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Sipping Sake? Skip The Sushi

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Discover sake’s versatility with unexpected food pairings

by Emily Hutto

photo by James Luce

I’m standing in an 80-degree, 80 percent humidity, cedar-walled sauna with 20 other people. The heavy air thickens my curly hair, and I notice sweat beads forming on the lips and eyebrows of my company. It smells like beer.

No, I haven’t snuck into the men’s steam room the day after the Superbowl. I’m standing in Sake One’s koji room in Forest Grove, Oregon, where mold cultivates atop milled, steamed rice in the early processes of making sake, a traditional Japanese drink that’s neither a beer or a wine, even though parts of the brewing process mirror that of beer…

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