Best Sake for New England Beaches

Posted by bmountain | Posted in Sake | Posted on 23-08-2009

Map of Cape Anne, great mountain biking, beaches, and sake

Map of Cape Anne, great mountain biking, beaches, and sake

Rockport Massachusetts is on the tip of Cape Anne, a rocky peninsula 30 miles northeast of Boston.  Cape Anne was settled in 1624 and was the 3rd colony in New England, just after Plymouth and Nantasket.  Just west of Rockport on Cape Anne is the fishing town of Gloucester.  The movie The Perfect Storm was filmed there and the real life Andrea Gail sailed from Gloucester into the storm that sank her.

The center of Cape Anne is protected as preservation land and is known as Dogtown.  It’s was settled in 1632 as a way for the colonists to avoid pirates, hostile natives, and for a while, shelling by British warships.  When these threats subsided the occupants moved back to the coast and the interior became a place where sailors’ widows settled.  When the widows themselves died their dogs roamed the woods in packs, hence the name Dogtown or Dogtown Commons as it is also known.

Today Dogtown has some of the best mountain biking trails in Eastern Massachusetts.  Old quarry and fire roads make for excellent and incredibly challenging paths for bikers at a close proximity to Boston.  I’ve been vacationing in Cape Anne for the past several years and have a knack for getting completely lost on my bike in Dogtown.  Which is one good reason to bike in the morning.  At least if you get too lost you can generally get out before dark.  Last year I went out later in the day and eventually found myself in a section I had never even seen before.  I was out so long that my iPhone battery died so I had no GPS to help me find my way out.  The trail got so rough that I had to carry my bike over long stretches of trail over car sized boulders.  I ran out of water and sweated off all my insect repellent so I was thirsty and getting eaten alive by bugs.  It was getting dark and I heard thunder in the background.  Images of the Blair Witch Project were flashing through my mind.  Fortunately after wandering for a while I heard a car in the distance and followed a path that led in that direction which thankfully brought me to a road back to Rockport Center.  I arrived back at the cottage exhausted, covered in blood, sweat, and mosquito bites, and relieved that I didn’t have to spend the night in the woods.

After a challenging morning biking in Dogtown, the beaches of Cape Anne are a great way to unwind.  While on vacation there last week, as I have for the last several years, I would bike all morning and then head to the beaches in the afternoon for some cigars and sake.  I brought five bottles with me for the week and but one was particularly well suited for the beach.

The “Bride of the Fox” is brewed by Kaetsu Shuzo of Nigata Japan.  I’ve had some excellent sakes from this prefecture and this one is no exception.  The name comes from local legends of mysterious lights on Mount Kirin which are paper lanterns carried in the fox-bride procession.  Nigata celebrates this event every year.

This sake has a wonderful aroma of nuts with a hint of chocolate.  The taste is crisp, rich and smooth, showing off the Gohyakumangoku rice that is used to make the sake.  There is a subtle trace of sweetness that balances off an incredible experience.  This is indeed one of the nicer sakes that I have enjoyed recently and I’d strongly recommend it on the beach, or off!

Bride of the Fox Junmai Ginjo
Brewer:  Kaetsu Shuzo
Prefecture:  Nigata
Alcohol:  16.5%
$16.99 retail

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