Kinoshita Brewery - Tamagawa
BREWERY | 木下酒造
Kinoshita Brewery - Tamagawa
Founded in 1842, Kinoshita Brewery - Tamagawa is definitely a brewery "doing interesting things" today. Tamagawa views each bottle as a work in progress. Time is the last ingredient they add to their sakes: each sake they produce is showcased in their newborn form as unpasteurized, unfiltered, undiluted (“3U”) limited editions, shipped throughout the winter brewing season as soon as they are pressed. From this starting point, they make a wide range of product styles which highlight the huge potential of sake, with time as a crucial ingredient. It's basically the sake version of a choose-your-own-adventure book! How cool is that? It's enough to make the heart of any sake-nerd beat faster.
Another interesting fact about Kinoshita Berwery (besides their delicious sakes) is that they have a British toji, Philip Harper. Although this fact itself has no relevance to the quality of the sake (sake, like love, is an international language), it is something of note to have the first foreign-born toji in the history of sake-brewing when you consider how much of Japanese culture and society can still tend to be isolated and conservative. One notable upside to having a foreign toji—their website is one of the rare Japanese sake websites where some of their English-language pages give you more information than their Japanese-language pages, especially when it comes to pages about the details about the sake itself. Could it have something to do with the fact that they have an Oxford-grad English Lit major Toji? Possibly. They have lots of other interesting facts about them, but go ahead, go to their website and read all about it.
Kyoto needs introducing like Bezos needs money, so we'll spare you the long intro. One of the most popular tourist places, Kyoto was the original capitol of Japan before that designation moved to Edo (Tokyo) in 1869. Located in a valley that is part of the Yamashiro Basin, Kyoto is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Basically, the worst of both worlds in terms of physical comfort. But when you consider what it yields in cuisine and culture and history, anyone will tell you those hellishly hot, humid summers are well worth it!
Head Brewer - Toji
Born in 1966 in Birmingham. After receiving a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Oxford, Philip Harper came to Japan on the JET program, teaching English to public junior and high schools. He began working at a brewery after two years, earned the title of Toji in the Nanbu Brewer's Guild Exam in 2001, and became Toji at Kinoshita Brewery in 2007. While his entire sake education and career developed in Japan, he has developed daring sakes that challenge the industry preconception.
Awards & Accolades
- Multiple Gold Prizes from the Annual Japan Sake Awards
- Multiple Gold Prizes from U.S. National Sake Appraisal
- Medal winner at the Kansai Sake Appreciation and Evaluation Meeting
From this Brewery
Wholeheartedly brewing great sake.
Water and Rice
Spring water from the Shiro mountain located behind the brewery, and rice from local farms as well as Tamba and Okayama.