Shochu think you know Japanese? After Wednesday August 12th, Portland’s Elite Squad does! That’s right, 75 of Portland’s finest dressed up like salarymen and took a trip down the rabbit hole to biwa, the inner-SE-side’s own Japanese izakaya, to learn how the Land of the Rising Sun does it, pub style.
Sam W and Akemi I were met at the door with tasters of 4 different sakés from SakéOne, Oregon’s own homegrown saké producer. Dewey, the man with the plan, schooled Stanley T and Chris L on the finer points of their 91-point rated Organic sakes, as well as their “g” series and a delicious pink plum-juice-infused Momokawa. If Matt M didn’t know a hot gekkeikan from a cold Momkawa before, he does now!
Next up were some incredible shochu offerings including SakéOne's Bloodbath cocktail, made with lemon and muddled blackberries, as well as straight shochu over ice. These were set alongside biwa's Ringo, a saké cocktail made with apple cider and bourbon. Lets just say those amazing bartenders were shakin' it all night long, and yelpers like Ana M were digging every sip.
As if getting schooled in saké and shochu weren’t enough, the biwa crew busted out with an amazing display of Japanese pub eats such as kimchi kara-age (deep fried kimchi), chijimi (onion pancake), saba nanbanzuke (pickled mackerel with veggies), and a myriad of yakitori: pork belly, chicken, and hangar steak skewers. Platter after platter, the pub-grub kept coming. And it paired perfectly with the incredible cocktail offerings.
A huge thanks goes out to Gabe from biwa, for putting the event together from beginning to end – from the amazing food, to the incredible drinks, to the stellar service, it was wonderful. Domo arigato! A major nod to SakéOne and Dewey for showing us why Oregon makes the best saké in the world, and why everyone will soon be clambering for Tombo shochu. Huge thanks to Andrew C, for taking amazing fisheye photos, as always, to my eternal +1 Hilary B, and of course, to the Portland Elite squad. I can’t say it enough. The best elite squad in the nation. This community rules.
Until next time…