Brooklyn now has a full-fledged sake brewery: Open in Industry City, Brooklyn Kura is brewing and selling sakes made entirely from American ingredients and will unleash a taproom to the public at the end of the week.
Currently, there are around 15 other sake breweries in the U.S. with the majority based in California, but Brooklyn Kura — located at 68 34th St., near Fourth Avenue — is the first to hit New York. Founders Brian Polen and Brandon Doughan focus on the new wave of American craft sake, which uses American ingredients to make the traditional Japanese rice wine. They use four main ingredients for its sake: American-grown rice, koji, filtered NYC tap water, and yeast.
This type of sake is known as junmai, which is on the more premium end of the sake spectrum, Polen says. NYC water is similarly soft to Japan’s, but the pair filter chlorine, iron, and manganese out of the water and liken it to adding a special quality commonly credited as making NYC bagels and pizza rise above. The rice, sourced from California and Arkansas, is milled 60 percent from its original state.
Next to the Industry City brewery is Brooklyn Kura’s public tap room, which will open officially to the public on Friday, March 2. The tap room offers sakes that are only available on-site, such as milky, cloudy orizake, made from the sake lees. Alongside are bar snacks like fried fava, toasted nori, and charcuterie and cheese plates.
Other taprooms and breweries featuring local speciality brews have been opening in Brooklyn, like Brooklyn Cider House in Bushwick and the Bad Seed taproom in Crown Heights, both offering ciders. Braven Brewing is also set to open a new brewery-restaurant combo in Bushwick, joining other brewery-restaurants Threes Brewing and Circa Brewing.
Industry City has been trying to pump up its food and drink offerings. It’s also home to NYC’s first all-avocado restaurant and will soon be home to Billy Durney’s version of a Jewish deli and Japan Village, a food hall within a food hall featuring six food stalls, an izakaya, a sake store, specialty grocery, and more. The sprawling Sunset Park complex has been growing rapidly over the past year, adding a Burger Joint location and the relocated Brooklyn Kitchen.