Master Sake Sommelier Yuji Matsumoto Hosts Sake Tastings in Tempe and Glendale This Week

When you're not unceremoniously dunking it in cheap beer, sake can taste pretty good. Actually, really good. And if you've got guidance from one of the world's only master sake sommeliers, then we're guessing Japan's native drink can only taste better.

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Those sake fans looking to expand their knowledge of sushi's favorite drink can head over to one of the Valley's Kabuki Japanese restaurants tonight and tomorrow for a sake and sochu tasting, select appetizers included.

Born in Kobe, Japan, sake sommelier Yuji Matsumoto opened the California Sushi Academy, the first vocational school specializing in the training and certification of sushi chefs.

His interest in sake didn't peak until he was visiting some of Japan's famous sake breweries. It eventually inspired him to enroll in the Sake Service Institute of Japan, where he received his sake sommelier certificate in 2004 and returned to Los Angeles to share the sake culture.

In November 2008, he went back to the Sake Service Institute of Japan to become the first master sake sommelier teaching in the United States.

You can catch Matsumoto's Spring Sake Tour at Kabuki Japanese Restaurant at Westgate and Tempe Marketplace this week. For $10.95, he will impart knowledge about the complexities of sake and offer tastes of various types of sake and shochu.

The Westgate event is 6:30 to 9 p.m. today, and the Tempe Marketplace event will be on Thursday, March 28, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Tickets cost $10.95 per person and include tastings of various sake and shochu types and selections of sushi and appetizers. They can be purchased at either restaurant.

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