Introducing the rich and robust Meat Lovers Only Junmai Sake. Created by 29ON, a members only meat-specializing restaurant in the Gunma prefecture, this rare Junmai is brewed in small quantities and was specifically crafted to enhance the natural umami flavor of meat. The brewers at 29ON had a vision for this brew, and were guided by awase dashi, a fundamental ingredient of Japanese cuisine that combines fish dashi and kombu seaweed dashi. Separately, each component has its own unique and savory umami, but when combined to make an awase dashi, the umami becomes greater and more intense. Consequently, the team at 29ON inferred that by including two groups of umami-carrying molecules, (nucleic acids like inosinic acid and amino acids like glutamic acid) the resulting umami taste is much more evident than the sum of each group taken individually. This can be seen through the large amounts of glutamic acid that are produced during the fermentation process, which works in synergy with the inosinic acids frequently found in meat to create that mouth watering umami enhancing combination General Manager Masatoshi “Sanchez” Shimoda had initially imagined.
If you take a look at the Meat Lovers Only, the team does a great job of providing easily accessible instruction on how to best drink their sake, as well as taking customers behind the scenes on their thought process and fascinating concept. Masatoshi Shimoda insisted on his sake being served warm (113 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact), so along with my tasting party I took my first sip of the flavorful and balanced beverage. The outfit of neighbors I had invited over to taste this rare brew were amazed at the texture and taste notes that were clearly very mild, earthy and deep. For the decently high alcoholic ABV of 16% that this Junmai carries, I was stunned at how little of an alcoholic aftertaste there was, but the brewers planned this as to not affect and overpower the flavor of the meat one would undoubtedly pair with this sake.
As I’ve done in the past with other brew reviews, and knowing the sole reason this sake was created, I had to see if the Meat Lovers Only Junmai Sake truly enhanced the flavor of meat. With the help of my guests, we prepared a delicious steak bites dish with no additional seasoning as to truly understand the impact the acids in this sake had on the flavor of the beef. After the first few bites, washed down by a sip or two of warm Junmai, it was evident that the Meat Lovers Only Junmai Sake not only brought out the umami flavoring one would expect from such a savory piece of meat, but it made it EXPLODE. In my opinion, the robustness of this brew is well equipped to handle any kind of meat no matter the seasoning, size or method of preparation. Additionally, it is important to note that the forgiving alcoholic taste did not overwhelm the savor of our incredible tenderloin bites.
In conclusion, my tasting party was stunned at the drinkability of this rich and flavorfully balanced Junmai sake. The liquid itself is cleverly packaged in a gorgeous clear brown bottle, depicting a picture of an outlined cow with the insides sectioned off and numbered by the kind of meat it is used to produce. If you are looking for a sake that will complement just about any meat cuisine and enhance the umami flavoring of your dish, look no further than the Meat Lovers Only Junmai Sake.