On Friday I walked by the new sake company and was fortunate to witness the opening banner being placed above the entrance. That’s right, the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company is officially opened. I heard the CBC radio advertising the previous week mentioning this rare sake brewery in North America. Canada has two on the west coast. Excited people were waiting for this special moment for people in Toronto to have the pleasure of tasting unpasteurized just pressed sake. This Japanese alcoholic drink is made with spring water sourced for ideal sake brewing. They use traditional Japanese methods and recipes and having a very quaint tasting sake bar with bottle sales and sake accessories. At the tasting bar you can purchase by the glass or bottle.
Sake Bar Toronto Made From Ontario Spring Water
The LCBO has predicted this drink to be the ‘drink of the summer’. It is better drunk in the summer and it’s best served cool. Apparently, there is no comparison with the high end sake. I had experienced this with tequila and was quite surprised that this drink was meant to be enjoyed for it’s high end flavour and not just it’s alcohol content. The general manager, Kaz Hayashi, a sake veteran who was once the Ontario represententive for Japan’s largest sake brewery, has set up a traditional koji-muro, which is a “magical sauna-like room”. This room is where rice is inoculated with the koji mould spores required to create alcohol. They offer a variety of different sakes, including the nigori which is sweet and cloudy due to being partially filtered. They also have the genshu, the indiluted and potent at around 20 per cent alcohol, and the traditional junmai, both pasteurized and unpasteurized. These will be brewed for sale in restaurants and potentially at the LCBO. The Ontario Spring Water Sake Company will experiment with different degrees of rice grinding as well.
Eastern North America’s First Water Sake Brewery
I started conversing with some visitors to Toronto who came all the way from Hamilton to celebrate the grand opening. They were sake lovers for sure and were ready to test out the high quality sake. They shared their sake tasting experience with me. They decided to try the Genshu-nama-nama flavour. I was told this was never available in Ontario before. They definitely came all the way to Toronto to enjoy the unique and wide of varieties of this Japanese rice alcohol. After their sake tasting they filled me on the actual taste. “It was fruity, smooth, rich and beautiful” said, Joe Czarnuck from Hamilton. The Nama Nama which is unpasteurized and has a little more water, was a little more difficult to describe Joe said. “It does have a pleasant oily taste.” Any master sake brewer will apparently tell you that high-quality water is a crucial element in the brewing process. It’s not a surprise then why the sake brewer was drawn to setting up in Ontario with access to some of the best spring water in the world.
Haruo Matsuzaki and John Gauntner, Two of the World’s Leading Sake Experts
The Ontario Spring Water Sake Company will also be representing this complex drink at the SAKE 101—Structured & Walk-around Tasting in May at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre here in Toronto. Zela Mah and Joe Czarnuch had marked their calendars for this event on Monday May 16. This is an event to get tickets for if you are interested in learning more about sake tasting. It’s a chance to try 55 sakes from 8 premium producers. You can explore the principle sake styles as well as specialty varieties. Haruo Matsuzaki and John Gauntner, the two of the world’s leading Sake experts will be there for discussions and to answer questions. Enjoy the taste of authentic Japanese cuisine as well. It’s a great chance to explore the principal Sake styles as well as specialty varieties including sparkling, unfiltered and plum. The Distillery District once known in history for it’s whiskey production has now included the influences from the Asia. How exciting, the distillery district is now a host location of where the east meets the west while starting to get a higher quality sakes brought from Japan. Toronto is now a local brewer of sake.