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LastUpDate: January 12, 2017
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Hakata Culture vol.119


Sake Brewery Tours: A Great Way to Stay Warm in Winter

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 When winter sets in, sake offers a great way to stay warm.  When many people think of Kyushu, they think shochu is king, but there are actually many long-standing sake breweries in Fukuoka. Winter is peak season for sake brewing. Some breweries offer tours and let you sample the wares. From now until February or March is when breweries unveil their newest batches, so it’s the perfect time to pay them a visit.


 Ayasugi, in Minami Ward, was established in 1793. Its eponymous Ayasugi brand derives its name from the ayasugi, a sacred cedar tree at Kashii-gu Shrine in Higashi Ward where the brewery owner’s ancestors were from. From its founding until 1958, the brewery was located in Tenjin, and the original site is now occupied by the brewery’s own Sake Gallery Ayasugi. The shop, which showcases local sake culture, offers typical Fukuoka-style kakuuchi (stand-and-drink) service on the weekends.


 Ishikura Shuzo in Hakata Ward traces its history back to Ishikuraya, a merchant house that accompanied the Kuroda Clan when they moved to Fukuoka and began brewing sake in the late Edo period. The company’s Hakata Hyakunen-gura, which still stands today, was built in 1870. Featuring white walls and a brick chimney, this traditional style warehouse has been registered by the national government as a tangible cultural property. Inside there is also a restaurant, which is a popular venue Japanese wedding receptions.


 Finally, Hamachi Shuzo, located in Nishi Ward, was founded in 1870 and is known for its Suginoya brand of sake. The characters used in the name refer to cedar trees (sugi) and Noh theater. It is said that the first generation owner was such a fan of the outdoor Noh performed on the grounds of Fukuoka Castle that he had some large sugi trees felled to make a Noh stage. In addition to sake, Hamachi Shuzo also serves craft beer as well as pizza and other foods made from sake lees and yeast. In winter, its Itoshima oysters are another popular menu item.



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冬は酒蔵めぐりで温かくなろう

 寒くなってくると美味しくなるのが日本酒。九州は焼酎のイメージが強く、日本酒が盛んな印象はあまりありませんが、実は福岡市内にも昔ながらの酒造りを続ける酒造場がいくつか残っています。これからのシーズンは日本酒造りの最盛期。見学や試飲、飲食スペースのある酒蔵もあり、2~3月にかけては新酒の蔵開きも行われるので、ぜひ訪れてみてください。


 南区の綾杉酒造場は寛政5(1793)年創業。酒の銘柄にもなっている「綾杉」という名称は、店主の祖先が香椎の出身だったことから、東区にある香椎宮のご神木「綾杉」に由来しています。創業から昭和33(1958)年までは中央区天神に酒造場があり、現在この創業の地には「酒のぎゃらりぃ・綾杉」があります。福岡の地酒や日本酒に関する文化を発信し、週末には角打ちも楽しめます。


 博多区の石蔵酒造は、黒田家が藩主として福岡に入った際に帯同してきた御用商人「石蔵屋」が、江戸時代後期に酒造りを始めたことに由来しています。現在も残る「博多百年蔵」と呼ばれる建物は明治3(1870)年に建てられたもの。白壁土蔵にレンガの煙突を持ち、国の登録有形文化財になっています。レストランを併設していて、和風の結婚式場としても人気が高い場所です。


 明治3(1870)年に創業したのが西区にある浜地酒造。「杉能舎」という銘柄で知られていますが、初代が無類の芸事好きで、福岡城で行われた薪能にいたく心酔し、裏山の杉の大木で能舞台を造ったというエピソードに由来しているそうです。日本酒だけでなく地ビールや酒粕・酵母を使った料理もあり、できたてのビールやピザが味わえます。冬は糸島の漁港でとれる新鮮なカキも人気。