FWT Magazine: food wine travel - Issue 3, Spring 2016

Page 8

Wines & Spirits a creamy texture. All of Sequoia’s sakes are unpasteurized and “alive”—they must be kept refrigerated and have a limited shelf life (opened: two weeks; unopened: six months). There’s no shortage of creative local food experiences in the Bay Area, but San Francisco-made craft sake is a unique one to add to your list.

If you go Sequoia Sake, 50 Apparel Way, San Francisco, California

Sequoia Sake

Craft Brewed Sake in San Francisco


he next exciting new brewery in your neighborhood may not actually be brewing beer. An artisan sake movement is taking hold in the United States, spurred by the growing interest in locally made and traditional foods. Japanese brewers have been making the fermented rice beverage since before recorded history so they have had a lot of time to perfect their craft. For decades, much of the sake sold in the U.S. could not live up to these traditions. Much of it was low-quality and fortified by cheap grain alcohol—something that will get you drunk, but nothing you can savor or enjoy. New start-up sake breweries are now trying to reverse that trend in the U.S. Sequoia Sake is leading the charge in Northern California, as San Francisco’s first sake microbrewery, producing vibrant sake that stands with the Bay Area’s renowned wine and craft beers. Sequoia was founded in 2014 by husband and wife team Jake Myrick and Noriko Kamei. Kamei was born in Japan, and Myrick lived there for 10 years. When they moved back to the states, they were inspired to bring the fresh flavors they loved in Japan home to California. They opened their Bayview brewery in 2015 with partner, Warren Pfah, Myrick’s childhood friend. Sequoia makes only premium(“nothing added”) sake using only four ingredients: finely milled rice; water; koji, a mold used to convert the rice’s starch to sugar; and yeast, which ferments the sugar and turns it into alcohol. Sequoia was inspired by Japan but is truly the taste of California. The company uses Sacramentogrown rice and Sierra-source water, and it pairs well with bold American foods. I visited the brewery for a tasting last month, and several different brews were being poured: Nama, a slightly sweet, smooth-bodied and lower alcohol sake (14-15%); Genshu, a floral and full-bodied and higher alcohol sake (18%); and Nigori, an unfiltered, homestyle sake (14–17%). The residual rice gives it




The brewery is open for tasting every Saturday from 11a.m3p.m. You can find Sequoia Sake at a number of restaurants, ramen shops and izakayas in San Francisco and the East Bay. The sake is sold retail at Bi-Rite Market and True Sake in San Francisco, and Umami Mart in Oakland.

Sequoia Sake brewing

Cassie Kifer Cassie Kifer is a freelance travel writer and photographer who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. She is the founder and editor of Ever In Transit (www.everintransit. com), an adventure & culinary travel blog offering travel tips, stories, and photography from destinations in California and around the world. For a full author bio, see http://ifwtwa.org/author/cassie-kifer.

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