Adam Blumenshein and Tim Klatt opened Strange Land Brewery in the Westlake area late last year — and not long after, they quickly started taking on a different sort of brewing.
After purchasing the Texas Saké Company when they realized it was about to go under, they’ve spent the past few months developing a new recipe and producing it on a commercial scale with toji (head brewer) Jeff Bell. The saké, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice, is now ready to debut with a big release party on Sunday at the brewery, followed by distribution around Austin at the end of next week.
“The process (for making saké) is a little more nuanced than making beer,” Klatt said. “It takes awhile to brew, and we had to learn all the aspects that go into it, from pressing rice to filtering it and blending it. We’re really pleased with our first few batches.”
On Sunday, you’ll be able to try their two versions of Texas saké, both of which use the same base recipe featuring rice grown right here in the state. One, junmai, is filtered, while the other, junmai nigori, is unfiltered and thus has a cloudiness from the kasu, small bits of rice particles that settle at the bottom. These particles contribute big differences in flavor and mouthfeel, Klatt said.
“Our junmai sake is very crisp and semi-dry with a great bouquet of honeysuckle and lilac and flavors of green apple and pear,” he said. “The nigori has the enhanced mouthfeel (from the kasu), and it’s got more of a flavor of oats, some creaminess and a warm licorice finish.”