Episode 143 Show Notes

Episode 143. Lights, Camera, Action! This week we are joined by fellow podcaster, film buff and sake fanatic Ben Haslar, from the Reels of Justice podcast to talk sakes and film. We focus primarily on the famous Birth of Sake documentary from 2015, a film that explores sake making at Ishikawa prefecture’s Yoshida Shuzoten, the makers of the Tedorigawa brand of sake. If you haven’t seen the Birth of Sake film yet, please watch it before listening! Seriously… Spoiler Alert! To pair with our discussion, we taste the flagship Tedorigawa sake – their Yamahai Junmai. In addition to The Birth of Sake, Ben recommends his other top 3 movies that feature sake. Alright Mr. DeMille, listen in, as sake is ready for its close up! #SakeRevolution

Skip to: 00:19 Hosts Welcome and Introduction
Welcome to the show from John and Timothy

Skip to: 01:47 Ben Haslar and the Reels of Justice Podcast

Photo Ben Haslar
Learn more about the Reels of Justice Podcast here:

About the Reels of Justice Podcast
Reels of Justice is a podcast where movies are put on trial. In most episodes, this involves determining whether or not a movie is guilty of being bad, with the movie being presumed innocent until proven otherwise. However, on occasion a trial will involve arguing over which of two movies with a common theme or other connection is the superior one.

The recurring cast consists of Ben Haslar (who also provides the voice of the bailiff), Robb Maynard, Ryan Luis Rodriguez, and Dylan J. Schlender. They take on the roles of judge, prosecutor, defense, and jurors. The cast changes roles from episode to episode, with the judge role often doubling as a juror. A guest will also be present, who in most cases takes on the role of either prosecutor or defense.

The proceedings mimic a common law jury trial. The prosecutor and defense begin with opening statements. The prosecutor presents evidence that the movie in question is bad, with the defense cross-examining. Then the defense presents evidence that the movie is good, or at least not bad, with the prosecutor cross-examining. Both the prosecutor and defense offer closing statements and the jurors leave to deliberate. Unlike a true common law jury trial in which a unanimous decision is required to convict, a majority vote is all that’s needed to secure a guilty verdict. After the verdict is delivered, a court reporter (portrayed by one of the regulars) asks the prosecutor and defense about their thoughts on the verdict. It concludes with a post-trial analysis, in which the regulars break character as they and the guest talk about the proceedings. Before signing off, everyone gives a movie recommendation, usually one that has an association with the movie that was on trial.

SOURCE: Mystery Science Theater 3000 WIKI https://mst3k.fandom.com/wiki/Reels_of_Justice

☛ Listen to Timothy’s Episode on Reels of Justice Podcast ☚

Kanpai! The Sake Samurai Timothy Sullivan (“Sake Revolution”) unsheathes his katana against his most hated adversary, 2003’s period war film, “The Last Samurai.” *** Prosecutor: Timothy Sullivan. Defense: Big Ben Haslar. Judge: The Honorable Maynard Bangs. Jurors: Maynard Bangs, Dylan J. Schlender, Ryan Luis Rodriguez. *** Advisory: Silvana Carranza. Prologue: Kirk R. Thatcher. Original Theme: WT Golden.


About the Birth of Sake Documentary

In a world where most mass produced goods are heavily automated, a small group of manual laborers must brave unusual working conditions to preserve a 2000-year-old tradition that we have come to know as saké.

The Birth of Saké is a cinematic documentary that reveals the story of passionate saké-makers and what it takes to make world-class saké at Yoshida Brewery, a 144-year-old family-owned small brewery in northern Japan.

The workers at Yoshida Brewery are an eclectic cast of characters, ranging from 20 to 70 years old. As a vital part of this cast that must live and work for a six-month period through the brutal winter, charismatic veteran brewmaster Yamamoto (65) and the brewery’s sixth-generation heir, Yasuyuki Yoshida (27), are keepers of this tradition, and are the main characters who bring the narrative forward.

Currently, stiff competition and the eventual retirement of experienced workers intensify the pressure of preserving quality of taste, tradition and brand reputation for Yoshida Brewery. Surrounded by 1,000 competitors, Yoshida must surface as a worthy contender in a market overrun by choices. While the narrative follows the brewery’s energy and ambition to survive, the characters remain central to the storytelling. As artisans who must dedicate their whole lives to the making of this world-class saké, their private sacrifices are often sizable and unseen.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BirthOfSake
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BirthofSake
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thebirthofsake/
Website: https://www.birthofsake.com/
IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3903322/
Amazon Video: https://www.amazon.com/Birth-Sak%C3%A9-Teruyuki-Yamamoto/dp/B01J4SN6YK
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birth_of_Saké
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hWQew9ePFg

Skip to: 18:28 Sake Tasting: Tedorigawa Yamahai Junmai

Tedorigawa Yamahai Junmai

Seimaibuai: 60%
SMV: +6.0
Rice Type: Gohyakumangoku
Prefecture: Ishikawa
Classification: Junmai, Yamahai
Alcohol: 15.8%
Brewery: Yoshida Shuzoten
Brand: Tedorigawa (手取川)
Importer/Distributor: World Sake Imports (USA)

view on UrbanSake.com

Purchase on TippsySake.com: Tedorigawa Yamahai Junmai
NOTE: Use Discount Code “REVOLUTION” for 10% off your first order with Tippsy Sake.

