All sake made in the USA appears to be made on the West Coast so when I setup my agenda for my next vacation, I tried to hit any sake facility I could. Image my delight when I found Gekkeikan had a tour and a tasting room.
After all my planning, I have to say that I was disappointed that
their tour amounted to a few plaques on the walls with windows displaying their brewery equipment. I felt no sense of history or pride on this tour. I did see an interesting bottle for a sparkling sake called Zipang, not seen on the East Coast. I also saw quite a bit of rice on the floor of various rooms. Maybe it was because I arrived around lunch time and the workers took a break from cleaning but I expected the facilities to be cleaner and it detracted from my appreciation of the craft. The information on the plaques were informative but were the bare minimum.
The tasting itself was free and the person pouring was nice enough but all (not some) of the bottles I tried tasted 5+ days old and not nearly chilled enough. I don't think they get enough visitors to really go through bottles within a few days. All of the bottles were brewed in Japan. I asked about the saki made in the USA and was told I could buy them but the Japanese ones were on sale and that was the reason why I could only taste Japanese crafted saki. I tried the Zipang but being opened a while ago, there was no zip left in the Zipang. I pointed it out to the pourer but was told to imagine how it would taste with bubbles. Lovely.
I wouldn't make this the main reason to stop by Folsom but I would try visiting again, if only to see how much they improved over time. They couldn't get any worse.
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