to extend our love of locally produced fermented beverages to new and exciting places.  Blue Kudzu Sake Company is a group of three people with a love of sake and a dream.  They currently are raising money to be the one of only a handful of sake brewers in the United States.

Beer, as we all know, is composed of water, grain, hops, and yeast.  It's the grains that give up their sugar to be converted to alcohol, and along with the hops and yeast they yield a variety of tastes and styles.  The most common grain is barley, and the starch in any of these grains needs to be converted into a fermentable sugar before the yeast can do its work (hence, malted barley).  While sake is not unlike beer, it uses a different grain (rice) to achieve fermentation.  The fermentation of sake is a bit more complicated, and involves a process of adding both steamed rice, and rice that has been fermented with Aspergillus oryzae, otherwise known as kijo, which is a type of mold that is used in Asian cultures to make sake and other things that you like such as soy sauce and miso.  The end result is a fermented rice beverage that tastes unlike any other.

Personally, my main experiences with sake have involved drinking it warm alongside an order of maguro, nigiri, and some sujiko (salmon roe, and yes, I had to look that up).  Well warm sake is usually low quality, with higher quality sake being served cold.  I remember having my first bottle of cold sake recently, and it was a revelation enjoying some of the more subtle flavors that are present.  I am certainly looking forward to getting more educated and would love to see sake branch out from being a drink you only have when you order sushi.

I would love to be able to have some fresh, local sake, to go along with all the good local beer that we have available.  Click here to donate.