Skip to: 31:32 Show Closing

This is it! Join us next time for another episode of Sake Revolution!

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Episode 143 Transcript

John Puma: 0:21
Hello everybody and welcome to Sake Revolution. This is America’s First Sake podcast and I am your host, John Puma, from the Sake Notes, I’m also the administrator over at the Internet Sake Discord and the lead mod over at Reddit slash sake community.

Timothy Sullivan: 0:39
And I’m your host, Timothy Sullivan. I’m a Sake Samurai. I’m a sake educator, as well as the founder of the Urban Sake website. And every week John and I will be here tasting and chatting about all things sake and doing our best to make it fun and easy to understand.

John Puma: 0:55
Well, Tim,

Timothy Sullivan: 0:57
Hey, John.

John Puma: 0:57
have you, have you been to the movies in a while?

Timothy Sullivan: 1:01
Not in person.

John Puma: 1:03
Not in person. No. You have not. When was the last time you actually set foot in a theater?

Timothy Sullivan: 1:06
Oh gosh. Maybe six months ago.

John Puma: 1:09
Oh, that’s, that’s not that bad.

Timothy Sullivan: 1:11

John Puma: 1:12
I feel like for me it’s been at least a year

Timothy Sullivan: 1:14
Oh my gosh.

John Puma: 1:15
Yeah, it’s been a while. I don’t, I don’t get out to the theater that often and that’s what, not as often as I would like, but you know, are you a fan of film? Generally speaking.

Timothy Sullivan: 1:22
I am,

John Puma: 1:24
Alright, that’s good.

Timothy Sullivan: 1:25
I’m most a fan of is when I see sake in movies.

John Puma: 1:29
Ah, so you don’t get to see that many films then.

Timothy Sullivan: 1:32
No, I don’t, but I do know someone who can tell us a lot about sake in the movies. We have a special subject matter expert on the show

John Puma: 1:44
today. Ooh, who this

Timothy Sullivan: 1:47
Yes. I wanna welcome our friend and big sake fan, Ben Haslar. he’s coming to us from the Reels of Justice Film Podcast and we’re gonna talk to him today about movies and sake. So Ben, welcome to the show. It’s so good to have you.

Ben Haslar: 2:04
Thanks. It’s great to be here. I’ve been an avid listener of this show since day five, so this is a thrill for me.

John Puma: 2:12
All right. That’s great. And, um, Uh, we already know that you’re a big movie fan. how did you get started with sake though?

Ben Haslar: 2:19
How did I get started with sake? You know, I’ve always, uh, had it from like the sushi restaurants and stuff that, you know, everyone’s had. Uh, and I liked it and it’s not bad. my aha moment might not wow anybody, but it, for me, it was, uh, the Momo Kawa Ruby, uh, that, that I. Had chilled for the first time, which is not available anymore, sadly. Uh, but that sort of kicked off my, okay, now I gotta try everything on this shelf, and I don’t even remember what my second one was, but it was a long and lovely journey ever since then.

John Puma: 2:47
Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Timothy Sullivan: 2:48
We’ll, we’ll keep that aha moment on the DL for now. Yeah. Now, you are a member of the Reels of Justice Film Podcast. Can you tell us a little bit about your podcast and how it connects to movies?

Ben Haslar: 3:04
Yes. Uh, I’m a cinematic lawyer. Uh, we kind of have a joke where like we put movies on trial to see whether they’re guilty of being a bad movie or not. So it’s somewhat reminiscent of the show. Mystery Science theater, if you’ve ever seen that. Uh, but we, the, the good thing about the show is you get both sides of it. You have a lawyer who’s unabashedly pro and a lawyer that’s unabashedly against it. So you see both sides of, of each film.

Timothy Sullivan: 3:28
Well, full disclosure, yours truly, Timothy Sullivan. I was a guest lawyer on an episode in February, and Ben you and I went head to head, didn’t we?

Ben Haslar: 3:40
Yes. And you, you beat me, sir. You beat me handily. I don’t wanna spoil it, but it was, it was such a great, uh, recording. We talked about, uh, the last Samurai, a film I still like, but I do admit it has. Flaws. and it was such a great discussion and Timothy was so great on that show. No joke. We talked for 20 minutes after he hung up about how great he was on it. So you should absolutely head over and check it out. And John, you’re coming over Someday too, I hope.

John Puma: 4:05
At some point. At some, I, I was supposed to make the last Samurai, uh, edition, unfortunately, uh, COVID had other plans for me that day. When we, uh, think about sake and we think about movies, I think that, the first movie that comes to mind, uh, for, for a lot of us sake enthusiasts, is gonna be the Birth of Sake, uh, from 2015. Now, so this. When it was in production, they were, or pre-production, they were doing, uh, like a Kickstarter. I was a backer for that movie.

