AUSTIN, TX – Texas, with its rough and tumble reputation, might be the last place you’d expect to find a saké brewery. But here in the state’s capital, the Texas Saké Company has staked a claim as the state’s first and only saké brewery. And even more impressive than their ‘lone star’ status, is the fact that they’re using Calrose rice when brewing up the iconic beverage.
“Unlike the traditional Japanese styles, which tend to be very clean and delicate, American sakés using Japonica very much love food,” says Trevor Wight, spokesperson for the brewery. “Calrose rice has a robust taste. The initial flavors are nutty and savory with a fruit finish, which makes it perfect for brewing hearty American saké.” This bold taste pairs nicely with a number of American cuisines, including southern home-style, Cajun, and even barbecue.
Adventurous culinary trends is one reason Wight feels Central Texas is the perfect place to brew saké, as well as the unique flavor of the mineral-rich aquifer water of the area.
One of the brewery’s goals is to bring quality saké made with U.S. rice to new markets. “Most Americans’ exposure has been to mass-produced, lower-quality saké,” says Wight. “I’ve found that when you put a good saké in front of most people, they’re impressed. Plus there’s a general oversaturation in the beer and spirits market in the U.S., and people are starting to turn to other options.”
Texas Saké Company, located in the North Loop neighborhood of Austin, gives weekly public tours of the facility, explanations of their methods, and tastings of rice in the various stages of fermentation.
According to Wight, the company is looking into experimenting with other kinds of rice -- provided, of course, that it’s U.S.-grown.