Filter by Listing Categories
Accommodations
Bed & Breakfast
Campgrounds
Hotels
Real Estate
Vacation Rentals
Attractions
Family Friendly
Indoors
On the Water
outdoors
Dining
American
Bakery
Barbecue
Breakfast
Brewery
Burger
catering
chinese
Coffee
Delivery
Fast Food
Ice Cream
Indian
Italian
Japanese
Mexican
Pizza
Sandwiches
Seafood
southern
steak
sushi
Takeout
Thai
Vegetarian and Vegan
vineyards
Wine
Local Services
Rentals - Equipment
Spas, Salons, Barbers, and Massages
Specialty Services
Weddings
Regions
Blue Ridge Highlands
Abingdon
Bristol
Christianburg
Floyd
Galax
Meadows of Dan
Pulaski
Radford
Smyth
Wytheville
Central Virginia
Appomattox
Ashland
Blacksburg
Charlottesville
Chester
Chesterfield
Colonial Heights
Farmville
Glen Allen
Halifax
Henrico
Hopewell
Lanexa
Louisa
Lynchburg
Mechanicsville
Midlothian
Petersburg
Richmond
Sandston
Wintergreen
Chesapeake Bay
Colonial Beach
Irvington
Kilmarnock
Tappahannock
Urbanna
White Stone
Coastal Virginia | Hampton Roads
Charles City County
Chesapeake
Franklin
Hampton
Newport News
Norfolk
Portsmouth
Smithfield
Southampton
Virginia Beach
Williamsburg
Yorktown
Eastern Shore
Cape Charles
Chincoteague Island
Onancock
Tangier Island
Heart Of Appalachia
Big Stone Gap
Coeburn
St. Paul
Town Of Tazewell
Northern Virginia
Alexandria
Arlington
Ashburn
Burke
Centreville
Chantilly
Culpeper
Dulles
Dumfries
Fairfax
Falls Church
Fredericksburg
Gainesville
Herndon
Leesburg
Lovettsville
Manassas
McLean
Middleburg
Purcellville
Reston
Spotsylvania
Springfield
Stafford
Sterling
Tysons Corner
Vienna
Warrenton
Woodbridge
Shenandoah Valley
Augusta
Harrisonburg
Lexington
Luray
Natural Bridge
Staunton
Waynesboro
Winchester
Woodstock
Southern Virginia
Clarksville
Danville
Emporia
Martinsville
South Boston
South Hill
Virginia Mountains
Bath County
Roanoke
Salem
Shopping
Antiques and Thrift Shops
Clothes
Gifts & More
Grocery
Sports Gear & Outdoor
Sips
Breweries
Distillery
Spirits
Vineyards
Winery
Filter by Listing Tags
Accommodations
Attractions
Breweries
Brewery
Dining
Distillery
Local Services
Shopping
Sips
Vineyard
Wine
Winery
Filter by Categories
Accommodations
All Categories
All News
Attractions
Cider
Cider News
Cider: Tasting & Reviews
Cider: Web Exclusives
Contests
Best Of
Savor Virginias’ Best
The Remy 1738 Challenge
WIne Classic
Craft Beer
Beer Features
Beer News
Breweries
Craft Beer: People
CRAFT BEER: SPONSORED CONTENT
Craft Beer: Tasting & Reviews
Craft Beer: Web Exclusives
Departments
Editor's Note
Publisher's Note
Dining
Dining Features
Dining: Farm to Table
Dining: Food Finds
Dining: People
Dining: Recipes & Pairings
Dining: Web Exclusives
Distilled Spirits
Distilled Spirits: Features
Distilled Spirits: People
DISTILLED SPIRITS: SPONSORED CONTENT
Distilled Spirits: Tasting & Reviews
Distilled Spirits: Web Exclusives
Distilleries
Distillery News
Distilled Spirits: Cocktail Recipes
Festivals & Events
Getaways
ADVENTURES/ACTIVITIES: SPONSORED CONTENT
Getaways - SavorVA
Getaways: Adventures & Activities
Getaways: Features
GETAWAYS: SPONSORED CONTENT
Getaways: Web Exclusives
Getaways: Weekend Trips
Local Services
Main Editor's Picks
Main Features
large
small
Regions
Blue Ridge Highlands
BLUE RIDGE HIGHLAND: SPONSORED CONTENT
Blue Ridge Highlands: Features
Central Virginia
Central Virginia: Features
CENTRAL VIRGINIA: SPONSORED CONTENT
Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay: Features
CHESAPEAKE BAY: SPONSORED CONTENT
Coastal Virginia-Hampton Roads
Coastal Virginia-Hampton Roads: Features
COASTAL VIRGINIA-HAMPTON ROADS: SPONSORED CONTENT
Eastern Shore
Eastern Shore: Features
EASTERN SHORE: SPONSORED CONTENT
Heart Of Appalachia
Heart of Appalachia: Features
HEART OF APPALACHIA: SPONSORED CONTENT
Northern Virginia
Northern Virginia: Features
NORTHERN VIRGINIA: SPONSORED CONTENT
Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley: Features
SHENANDOAH VALLEY: SPONSORED CONTENT
Southern Virginia
Southern Virginia: Features
SOUTHERN VIRIGNIA: SPONSORED CONTENT
Virginia Mountains
Virginia Mountains: Features
VIRGINIA MOUNTAINS: SPONSORED CONTENT
Shopping
Shopping: Web Exclusives
Sips
Wine
October Wine Wednesday
Virginia Wine Month
Wine Classic Awards
Wine News
wine trail
211 wine trail
Wine: Features
Wine: People
WINE: SPONSORED CONTENT
Wine: Tasting & Reviews
Wine: Web Exclusives
Wineries
Filter by content type
Custom post types
Taxonomy terms