Ben Haslar: 4:35
your name in the credits

John Puma: 4:36
Yeah. Yeah. I’m in the credits.

Ben Haslar: 4:40
right under John

John Puma: 4:42
Uh, wow. Good. Lucky me. Tim, did you, were you, uh, at the ground floor on this

Timothy Sullivan: 4:47
one I was a backer as well.

John Puma: 4:49

Timothy Sullivan: 4:50
it through their Kickstarter, but I wasn’t listed under the Kickstarter supporters For some reason. They had a, a title of special thanks, and I got put on the special thanks,

John Puma: 5:01

Timothy Sullivan: 5:02
would’ve, I could have been on both, honestly.

John Puma: 5:05
I mean, I’ll take special thanks if I can, if I can get it. That’s pretty good, I think.

Ben Haslar: 5:09
I put you first, right? You’re thanked first and then

John Puma: 5:14

Timothy Sullivan: 5:14
Ben, I know you’ve seen the Birth of Sake, it’s kind of the big kahuna when you talk about sake in movies, especially cuz it came out relatively recently. Do you wanna give us a little bit of a summary from your point of view, a high level summary of what this, movie’s about?

Ben Haslar: 5:30
Uh, yeah. It’s a very, Contemplative look at one particular brewery Tedorigawa Brewery, uh, which does things in the very traditional fashion, uh, as opposed to, you know, they could put it against like the, the modern ways of doing things where everything’s kind of done by machine. All of this is done by hand and is done with great intentionality, uh, carry on their traditions, like going way, way back. So that is the focus of the Birth of Sake. It’s, it’s a very intentional film.

Timothy Sullivan: 5:58
Yeah, and I, I think a major theme of the documentary is the transition of generation. Like they, they talk a lot about the older master brewer, the older toji. Yamamoto San and he’s getting on in years and he’s passing the torch to the son of the current president, uh, Yoshida San who’s gonna take over. And it’s this moment of transition in the brewery too, from an older generation to a younger generation. I think that’s a major theme in the movie as well, and we have to stop and say, if you have not seen the Birth of Sake yet, Then you have to stop the podcast immediately, go watch it. And there may be some spoilers in our comments to come, so

Ben Haslar: 6:45
There are spoilers in sake movies.

Timothy Sullivan: 6:47
Yes, believe it, or not.

John Puma: 6:49
Believe it or not, it does happen. It does happen.

Timothy Sullivan: 6:51
Alright, so John, John, what are your impressions of the Birth of Sake?

John Puma: 6:55
Well, for me, the, the first thing that came to mind as a, I remember, I do remember like the first time I saw it and I was just like, this is beautiful. And it was just, it does such a great job of making you feel like you are, there and you are, you are in there, you know, brewing the sake with this crew and you really. They did, they did such a great job getting like the fly on the wall, sort of like, you’re kind of like hearing conversations that maybe you’re not supposed to be overhearing, that kind of thing.

Timothy Sullivan: 7:26

Ben Haslar: 7:26
This is what used to be used. Don’t tell anyone.

Timothy Sullivan: 7:30
I mean there, there was a scene of three of the brewers over 70 plus kind of frolicking in the onsen bath, so,

Ben Haslar: 7:37
Full frontal male nudity isn’t also not what I would’ve expected in a sake movie.

John Puma: 7:42
So we’ve got, what kind of surprises do we have in store for us in the birth of sake? Number one? Spoilers. Number two, naked kurabito.

Ben Haslar: 7:50
It is, it is a cultural difference though. It’s not, it’s not gratuitous or anything.

John Puma: 7:54
No, no, no.

Ben Haslar: 7:55
And also like a great sense of community in the movie. That’s also like the third thing that it hits very, very heavily. Cuz these people are stuck together for six months. They have to work together at like 5:00 AM until late in the night every day with probably like little breaks here and there. Uh, you, you probably don’t even have enough time to like get out and do anything. Like you couldn’t watch the Birth of Sake, like in a full sitting probably.

Timothy Sullivan: 8:19
Yeah. And what about the cinematography? I mean, that just was, I think, one of the highlights of the movie.

Ben Haslar: 8:26
yeah, the black and white shots particularly that they kind of interlay like how sake is made, uh, along with like the traditional journey, uh, throughout those six months. So it’ll talk about like Koji and like have an artistic shot of the. Steam and the raking of the grains and the spores kind of drifting over things and all of that, is very, very beautiful shots. Um, makes me wish that I could go to a brewery just with my camera to, to take some pictures, uh, in that sort of environment.

John Puma: 8:54
Yeah, of the snow and the, and the rice and the bags and the the attire that they have to wear, when they’re working, there’s so much white that they go out, that they go in there and they really make that pop, so to speak, and make it really just look fantastic. It does. It’s a, it’s a beautiful film to look at. It’s just really nice.

Timothy Sullivan: 9:13
Well, I do have a little bit of feedback, or not criticism, but they’re, they’re having watched it a few times now. There, there are a couple things that I think could have been done a little differently. I don’t know what you guys feel about this, but they start the movie with rice steaming and Koji making, and then they jump back to rice milling and washing, and they have these, Text things that pop up to give you some information about the step they’re showing and they’re, they’re out of order in the movie. And then they also jump from the brewers stuck in the brewery for those six months and they have these flashes to the Tochi with this family. And they go back and forth and back and forth. And

Ben Haslar: 10:00
Yes, that I. do agree with.

Timothy Sullivan: 10:02
Yeah, I think if, if they wanted to give that sense of like, oh, we’re in a cage here. We’re isolated six months. I think they could have done that and then released them to their family and then showed them going back for the next year at the very end of the movie as they did. I think it would’ve had more impact if they sliced up the movie a little differently.

Ben Haslar: 10:22
Yeah, but then the tasting of the sake would be like sort of at that two thirds mark. And that’s kinda what you wanna say for the end. Like the, the, you know, the fruits of their labor, them drinking sake.

John Puma: 10:32
I understand where you’re coming from, Tim, but my thought on it is really that where they choose to start that movie, um, with them, you know, washing the rice and steaming the rice, it, it is so well shot and it is. Engrossing that you are hooked and you’re in for the rest of it. And I think that’s why they chose it was like the most, it was the most impressive visually, um, part of the film. And I think it, I think they’re using that to kind of hook the viewer and get them a hundred percent invested to see what’s gonna happen next. Uh, yeah, it is out of order because of that, but I think that they, I think it was probably just a creative decision to get their, like best foot forward.

Ben Haslar: 11:10
I agree with that. I, I’ve read this on a review, so this isn’t my original thought, but someone said like, give it 15 minutes and if you’re not interested, and you probably won’t be, but odds are in that first 15 minutes, it will have you interested in how sake is made.

John Puma: 11:23
Yeah, and I also think that it’s probably also a decision of theirs to intercut those shots so that the, the viewer isn’t, It doesn’t feel like they’re stuck in a brewery for six months necessarily.

Ben Haslar: 11:34
Some of

John Puma: 11:34
understand that the, we understand that they are, but giving them the contrast of seeing them with their families, that they’re being denied, I guess maybe was meant to be a little, give you a little bit of chance to breathe.

Ben Haslar: 11:44
I do like your thought on that though, Timothy. I’d like to see a different cut on that. Just to see like if you do get that caged in sort of version, it’d be like if, if you’ve seen Memento, you know, like it’s sort of inter spliced, like release a cut that’s like that, just like completely sequential and see how it changes the, the feeling of the film. The Timothy cut will be released soon. I hope.

John Puma: 12:03
the Sullivan

Timothy Sullivan: 12:04
Well, Ben, you know, you know, I’m a stickler for historical

Ben Haslar: 12:08
Yes, absolutely.

Timothy Sullivan: 12:11
Yeah, I, I really liked this movie. I saw it in 2015 when it first came out and watched it again recently, as we said a couple days ago. And I appreciated it even more, and I think that the fact that they jumped around in time and jumped around in the process a little bit. Didn’t bother me as much as it did the first time. But I think I was looking at it very much from a sake professional’s point of view. And this time I had a little bit more like, what if I was just a consumer knowing, very little about sake, and it, it, I let it wash over me a little bit more. Just the visuals and just going with the flow and it’s still really enjoyable, but I think it could have been that much more impactful if they, if they arranged the timeline a little differently.

Ben Haslar: 12:55
Yeah, no, I agree. but yeah, the first time I saw it was before I listened to Sake Revolution. So as far as the order, I didn’t really think anything of it. Uh, and then this time I was like so engrossed with like the artistic shots of it, I. Wasn’t really thinking about order, cuz it’s like, yeah, yeah, I know there’s koji, I know there’s steaming. I know there’s all this stuff and it looks so good that it’s hard to argue.

John Puma: 13:13
Yeah. I think that anybody who’s interested in how sake is made, uh, should definitely watch this film. I think that especially if you’re, if you’re a visual learner, it’s like such a, like, you’re, you’re in there, you know, you’re in the trenches. Uh, that’s great.

Timothy Sullivan: 13:26
should we talk about the big spoiler of all the spoilers of this movie? I

John Puma: 13:32
Uh, I mean, it’s up to you. listeners at home. This is your last chance to hit pause.

Ben Haslar: 13:39
How are you not hooked yet? How have you not turned this

John Puma: 13:41
know. Hit pause. Do that and then come on back.

Ben Haslar: 13:43
Yeah, this was sort of like the big emphasis on community, how everyone’s like sort of stuck in there because there is a death that happens later in the film and they’re still so stuck to the brewery. Like they can’t leave all this, these tanks alone for, um, for like even a couple hours that they couldn’t even like attend a funeral. So that there is a big emotional gut punch at the end of this film.

