Sake to me, Texas Sake Company
Yoed Anis is the president and toji (master brewer) at Texas Sake Company, one of Central Texas' newest adult beverage producers. He's banking on Texans having a taste for organic, premium sake made right here in Austin. After attending the University of Texas, Anis spent a year living in Japan and fell in love with sake. He decided he had to give it a try and started Texas Sake, one of the U.S.'s first micro-kuras (sake breweries).
"I was very fortunate that Texas grows the right kind of rice for sake," Anis tells us. "Historically, Texans were growing long-grain rice, but around the 1900s, the Japanese government was hoping to find new places to provide rice for their growing empire. They found parts of Texas where their preferred, medium-grain rice would grow perfectly, so they lent their methods and their own medium-grain rice. Some of what we grow in Texas is still part of that rice they sent. It's actually genetically close to the rice the Japanese used 100 years ago, so we are using older methods to make our sake."
Anis sources his organic medium-grain rice down around Wharton and Bay City and, surprisingly to me, at least, thinks Austin water makes a nice alcoholic beverage (so does Tito's Vodka, by the way). Texas Sake Company makes two types of sake: The Whooping Crane Tokubetsu Junmai (junmai is sake made purely from rice and water) is its premium sake, filtered and fruity. Rising Star Nigori Cloud Junmai (nigori means something close to cloudy) is unfiltered and just slightly sweet. It's Anis' choice to pair with big-flavored foods.
The Texas Sake Company's tasting room at 5501 N. Lamar Ste. A-115 will be open by appointment only because of sanitation concerns. However, the sake is available online (www.txsake.com), and Anis hopes to soon find both restaurants and stores to carry his brews. Texas Sake's opening day was Oct. 1, which was also International Sake Day. The company's first bottles will go on sale in a couple of weeks.