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Sake Tasting with Beau Timkin

by VM Brasseur on February 8th, 2006

Sara and Marc are both alumni of Pomona College. Unlike my alma mater, people who graduate from Pomona seem to actually want to attend alumni functions. Maybe that’s because they get to do fantastically cool things like I got to share with Marc yesterday: sake tasting.

Beau Timkin is also a Pomona graduate. Aside from that, he’s a sake sommelier. No, you probably haven’t heard of such a thing before since he is probably the only one in America if not the world. Although originally from Ohio, he now makes his home in San Francisco. This is also where he keeps his shop, True Sake.

I’d woken up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday and it just got wronger as the day progressed. So I came very close to writing Marc and bailing on the evening’s plans. I’m very glad that I didn’t.

The event started at 6:00 and was held at the Japanese Cultural Center down in Japantown. We started out by munching on sushi, then spent the next three hours tasting ten different sakes and being bombarded by sake information of all sorts, very enthusiastically served up by Beau Timkin. Unlike the stereotypical wine connoisseur or sommelier, Beau is very down-to-earth and approachable. His presentation overflows with his excitement for sharing his love of sake with people and has an infectious energy. It’s easy for the audience to feel comfortable with Beau, who himself makes it easy for the audience to feel comfortable with sake.

I have reproduced and posted the handout which Beau wrote to accompany the evening. Give it a look, especially if you have little or no prior experience with sakes. Many of the words are unfamilar (but are explained at the True Sake website), but overall it’s a very approachable introduction to what kinds of things to expect from sakes.

Marc, many thanks for inviting me to this event. I greatly enjoyed myself!

PLEASE NOTE: at the time of posting the sake handout has been reproduced without the express written consent of the copyright holder. Since I have more questions to ask him and intend to write anyway, I’ll probably do the “right thing” and ask him for this consent later. [Ed. note: any typos in the reproduction are mine and mine alone.]

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