Timothy Sullivan: 14:03
Yeah, so there is a very shocking death of one of the younger brewers and it. Really throws you for a loop because you’ve come to learn everybody’s names at this point and a little bit of their personality, and they show them interacting after hours and how they really are just all thrown together. And they have to live together. Now, I, I worked at a brewery for one year, and my experience was very different because the setup at the brewery where I worked was much more like a nine to five schedule. Like they would schedule people to come in and work the overnight shift, but they didn’t sleep at the brewery. We all didn’t eat every meal together. There was a lunch cafeteria where people could all have lunch together, but people commuted to work and sometimes worked an overnight shift, but it wasn’t like, Every like six or seven people living together. So I had a very different experience, but that’s definitely the old school way to do things.

John Puma: 15:02
I do think that that, emphasis that they have during the story about like how the, doing things in the old way and it’s the only, they say it’s the only way to like get, to make good sake, uh, and that we need to keep making good sake in this way or el sake is not gonna survive. They, they really they, they’re living this, this idea. They’re not just, this is not just a job

Ben Haslar: 15:19
Well, it’s their tradition as well. I mean, they have a, a tradition for this brewery that’s been handed down specifically for them.

Timothy Sullivan: 15:25
And one thing that I really love is at the very end, they show the what happens to each of the characters that’s working there. And two of the six or seven brewers. Choose not to come back for work reasons. So we have one, one pass away, unfortunately. And then two say they choose other paths. And it’s really the older brewers that have the commitment to really come back and continue the brewing season for, another year of hardship. So I, I love that at the end, that they show, like the decisions that each individual brewer makes about continuing on this path or, or not.

John Puma: 16:04
Yeah. And, there’s a bit of foreshadowing at the very beginning where the, the old Toji is, is there and he’s looking at, they show the camera showing all the young kurabito helping out and how they, they needed to bring in some extra help. And he’s talking about how he’s gotta figure out how he’s going to train this young generation to do this cuz cuz they need to pick it up and they need to do it, et cetera, et cetera. And, At the end, he’s kind of still there. You know, at the end. At the end, the older guys are kind of still, holding the ball in a way

Ben Haslar: 16:38
Yeah, they sure make it seem like if you’re not there like all the time and like everyone doesn’t know what they’re doing, like whole years ruined, like midway through, we screwed up one step of it. And this is a bad batch, sorry.

Timothy Sullivan: 16:48
So, what do you guys know about the Tedorigawa brewery? It’s in Ishikawa. Prefecture and I had the chance to visit there a couple times.

John Puma: 16:58
I had a feeling that was gonna be the case.

Timothy Sullivan: 17:01
you thought I might name drop that, John, right?

John Puma: 17:05
Well, you know,

Timothy Sullivan: 17:07
It’s happened before.

John Puma: 17:08
yes. Yes. Once or twice.

Timothy Sullivan: 17:10
Yeah. It’s a smaller brewery, as you mentioned, about six or seven brewers and let’s see when they work. They’re, uh, 145 years old now. Almost a hun coming up to 150 years old

John Puma: 17:25
Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Ben Haslar: 17:26
I think they said the start of the Meiji restoration is when they,

Timothy Sullivan: 17:28
yeah. Yeah. And, uh, we’re actually gonna be tasting one of the sakes from Tedorigawa. That Ben picked out. So it’s uh, one of the sakes you see prominently featured in this movie

Ben Haslar: 17:43
It’s the one they’re making right? Like the Yamahai.

Timothy Sullivan: 17:46
when the son yoshida San goes out to places in New York and around Japan and is basically selling his wares and the off season. This is the label that he’s pouring is the one we’re gonna taste today. So it’s really special and super connected to this movie.

John Puma: 18:05
Yeah. This is kind of their flagship sake. Uh, definitely is like the one you, when you see Tedorigawa someplace, this is the sake you see.

Ben Haslar: 18:13
I’m very excited to try it because I’ve always, I’ve seen this movie and every time I’m ordering sake, I’m like, oh, I should, I should get it. But then I always sort of forget, like I get lazy and I don’t wanna look it up and, and that sort of thing. So this will be so exciting

John Puma: 18:24
So wait, so this, this will be your first time

Ben Haslar: 18:26
for this particular, yeah.

John Puma: 18:28
Wow. Oh that’s gonna be exciting. Oh, that’s great. fantastic. And I think, uh, one more thing we should let the people at home know. By the way, guys, you can come back now., the spoilers are over. Uh, uh, we’re actually gonna be, uh, trying this in two different ways. Oh my goodness. And we’ll tell you what those ways are gonna be in just a moment. But first I’m gonna tell you the stats. So, um, this is of course Tedorigawa Junmai Yamahai, the rice being utilized is, uh gohyakumangoku, uh, the same the rice milling percentage is 60%. The sake meter value, that measure of dryness to sweetness is plus six. So a little bit on the dry side. All right, maybe a little bit, a lot on the dry side., as we mentioned earlier, they are located in Ishikawa pre fixture, and the alcohol percentage is 15.8, and as we mentioned earlier, they are located over in Ishikawa, Prefecture. Ah, so now we kept you in suspense. Tim. What are we gonna do to have this sake? Two ways.

