Inside, I could see that the Brewery was clean, efficient and beautiful. Not just the facility itself, but also the size was impressive. As Sanjo-san gave me the tour, from start to finish, I got the sense that this place as run like clockwork and had a tremendous scale of operation.
First, I got to take an up close look at the moto (yeast starter) and even got to try my hand at mixing the moto! Yes, please note the hairnet and coat. It’s a really good look for me!Moto tanks were smaller in scale but still a sight to behold. The Moto is also known as the “yeast Starter” and is one of the corner stones of the sake production process. A small batch of sake is made at this point under exacting temperature control with an incredibly high yeast content.
This is the incubation chamber of sake and it is understandably lavished a lot of attention. This yeast starter ends up in the main tank and kicks off the brewing process giving the yeast a fighting chance to survive and create lots of alcohol in the main mash.Especially impressive was the view of the brewing tanks. Each silver lid you see is the cap to a large brewing tank that holds fermenting sake. All the tanks were monitored daily with specific instructions and observations written about each batch. A wonderful attention to detail that reflects itself in their delicious sake.
Speaking of their sake, Kubota makes some heavenly sake that is available for sale both in Restaurants and retail in The USA. After our tour, Sanjo-san took me out to expore Nagaoka and for a wonderful dinner to taste local food with delicious sake.Now the Kubota brand is incredibly well known in Japan and is a flagship brand of sake if ever there was one! Starting with Kubota Senju Tokubetsu Honjozo, we have a delicious and well crafted honjozo that is a dream to pair with grilled fish and the like. Next I enjoyed the fantastic Kubota Hekiju Junmai Daiginjo. With a halo of lightness and delicious fruits on the palate, this sake is a treasure and oh so easy to enjoy. Last but not least, I marveled at the superior and delicious Kubota Manju Junmai Daiginjo. Manju is really a crown jewel of the kubota line and a top of the line product in Japan and the USA.
What a day! As I headed back to my hotel, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face! I had such a fantastic experience and felt so lucky to have seen Asahi Shuzo. My sincere thanks to Sanjo-san and family for the wonderful day in Nagaoka! The tour and hospitality were simply amazing. I can’t wait to return and see more of beautiful Asahi Shuzo and Nagaoka!