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  • Sake 36: Fermented rice revelations in Kreuzberg


Sake 36: Fermented rice revelations in Kreuzberg

Stop by Sake 36 in Kreuzberg for some delicious drinks paired with oysters at this sleek, minimalist bar.

Photo: Matthew Gammon

As someone who’s never been the strongest at picking up the finer nuances of wine in a tasting, I was surprised to discover that the fermented rice beverage sake, arguably a much more delicate beast, was right up my alley. This revelation occurred to me after stopping by for a tasting at Kreuzberg’s Sake 36, one of a handful of sake specialists in the city.

The Tamagawa Time Machine had an astonishingly developed umami flavour

It shouldn’t be a huge surprise: I’m more beer-minded than wine, and when you look at the ingredients, sake is probably closer to that wheaty beverage, since it’s made from grain rather than sugary fruit.

This was just one of many insights I received from Sake 36 co-founder Maximilian Fritzsch, who owns the combination shop-bar together with Laura Käding and her husband, established DJ Richie Hawtin. The trio are much more than regular sake enthusiasts: all three hold sake industry credentials, and if you experience a tasting with them (as I did with Fritzsch), that wealth of knowledge shines through in a particularly amicable way.

Over the seven sakes I tasted, it became clear that the balanced nature of the drink (typically without high acidity, sweetness or tannins) allows subtle qualities to shine through.

Photo: Jordi Cervera

I’d happily sip on any of them again, but for brevity, I’ll highlight three: the Tamagawa Time Machine, which had an astonishingly developed umami flavour to it (which is present in all sakes, but especially here). Then there was the KID Junmai Daiginjo with bright berry notes and a crisp profile, allowing it to be paired with anything from sashimi to pasta. I’d also happily chug the Yuzu Suppai: with a distinct sourness (it’s made with citrus fruit yuzu), it’s a departure from typical sakes but would be a powerhouse aperitif tipple.

While you can buy full sake bottles to go (prices start at €27 for full 750ml options), it’s worth having a sake (or three) on site: Sake 36’s narrow storefront is sleek and minimalist without being ostentatious. The high-top bar that dominates the room is well set-up for mingling, and there’s typically oysters available to pair.

  • Sake 36 Reichenberger Str. 36, Kreuzberg. Wed-Sat 14-22 (sometimes later)