Timothy Sullivan: 19:29
Well, we all have this beautiful Tedorigawa Junmai Yamahai, and we’re gonna be serving it chilled and we’re also gonna try it warmed up. And this was actually Ben’s recommendation because it’s a Yamahai style. So maybe we should just very briefly talk about what Yamahai is. Yamahai is one of the alternate. Fermentation starter methods, and it is something that was developed around the turn of the century and it allows lactic acid to develop naturally and. In a nutshell, Yamahai sakes can be a bit more earthy, a bit more umami driven, and a bit more robust. Typically, uh, there are more elegant examples of Yamahai and more rustic examples of Yamahai, but in a nutshell, if you had to explain it quickly, they tend to have a bit more earthiness and a bit more umami to them. So we have this sake, the tewa, Junmai, Yamahai. We have it chilled, and I have a wine glass here. So to get things started, why don’t we pour our chilled sake into the wine glass and give that a taste as a baseline.

John Puma: 20:39
It sounds like a plan to me.

Ben Haslar: 20:41
I really love this label too, that it’s got like sort of the old style of them making sake, like where they’re all like using the old tubs and stuff. It kind of kind of echoes what they’re doing in the movie.

John Puma: 20:51

Timothy Sullivan: 20:51
Ben, that is such a great point. If you look at the label closely, and they’ve had this label for years, it’s like a woodblock print, isn’t it? And they’re shirtless just like they were in the movie.

John Puma: 21:03
Wow. They are wearing underwear. This time though.

Timothy Sullivan: 21:05
Yeah. Yes. Alright. So you have it in the glass.

John Puma: 21:09

Timothy Sullivan: 21:09
All right. Let’s give it a

John Puma: 21:10
Ben. All right.

Timothy Sullivan: 21:13
Mm. smells delicious.

John Puma: 21:15
Yeah, I think this is what our friend of the show, Byron Stithem would call a pretty Yamahai

Timothy Sullivan: 21:21

John Puma: 21:22
is it does have a nice gentle aroma.

Ben Haslar: 21:25
It does. Makes me wonder if my heating ideas is gonna work out. Cuz usually it’s like those like kind

John Puma: 21:30
Well, we’re gonna find out, hold that thought.

Timothy Sullivan: 21:34
Yeah, so lovely., there’s a very gentle rice aroma, bit of sweetness on the aroma., maybe a hint of yeast as well, but just really, very balanced and attractive aroma as well. Don’t you think, Ben?

Ben Haslar: 21:50
Yes, although you describe it much better than I do, uh, my, my sense of smell is not my, my best sense, taste is, is much, much better.

Timothy Sullivan: 21:58
Right. Well,

John Puma: 22:00
I think that’s a hint, Tim.

Timothy Sullivan: 22:03
in honor of your sense of taste, let’s give it a taste.

Ben Haslar: 22:09
Wow. I would not have pegged that as a Yamahai, just like blind.

Timothy Sullivan: 22:12

John Puma: 22:14
You know, Junmai definitely, but Yamahai not necessarily because it is again, pretty.

Timothy Sullivan: 22:21

Ben Haslar: 22:22
is. Yeah. Uh, I mean, it’s not quite as like fruity or whatever as, as a lot of those other ones are. So it is being pulled back a little bit with, with the graininess. I guess. That’s the Gokyakumangoku talking.

Timothy Sullivan: 22:33
Yeah. Yeah. Gohyakumangoku is typically a rice from niigata. It’s known for its ricey-ness, but it’s restraint and I think that dials back some of the earthiness that you normally would expect from a Yamahai using that gohyakumangoku rice grain. Gives them a chance to bring out a bit of elegance in this Yamahai and it has a, John, I’m gonna use the word, it has a wisp. It has a wisp of earthiness.

John Puma: 23:04
a wisp of earthiness. Oh,

Timothy Sullivan: 23:05
it has a wisp of earthiness, but it is really balanced and ricey in the right ways and they found an elegance to the Yamahai. I think that’s really super enjoyable.

John Puma: 23:18
Hmm. Excellent. Well, now we got a little water to clean the palate before we dive into the warm version.

Timothy Sullivan: 23:25
Guys, so what temperature have you warmed your Tedorigawa up to? Uh, I will. Let you know I use the sousvide method, so I put a sousvide stick into a pot of water, and I warmed mine up to 110 Fahrenheit. Ben, how about you?

Ben Haslar: 23:44
I have less control over it. I’ve heard 105 is the magic number., and I have a sort of, sake warmer that has like a candle underneath it, and it tends to keep it at about that, that level. so I don’t have the thermometer on me, but I, I usually trust it. It’s, it’s somewhere north of 100, less than 110.

Timothy Sullivan: 24:00
Okay. And John, how about you?

John Puma: 24:02
according to the manual for my twin bird, it is atsukan level, uh, in which they are reading as, uh, 122.

