Sake Fest PDX 2016

One week from today is the annual Saké Fest PDX, returning for it’s sixth year. This year, the location has been updated to the Pavilion Ballroom at Hilton Portland & Executive Tower. It is taking place next week on Wednesday June 22 2016 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM. The event gives those who attend the ability to sample a large variety of Japanese and US sake brands while learning how to pair the traditional Japanese drink with a wide variety of food, including cheese, desserts, chocolate and a wide range of fusion, Asian and continental cuisines.
Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - Blue Hue Tsukinowa Kinen from Tsukinowa Brewery, an equivalent of a sessionable sake Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - sushi from hokusei

I found this latter part one of my favorite educational experiences – besides trying lots of different sakes, exploring different combinations of sake samples and food samples had surprising results. I’ve never gone out of my way to have sake and cheese, but now I know (though I shouldn’t be surprised) that cheese goes with everything, including making great pairings that bring out new flavors by contrasting and complimenting flavors in cheeses and sake, such as Floating World Sake’s mushroomy Soma no Tengu with some cheese by Steve Jones of Chizu and Cheese Bar.
Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - bites from Steve and Cheese Bar Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - bites from Steve and Cheese Bar

And by extension, sake paired with the Davis Street Tavern mac and cheese is a winner too. One surprise pairing winner was a recommendation from Whole Foods of strawberry, creamy chevre cheese, and Kaika Tonbindori Shizuku Blossoming Scents “Supreme Droplets” Tochigi sake. By itself one sake that impressed me was Mutemaka with its smoky flavors and unusual color since it’s made from ceremonial red rice. All of this at face value from initial description may sound a little odd – but be bold and go ahead and try things that sound weird and you may discover and learn something new, don’t just dismiss it!
Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - Sacred Mist (Honjozo Nigori, unfiltered premium) from Miyashita Brewery, the mac and cheese paired surprisingly well with unfiltered sake Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - favorite pairing turned out to be this particular Kaika Tonbindori Shizuku sake with strawberries and cheese

A ticket to Saké Fest PDX experience is full access to all food and all saké sampling stations – even rare & premium saké varieties, and includes a sake tasting glass. In addition, Early Admission Ticket holders get an additional hour before the regular admission guests by entering at 5:30 PM and is limited to only 100 people.

There will be 22 sake breweries and distributors offering multiple sakes at each station, which is a huge diverse variety to explore. I can’t think of another way to try so many sakes in one place.
Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - sake from Takara Sake USA Inc Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - Dreyfus Ashby & Co. / Ichishima Shuzo Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - Kuramoto US
Takara Sake USA Inc; Dreyfus Ashby & Co. featuring Ichishima Shuzo; Kuramoto US

My advice to remember what you enjoy is to take photos of the sake. Don’t worry about being an amateur- the names and locations and types are still a jumble of syllables for me too.
Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - Barrel Aged (Taru Sake) in ceder barrels, from Kitsukura Brewery, Honjozo (premium) Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - Sacred Mist (Honjozo Nigori, unfiltered premium) from Miyashita Brewery Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - Hakutsuru Sho-Une Junmai-Dai Ginjo
Barrel Aged (Taru Sake) in ceder barrels, from Kitsukura Brewery, Honjozo (premium); Sacred Mist (Honjozo Nigori, unfiltered premium) from Miyashita Brewery; Hakutsuru Sho-Une Junmai-Dai Ginjo

There are 20 participating restaurants and food providers who will be offering food sampling stations where you can have a bite between sakes and try to create your own interesting pairings. The list includes

Tickets for the event are $55 per person regular admission or $75 per person early admission tickets. Attendees must be 21 or older to attend. You can purchase tickets in advance here and there will be a limited number of tickets available at the door.

Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 – Misc Sake photos
Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - fun cans of Nezumi Otoko Jungin Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - fun cans of Kitaro Jungin Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - sake and bites from sampling stations Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - Sanomaru Cup Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - Sanomaru Cup

The Meadow presenting Steak and Eggs made on a Salt Block and finished with tarragon butter
Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - The Meadow presenting Steak and Eggs made on a Salt Block and finished with tarragon butter Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - The Meadow presenting Steak and Eggs made on a Salt Block and finished with tarragon butter

The gorgeous treats from Yume Asian Confections which possibly equaled the sake in my excitement over the discovery of these traditional treats that you can order custom made and are so super Japanese!
Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - treats from Yume Asian Confections Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - treats from Yume Asian Confections Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - treats from Yume Asian Confections Scenes from Sake Fest PDX 2015 - treats from Yume Asian Confections

Do you drink sake? What do you usually have when enjoying sake? Are you like me it’s pretty much stay in the box of having it with sushi?

Signature

Sake Fest 2015 on Thursday June 25

This Thursday June 25, Sake Fest returns for its fifth year. This year, it is taking place at the The Governor Ballroom at The Sentinel Hotel  (formerly The Governor Hotel). I’m pretty excited because besides having sake with sushi (I often ahem prescribe myself warm sake when it’s cold out in the winter, or if my throat hurts) or at sake pairings with my Nodoguro dinners, I don’t have sake very often because I don’t know much about sake besides regular temperature or hot, clear or cloudy. I want to change that.

Attending Sake Fest gives you a chance to learn and sample all sorts of sake. It also includes trying food as you learn how to pair the traditional Japanese drink with a wide variety of food, including cheese, desserts, chocolate and a wide range of fusion, Asian and continental cuisines. It includes ALL saké sampling stations – even rare & premium saké varieties. Altogether there are more than 130+ sakes to sample.

Sampling Sake at the annual Sake Fest in Portland
Photo Credit Hung Q Phan

Featured food participants at Sake Fest include 19 different tables of food pairings including

  • ramen restaurant Noraneko,
  • cheese served like sushi bar Chizu,
  • Asian food offerings like from Saucebox, Yama Sushi & Izakaya, Biwa, Yakuza, Smallwares, Hokusei Sushi, Behind the Museum Cafe and more,
  • other types of food varying from Hawaiian cuisine of Bamboo Grove to classic American like Davis Street Tavern or The American Local,
  • chocolates from Batch chocolate or Xocolatl de David,
  • salt from The Meadow,
  • Asian sweets from Yume Confections and more!

Sampling Sake at the annual Sake Fest in Portland
Photo Credit Hung Q Phan

You can buy Sake Fest Admission tickets now at Eventbrite, which come in two tiers, based on whether you want Early Admission: 5:30 to 9:00 PM (provides an extra hour of no crowds or lines, only 100 tickets available, available in advance online only) at $75, or for $55 Regular Admission: 6:30 to 9:00 PM. Both tickets are for guests Adults 21 and Older Only and include all food and drink at Sake Fest and includes a free Saké souvenir tasting glass provided by SakéOne.

Also available are tickets for a special Sake Food pairing dinner on Wednesday night at the ticket site, if you are so inclined.

For a hint of what Sake Fest is like, here’s a video from their first year:

Do you know anything about sake, like a certain kind of sake you like? When do you have sake?

I’ll be at Sake Fest Thursday so if you see me feel free to say hi!

Signature