In matters of sake, I tend to defer to our sake expert Stephen Allison. If Steve’s not around, author Jeff Cioletti can sub in, with his “Non-Traditional Guide to Japan’s Traditional Beverage” serving as a solid base of instruction for anyone trying to find their way through this complex category.
Questions answered go far beyond the usual discussion of styles and whether or not you should drink sake hot or cold. Cioletti digs into SMV grading, rice strains, and regional variations in sake from breweries across Japan. The book is also interspersed with tasting notes from the most prominent sake producers; if there’s one thing lacking, it’s photography of the various bottlings. As anyone faced with a dense wall of bottles covered in Japanese script, you really need a visual guide to pick out what you’re looking for.
Cioletti has a solid handle on this category, and the book is packed thick with a deep amount of information. Organizationally it can be a bit hard to handle — I’d have put all the reviews/tasting notes together — but if you have enough patience to explore sake the beverage, you’ve certainly got enough patience to work with this book, too.
A- / $11 / [BUY IT FROM AMAZON]