Virginia’s First Sake Brewery Opens in Charlottesville

By:
North American Sake

Virginia pioneered much of North America’s wine and beer industry, and now, thanks to the unique craftmanship of Andrew Centofante and Jeremy Goldstein, the Commonwealth is a national leader in Japanese sake. Charlottesville’s North American Sake Brewery is the first of its kind in Virginia and joins only a modicum of others throughout the country.

As is the case for many businesses in the craft beverage industry, North American Sake Brewery began over an evening of indulgent sake consumption and dream building. Goldstein was first introduced to sake a few years ago while celebrating his birthday in Los Angeles. Once he returned to the East Coast, he shared his newfound love for the drink with Centofante and the two became quickly enthralled with the art of sake brewing.

“I started making it in my basement, just brewing batch after batch after batch so I could learn more about its history, its ingredients and the culture behind it,” says Centofante. A few taste tests on friends lead to North American’s two flagship sakes—Big Baby and Real Magic—as well as a permanent brewing space in Charlottesville’s IX Art Park.

North American Sake Brewery, Charlottesville

North American Sake Brewery, rice, Charlottesville

North American Sake, Charlottesville craft brewery

North American Sake, Charlottesville, bottling

North American Sake, Charlottesville Sake
Photos by John Robinson Photography

One challenge the team faced while experimenting with sake was finding the perfect rice to brew with. Centofante explains that like apples or hops, there is a myriad of rice variations that allow for different flavor profiles in sake. He and Goldstein ultimately settled for white, short grain rice from California and Arkansas that Centofante believes interacts best with sake’s other key component—koji.

Like yeast, koji is a fungus propagated in rice that converts the rice’s starch into sugar. The sugars derived from the rice and koji are then turned into alcohol which can be brewed with an array of herbs, fruits and hops to create any number of sakes running the gamut of sweet and savory to fruity and dry. One of North American Sake’s current releases, Sweet Agony, leans more to the sweet side with tastes of lemon and mint.

The brewery’s flagship sakes, however, showcase two of the beverage’s most common presentations. Centofante and Goldstein describe Big Baby as their cloudy, or unfiltered, flagship. The libation is brewed in traditional Japanese fashion and therefore contains rice particles and remnants of other active ingredients that were not entirely sifted out of the batch. Real Magic, on the other hand, is the brewery’s clear, or filtered, sake. While Real Magic is prepared using a more Americanized method, its smooth texture and hints of melon, strawberry and vanilla are reminiscent of a Japanese junmai grade sake.

Like Big Baby and Real Magic, Goldstein explains that not all sake is made equal. “A lot of people think sake is one hot drink you get in a Japanese restaurant, but the reality is, [sake] is more like beer which you can experiment with [and enjoy] in all types of styles and grades,” says Goldstein.

Other sakes available in the Charlottesville tasting room are Socky, a fruit punch-infused sake, Spicy Vacay with mango, lime leaf and jalapeno and a soon to come sweet sake fermented with the native Virginia pawpaw fruit.

In addition to their rotating taps, North American Sake Brewery features a full-scale restaurant run by Chef Peter Robertson. Originally from New York, Robertson relocated to Central Virginia where he founded one of the region’s most highly acclaimed food trucks, Cotie Rotie. Robertson now runs the brewery’s kitchen and works hand-in-hand with Centofante and Goldstein to create authentic Japanese cuisine with sake at its heart.

North American Sake, Charlottesville Japanese food

Japanese cuisine, North American Sake

Japanese cuisine, Charlottesville, North American Sake

North American Sake, Japanese food

North American Sake, sushi, Charlottesville

The North American Sake team whips up savory bar snacks loaded with nori and furikake to colorful rice bowls and boa sandwiches stuffed with tender meat cured in the brewery’s outdoor smoker. Like sake, much of Japanese cuisine is prepared with koji, including the brewery’s miso soup and koji-crusted lamb ribs embellished with koji sauce, scallions and sesame.

“Most breweries get a food truck or serve your standard burger and fries. We’ve really put in the effort to make sure our whole experience is unique and focused around sake, including the food,” says Goldstein.

North American Sake Brewery, Charlottesville

North American Sake Brewery, craft brewery Charlottesville

North American Sake Charlottesville

North American Sake, Charlottesville

North American Sake

While North American Sake is not yet available outside of the tasting room, the brewery does offer to-go bottles.

“Sake is a lot of fun and it’s really delicious,” says Centofante. “I think it’s worth people trying something different and opening their [minds] to what sake might be.”

“It’s a little bit of education and a lot of bit of fun,” adds Goldstein.

North American Sake Brewery is located at 522 2nd St. SE, Charlottesville and is open Tuesday through Friday from 4–11 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m.–11 p.m.

Grace Silipigni
Author: Grace Silipigni

View Digital Magazine

Festivals & Events

Sponsored Content:

SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT