When people hear about our sake bar in Minneapolis, they often ask us what sake is. At Moto-i, we find answering this question difficult, since the two most comparable beverages (beer and wine) are still quite different from sake. Read on to learn how this unique Japanese beverage differs from beer and wine.

Beer is Beer

As we explain on our Sake Brewery page, sake comes from a brewing process that is similar to that of beer. Furthermore, some of the most popular beers in the U.S. use rice in their brewing process, just like sake. That said, there are some key differences between sake and beer.

First and foremost is the difference in flavor. Many describe the flavor profile of sake as closer to that of wine than the flavor profile of beer. This difference in flavor probably stems from the ingredients used in sake and beer. While beer is usually made with malted barley and hops, rice is the main grain used in sake, and no hops are used.

Another difference comes from the color and alcohol content of the beverages. Since beer is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the U.S., you probably know it usually has an amber color and relatively low alcohol content. In contrast, sake is typically clear and it has an alcohol content closer to wine.

Wine is Wine

Based on the last section, you may be wondering whether sake is simply another form of wine. This is a common misconception, and it stems in part from sake sometimes being described as a Japanese rice wine. It is important to realize that sake and wine share some key differences.

The biggest difference between sake and wine comes from the brewing process. Wine is typically made by fermenting grapes or another type of fruit. This fermentation process converts the sugars naturally found in the grapes or fruit into alcohol.

Since sake is made from rice, the brewing process involves more steps than the brewing process of wine. To make sake, a brewer must convert the starches present in rice into alcohol. This difference in the brewing process results in sake featuring different flavors and characteristics than those found in wine.

Sake is Sake

Sake, wine, and beer are all often used for celebratory events. Whether the event is watching a big game, a Christmas party, or simply a Friday night in Minneapolis, one of these three drinks is probably great for it. That said, one more difference between the beverages is found in the ceremonial nature surrounding sake.

Sake is a drink with a vast history. As the national drink of Japan, premium sake is often used at ceremonial events. Due in part to this ceremonial nature, sake is often served in smaller quantities than beer or wine, and in some ways, drinking sake is an event in itself.

At this point, you can probably see why Moto-i considers sake to be a drink in its own category. Even though it shares some similarities with beer and wine, key differences make sake stand apart from these popular beverages. If you want to experience these key differences for yourself, then visit our sake bar in Minneapolis!