Ben Haslar: 24:10

Timothy Sullivan: 24:11

John Puma: 24:12
Yeah. I can bring it down to Jo-kan.

Timothy Sullivan: 24:17
There’s no

John Puma: 24:17
I’m just gonna

Timothy Sullivan: 24:18

John Puma: 24:18
There’s no going back. Yeah, exactly. It’s gonna say funky if I go

Timothy Sullivan: 24:21
Alright, let’s pour it and give it a taste.

Ben Haslar: 24:24
And that smell went away with the heat, but maybe it’s the cup.

Timothy Sullivan: 24:27
Oh, the aroma’s very different.

John Puma: 24:30

Timothy Sullivan: 24:31
Yeah, we can smell them side by side. Oh my gosh. Compared to what’s in my. Little ceramic cup here. The wine glass is smelling fruity in comparison, and it didn’t smell fruity

John Puma: 24:43

Timothy Sullivan: 24:44

John Puma: 24:44
no, I get a lot of, uh, steamed rice, um, on the nose with the warmed version.

Timothy Sullivan: 24:49
All right. Let’s give it a taste. Oh

Ben Haslar: 24:52
That is different.

Timothy Sullivan: 24:54
It’s good.

Ben Haslar: 24:56
It is. Um, I, yeah, I take it back. I do prefer it warm. So my, my streak of preferring Yamahai is warm, is, is still unchanged. Uh, but yeah, I, this is what I love about sake is how it changes not just from bottle to bottle, but temperature to temperature. You can just have so much fun exploring it.

Timothy Sullivan: 25:12
Oh my gosh. For me, when it, when it’s warmed up, the, it feels like the rice is like dragged out to the front and like, this is what it’s all about. In the warm state. It tastes so much more rice and rich. And normally for me, the texture becomes a little more velvety when it’s warmed. But I feel like there’s, there’s uh, just a little bit of sharpness here when it’s warmed, but the rice flavor really dominates for.

John Puma: 25:40
Mm-hmm. Yeah. It is powerfully Ricey. But the texture, you’re, you’re not wrong about that texture. it’s, it’s a bit of a change. It’s so silky.

Timothy Sullivan: 25:48

John Puma: 25:48
very smooth. Now.

Ben Haslar: 25:49
Yeah, it’s like rice and then silk and then sort of that like alcohol burn at the end. So there’s like that fun journey that that it goes through, which is, which is a lot of fun.

Timothy Sullivan: 25:58
Yeah. But can you imagine if you were like, Out in the middle of the ishikawa, winter brewing sake at midnight and you were freezing cold. This would be like the elixir of life, I think.

John Puma: 26:09
This would be, this would be a godsend in that scenario. but my, my apartment’s actually kind of warm, so I think I was preferring, uh, cold out of the glass. But I think I’m in the minority in this group. Ben already weighed in. He thinks he likes it better. Warm. Tim, you’re the tiebreaker.

Timothy Sullivan: 26:23
Oh, just like on the Reels of Justice podcast,

Ben Haslar: 26:26
Oh no.

Timothy Sullivan: 26:28
I am gonna vote for the warm sake.

Ben Haslar: 26:31
Yes. I knew you’d see things my way, Timothy.

Timothy Sullivan: 26:35
Sorry, John. No, it’s just, it’s so special. It is cold out. So to have a warm sake, to have that super rich rice flavor is just has a little bit of sake magic tonight. So I couldn’t resist.

John Puma: 26:50
Hey guys. Go back and taste it when it’s cold now. It’s so fruity.

Ben Haslar: 26:56
It is, it almost tastes different than when you had it the first time. That is so odd.

John Puma: 27:01
It is so fruity now. Like I thought it was gonna kind of taste the same. I thought the aroma was gonna be a little different, but when I took that sip, I was like, wow, there’s a whole nother, a whole nother world in the sake. After I have the warm sake, it kind of pairs in an interesting way.

Timothy Sullivan: 27:17

Ben Haslar: 27:17
This might be my new favorite, Yamahai. I haven’t had it before. I like it. It it has, i I, I do like those, like Junmai ginjos and it sort of hits all of that sort of What’s special about that and what’s special about, um, about the heated sake.

John Puma: 27:30
It does tricks.

Ben Haslar: 27:31
does tricks.

John Puma: 27:34

Timothy Sullivan: 27:34
right. Well, Ben, I know you’re a movie expert and you have this podcast related to movies. So for our listeners who are interested in sake featured in movies beyond the Birth of Sake, uh, what movies can you recommend for us to watch that feature sake in one way or another?

Ben Haslar: 27:57
I just play a movie expert on radio, I’m afraid, but I do have three., there, one of my favorites is your name, which is an anime. it features some of the scenes about the old, old way of making sake. So Tedorigawa method, th there’s a method out dates that, and that’s where you would chew the rice up and spit it out into jugs. And that is featured in this movie. And I have to know, have you guys tried that?

