Participants tasted 8 sakes at Sake 101.Yesterday about 60 Academy members (who bought Joy of Sake tickets) and Joy of Sake volunteers attended Sake 101—a tasting workshop in the Pavilion Cafe led by Joy of Sake founder Chris Pearce. Natalie Aczon and Megan Hiramoto of our Development Department worked with Jan Nagano and Pua Auyong-White to put the first-time event together. Pearce and his team brought eight sakes for everyone to taste. But first he put the brews in context with a short history of sake in Hawaii—did you know the first batch of imported sake went to the winner of a sumo tournament? We learned that sake isn’t a wine or a beer—it’s its own category. And out of the three, sake is the most difficult to make. Also, only buy refrigerated sake. If the store has its sake on a regular old shelf, don’t buy it.

We tasted two junmais, two ginjos, two daiginjos, one nigori and one unpasteurized sake. Pearce illuminated the flavor differences between each, explaining why one tastes rough and ricey, the other smooth with hints of anise. Part of Joy of Sake’s mission is education, and everyone learned a lot at the workshop. Now we all have a better idea of what to look for at Joy of Sake on Aug. 21 at the Academy. Tickets are still available online.

Five members (and one guest each) were selected to observe the final round of judging in the U.S. National Sake Appraisal taking place on Aug. 18. It’s the first time “outsiders” will get to see what goes on at the judging.