Taste the Bounty of Land & Sea in Hachinohe
By this point it should be clear that the food in Hachinohe is seriously good, and delicious food deserves to be complemented by delicious libations. Fortunately, the sake offered by the Hachinohe Shuzo Sake Brewery is more than up to the task.
A long-established sake brewery dating back to 1775, Hachinohe Shuzo has been proudly operated by the same family for eight generations. Given special designation by the prefectural government, the facility is comprised of beautiful brick and wood buildings that date back to the Taisho Era (1912-1926) and three kura (storehouses) containing tanks that individually hold around a staggering 2,000 bottles of sake.
They produce an incredible line of award-winning sake varietals, including local favorites Mutsu Otokoyama and Mutsu Hassen, and use only organic rice and yeast from Aomori. Offerings range from dry, full-bodied unpasteurized sake to delicately refined, floral junmai daiginjo, with something for every type of drinking preference in between.
Hachinohe Shuzo is open for tours and tastings, as well as private events upon reservation. I was given a tour by two employees, Miyamoto-san, a hilarious man who (strangely enough) doesn’t really drink, and the lovely Ishida-san, who was quick to refill our glasses and answer any questions. The tour ended in a tasting hall, where I was treated to a pudding made with sake and a video of the brewery’s history.
Before breaking open the prize winners from the IWC, Miyamoto-san facilitated a taste test game, where we had to match three types of Mutsu Otokoyama across two different labeling systems. I can only imagine the chaotic fun to be had with an entire party, and can’t wait to crack open the bottle I brought back as a souvenir.