John Puma: 28:20
No. Um, number one, no. And number two, I’m really glad that that’s not how they went about making the sake for this movie, for, for birth of

Ben Haslar: 28:29
It’s like you wanna try your own, but nobody else’s like that would be,

Timothy Sullivan: 28:32
I’ve, I’ve talked about that method in my classes, but never practical application. That’s No, no, no.

Ben Haslar: 28:40
I have done it and it’s interesting.

Timothy Sullivan: 28:42
oh God.

John Puma: 28:43
Yes. Oh, I’ve not done it. May, Tim, maybe that’s an episode idea. You and I will make, um, chewy sake, chewy, spit

Timothy Sullivan: 28:50
Let’s put a pin in that. Okay.

Ben Haslar: 28:53
Second one, uh, is, uh, Ju-on the curse. Uh, if you’ve heard of the film, the Grudge, this is a film that that preceded it and it features a scene where someone uses sake as sort of a defining rod to see like how haunted a house might be or how susceptible a person might be to like supernatural influences, cuz the sake itself is very pure. So if you drink it and it. It tastes fine then, uh, either your place isn’t haunted or you’re not susceptible, so that’s kind of a fun one to check out.

Timothy Sullivan: 29:18
Is that a Japanese movie?

Ben Haslar: 29:20
Yes, yeah, the original, Ju-on the Curse. Uh, you can find it on YouTube if you’d like. Um, and the last one, although it’s only just one scene, but it, it just like strikes me as so weird, is the James Bond film. You only live twice where Bond insists on having his temperature served at 98.4 degrees as if it were 98.3. He could tell the difference. Uh, but I wonder where he like gets that number from and like which sake in particular he was having, because maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve always heard 105 is and 120. Those two are the magic numbers for warmed.

John Puma: 29:52
I don’t know, based on a lot of the other cultural things in that movie, I’m gonna say they weren’t necessarily going accuracy

Ben Haslar: 29:57
no, that’s true. And slightly racist that film, but it does feature sake.

John Puma: 30:02
a, just a touch

Timothy Sullivan: 30:03
there’s a, there’s a wee bit of cultural insensitivity in that movie

John Puma: 30:07
Tiny. It was a different era though.

Ben Haslar: 30:11
That is my trilogy of fictional sake movies.

Timothy Sullivan: 30:14
Wow. All right. So if we want to have our sake film fest, we have a, we have a lineup now. Thank you, Ben.

Ben Haslar: 30:20
But the Birth of Sake, bump that to the, to the front of

John Puma: 30:22
Well bump that to the front. And, uh, and your name is also a phenomenal movie. It’s a great, great film, even though they chew the sake and spit it into a

Ben Haslar: 30:31
You’re gonna try it someday. You know you are.

Timothy Sullivan: 30:35
Okay. It’s got, it’s got the JP seal of approval. That’s all I have to know. I’m on board.

John Puma: 30:41
Yeah. Nice., so, Ben, thank you so much for, uh, joining us for this little adventure today. This has been a hell of a lot of fun. Um, where can our listeners find you online?

Ben Haslar: 30:54
We are the Reels of Justice Podcast, so we are probably your next door neighbor as far as wherever you find podcasts. We’re probably sitting right there to the, to the left of you. so yeah, Spotify or, or iTunes or any of those places you, you

John Puma: 31:08
Great. All

Timothy Sullivan: 31:09
All right. and we will be sure to list all the contact info for the Reels of Justice podcast in our show notes. So any listeners who are interested in learning more about Ben and his fantastic film podcast, please be sure to check out our show notes.

Ben Haslar: 31:25
At the very least, listen to Timothy’s episode. It’s very

John Puma: 31:30
good. Exactly.

Timothy Sullivan: 31:32
All right, Ben, thank you so much for joining us., it was really, really fun to have you on the podcast.

Ben Haslar: 31:38
Oh, this was my pleasure. Thank you so much guys.

Timothy Sullivan: 31:40
John, great to taste with you,

John Puma: 31:42
Always is.

Timothy Sullivan: 31:43
lot to dig into in this episode. And I have this feeling there is another movie episode in our future, so let’s, let’s keep that in mind. Not only to John, but I want to thank our listeners as well for joining us each and every week, and a special hello and thank you to our patrons. If you would like to support Sake Revolution, you can join our community on Patreon. Visit patreon.com/SakeRevolution to learn more.

John Puma: 32:10
And did you know that you can also buy Sake Revolution T-shirts? Yes, that is right., over at SakeRevolution.com, we’ve got a little store that you can check out. shirts that we’re trying to add, new ones on occasion, we’ve also got stickers. Stickers are a lot of fun. Everybody loves stickers., so stickers and t-shirts, and probably some more stuff to come.

Timothy Sullivan: 32:30
And our show notes are available to you each and every week. You can learn more about all of our amazing guests. You can see the Birth of Sake, trailer, and you can also learn more about Ben’s podcast. And there’s also a transcript each and every week. So be sure to check out our show notes at SakeRevolution.com.

John Puma: 32:49
So without any further ado, please raise a glass., remember to keep drinking sake and Kanpai.