Brewing Sake with Original Equipment and Ideas (Sunday, November 1st, 2015)
Gochouda Brewery Co., Ltd.
Situated in Kyushu, the land of shochu, Saga Prefecture also thrives in traditional sake brewing. Gochouda Brewery, founded in 1922 in Ureshino City in the western part of the prefecture, is unique in that it controls the whole process of sake making. “The holy trinity of sake is to source locally, brew locally, and consume locally,” says Ippei Setou, the president of Gochouda Brewery. Although the region’s climate is not always suitable for growing sake rice (sake rice usually grows taller than regular rice and is susceptible to wind and storms), the brewery’s kurabito (brewers) have made tireless efforts to grow premium Yamadanishiki variety rice at their house-owned rice farm.
To produce superior quality sake, the brewery is not only particular about having house-grown rice, but also about brewing technique, method, and equipment, incorporating modern ideas into its traditional method. For example, after continuous trial and error, they developed an original “koshiki,” a steaming vat. Unlike a conventional circular vat, Gochouda’s vat is square shaped, allowing rice to steam evenly. Under the direction of experienced toji (brew masters), the brewery keeps making quality sake proudly named “Azumaichi,” meaning the best in the East. All of their sake goes well with many types of food as it’s made from quality rice.
Three labels from the brewery are currently available in the U.S. Azumaichi Junmai Daiginjo’s appeal is its fruity ginjo aroma and a well-balanced taste with unique acidity and astringency. It pairs well with light dishes like carpaccio and steamed lobster. Yamadanishiki Junmai Ginjo exhibits a dense rice flavor, calming aroma, depth and suppleness, making it a great match with fatty, hearty dishes like roast duck and prawn tempura. Azumaichi Yamadanishiki Junmaishu is a full-bodied sake with a fragrant aroma and rich flavor. It goes well with sweet and creamy cheesecake, salty-sweet kabayaki style dishes, meat dishes and strongly flavored fish. It’s always fun to explore your favorite sake and food pairings, and you can definitely find pairs that suit your taste from Gochouda’s Azumaichi series.
Gochouda Brewery Co., Ltd.
2081 Gochouda-kou, Shiota-cho, Ureshino City
Saga, 849-1425 Japan
3 things you should know about Gochouda Brewery Co., Ltd.
Growing Ingredients on Their Own Farm
Gochouda Brewery owns a huge farm where a team of kurabito (brewers) grow Yamadanishiki rice. They believe it is easier to control product quality if they manage the whole process of sake making from farming to brewing. They also use homebrew yeast that is ideal for making high quality sake.
Unique Steaming Vat Developed on Their Own
Every aspect of the production is handled in-house for the purpose of thorough quality control. They even develop their own tools in order to brew the sake they really want. The specially-developed square-shaped steaming vat is one of their characteristic tools, which is technically ideal to steam rice evenly.
Self-Designed Tank for Sake Brewing
Gochouda Brewery designed their original brewing tank as well. It is an upside-down, cone-shaped tank, which enables easy convection. If moromi (mashed rice) is manually mixed with a paddle, it spoils easily because the rice becomes broken and melts. Gochouda’s tank effectively avoids that. They employ the tank during most of the brewing stages, except the beginning of the fermentation process.