I love wine and beer tasting, but I have yet to experience a sake tasting. My friends Cat and Erica invited me along to Takara in Berkeley, California, I knew I was in for a treat. I am not as knowledgeable on sake as I would like, so I was thrilled with the opportunity to learn as well as see what a local bay area company has to offer.
The outside of Takara, a basic large cream colored building, looks like a typical factory. After entering and heading upstairs, you’ll find yourself in the tasting room, a spacious area decorated in traditional Japanese decor. It has a light, calming, airy feel. I especially liked the custom made Japanese ceiling fans.
As it was a beautiful sunny day, it wasn’t surprising to find the tasting room was crowded. Since we had a little time to kill before our turn for a tasting, we headed to the sake museum. Located to the right of the tasting room.
The museum was an exhibit of the historical process of sake making, filled with sake artifacts. Not to mention plenty of opportunities for a silly photo shoot!
After a half hour wait (and several photos later) it was finally our turn for a tasting. (All tastings are only $5.00) We all ended up choosing the variety tasting, a well-rounded introduction to sake, offering hot, cold, unfiltered, filtered and sweet sake, as well as a tasting of plum wine. The Takara employee serving us was very knowledgeable of her product, and I was very impressed with the detailed information on each sake presented.
Not only was the every sake I tasted delicious in its own right, but the prices of bottles to purchase were unbelievably inexpensive. My personal favorites were the creme de sake (warm unfiltered sake), the flavored sweeter sake’s and the plum wine. (I have a tendency to prefer sweeter wines as well as sakes.)
An hour and a little buzz later we took off, but but not empty handed. (see photo above) All and all, this was definitely a recommended experience I would do again.