Mac10 Sake Tasting
By Elycia Watson, Alumni Blogger
On July 26th The Mac10 Social committee organized a tour and tasting at the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company
in the Toronto Distillery District. It was my first time visiting the Distillery District and I can finally say that I understand why everyone is always asking "Have you been to the Distillery District?". The streets are really beautiful and it is such a neat place to walk around.
While we were waiting for the tour to start we spoke to the owner and found out the significance of the big hanging brown ball above the doorway. Traditionally these large cedar balls are hung over the door of sake breweries to let customers know that the sake is ready. How cool is that?
The Ontario Spring Water Sake Company, along with Mill Street Brewery, is one of the only buildings in the Distillery District where brewing still happens. The inside of the building and the brewing area is fairly small but is large enough to produce several varieties of sake in the traditional "pure rice" style. I am pretty familiar with brewing beer and the sake brewing process is kind of similar in the sense that you are extracting sugars from grains, in this case, rice.
After we all learned some sake brewing secrets we got to taste some of the freshly pressed, unpasteurized and unfiltered sake made on site. This was probably the best part of the tour for me, not because I couldn't wait to get my drink on, but because I learned that I actually do like sake. I had tried sake in the past and had not been a fan, so I was pleasantly surprised when I didn't make a funny face while taking a sip in front of the people who brewed the sake. Not only did I not make a funny face, I really enjoyed it! Fresh sake is absolutely delicious! We tried a few different varieties, all served in these cute little cups with blue rings in the bottom. We were told that the blue rings are for checking the sake's clarity
It seemed like everyone had a great time sampling sake, snacking and mingling. Izumi sake, the brand produced by the Ontario Spring Water Company is available for sale at the brewery (as well as at the LCBO) and after getting to sample the sake quite a few people left with a take home bottle. The brewery gave us a parting gift of a sake cup to allow proper drinking of future sake along with the Mac10 gift of a set of magnets. You really can't go wrong with a beautiful setting, learning something new, good sake, friendly faces and a beautiful night.
Photos by Elycia Watson