Jizake : Local Sake
High quality sake is brewed with rice from the patty fields of the Kaga region and the clean water from the Hakusan Mountains.
Kanazawa is a mecca for foodies and sake-lovers.
There are several reasons why high quality sake can be brewed in the area around Kanazawa.
The first reason is the presence of an abundance of clean water, an indispencible ingredient for breweries. Clean water from the Hakusan Mountains runs through the canals in the central area. In the northern Noto area, water is gathered from melted snow. The clean water in these areas is rich in minerals but low on iron, which is great for the fermentation process.
The second reason would be the easy access to high quality rice around the prefecture. Second, the breweries here use good-quality brewer's rice extensively. Junmai sake and Ginjo sake are also brewed in the area. Junmai sake is usually considered as being the highest quality of sake available, while Ginjo sake is sake with the outer 40% of the grains being polished away. Some of the local brewers, such as Yamada Nishiki, are so popular that they cannot keep up with the demand.
The third reason would be the nation-wide competition. Master brewers from the area compete with the master brewers of other areas in Japan known for their high quality sake: Echigo, Nanbu, Etizen, Tanba and Noto.
The fourth reason would be the snowy winters. The cold weather and moderate humidity of the area are the perfect conditions for having a good fermentation process.
The relation between the local sake and the local cuisine are inseparable. The long culinary history cannot be seen separately from the long presence of brewers in the area.
The legend of Kikuzake of Kaga. a unique brewer.
The legend "Kikuzake of Kaga" is proof that breweries have been present in the region for centuries. "Kikuzake of Kaga" was a sake brand present at the cherry blossom event held by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in Daigo. It used to be a famous brand in those days.
There are four major breweries in the center of the Ishikawa Prefecture and the northern Noto region. The locally brewed sake have a dry and rich flavor. Each sake has its own characteristics. Many restaurants in the region serve these locally brewed sakes.
Recently, the sake made from "Sakamai Ishikawamon", a high quality rice brand from the Ishikawa Sake Brewers Association, is gaining popularity. Tasting sessions of locally brewed sake are held for 100JPY at the shopping mall by Kanazawa Station.