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Discover the Spirit of Japan in Hawaii: A Visit to Islander Sake Brewery

On a recent trip to the Big Island of Hawaii for our 8th Annual Clinical Issues in Primary Care Conference, we discovered a unique find amidst the lush landscapes and volcanic scenery of the Kohala Coast—Islander Sake Brewery Hawaii.

Located in the clubhouse of the Hapuna Golf Course, the brewery is a fusion of Japanese tradition and Hawaiian charm, creating a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors, whether or not they have an appreciation for sake. During our visit, we had the pleasure of touring the brewery, tasting their excellent sake, and learning about the history of sake making in Japan and in Hawaii.

A Warm Welcome and a Rich History

Our adventure began with a warm welcome from Tama Hirose, whose passion for sake and its history was truly infectious. As we sampled the offerings, Tama entertained us with tales of sake's origins, tracing its roots back over a thousand years in Japan. He explained how the art of sake brewing has been meticulously preserved and passed down through generations. Tama also highlighted the Hawaii's long yet abandoned history with sake and its rebirth with the founding of Islander Sake.

Islander Sake Brewery, however, brings a unique twist to this ancient craft. Founded with the vision of creating premium sake using local Hawaiian ingredients, the brewery represents a beautiful blend of cultural traditions. Tama shared how the pristine waters of Hawaii and the unique climate of the Big Island contribute to the distinct flavor profile of their sake, making it unlike any other.

Meet the Master Brewer: Chiaki Takahashi

One of the highlights of our visit was meeting Chiaki Takahashi, the master brewer behind Islander Sake. Chiaki's journey to becoming a master brewer is as inspiring as the sake she crafts. Originally a medical researcher, Chiaki's analytical mind and scientific background were instrumental in her transition to sake brewing. During a tour of the brewery, it was easy to see that her dedication to precision and quality is evident in every step of the brewing process.

Chiaki walked us through the intricate process of sake production, from selecting the finest Japanese and California rice to the careful fermentation and aging stages. She explained how the brewery combines traditional Japanese techniques with innovative methods to create their signature sake. Each bottle reflects Chiaki's meticulous attention to detail and her passion for perfection.

The Sake Tasting Experience

No visit to Islander Sake Brewery would be complete without a tasting session. In the tasting room, which overlooked the greens of the Hapuna Golf Course and the blue ocean beyond, we had the opportunity to sample a variety of their sake offerings, each with its unique flavor and aroma. The delicate balance of sweetness, acidity, and umami in their sake is a testament to the craftsmanship and dedication of the brewing team.

One of our favorites was the Junmai Daiginjo, a premium sake with a smooth, clean taste and a hint of fruity notes. Another standout was the Nigori sake, with its creamy texture and rich, complex flavor. As we sipped each sample, Tama provided insights into the characteristics of the sake, enhancing my appreciation for the artistry involved in its creation.

A Must-Visit Destination

Islander Sake Brewery Hawaii is more than just a place to enjoy fine sake—it's a destination that offers a deeper connection to the cultural heritage and natural beauty of Hawaii. You do not have to be a seasoned sake aficionado to appreciate this experience. In fact, we are sure that a visit may convert any wine lover to appreciate sake. Our visit left us with a profound appreciation for the art of sake brewing and a deep respect for the people who bring it to life.

Plan Your Visit

Located at the Hapuna Golf Course on the Big Island, Islander Sake Brewery is easily accessible and offers tours and tastings by appointment. Be sure to check out the Islander Sake Brewery Hawaii website for the latest information on tour schedules and special events. You can also join them for their traditional ‘Omotenashi’ Dinner offered Tuesday-Friday evenings.

Upcoming CME Conferences & Online Learning

Want to attend a live CME conference In Hawaii or complete an online course from the comforts of home?

At Continuing Education Company, we provide you with options to make your medical continuing education fun, engaging, and relevant. Check out our conference calendar to view the dates and locations of upcoming conferences as well as the online learning courses and live streaming that are currently available. And, for a limited period of time, take advantage of our Special Offer! Attend one of our LIVE conferences in person and you will receive a FREE online 15 credit CME course from CME365™.

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About the author:

Walter Ejnes, CHCP is president of Continuing Education Company (CEC). Walter enjoys sharing his experiences with conference attendees, guiding them to discover the fun and excitement of CEC's diverse CME conference destinations. Among these, Walter has a special fondness for Hawaii, where he eagerly recommends activities, sights, and adventures that enrich the CME conference experience.

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