Saké Fest PDXWhen asked, most people say “I think I like saké but I’ve really only had it with Japanese food.” But what they likely don’t know is that saké is an incredibly versatile drink that can be paired with foods of all types, not just sushi. I describe saké as a polite drink that doesn’t throw its weight around and definitely plays well with others.

Happily, a segment of Portlanders have enthusiastically embraced the drink and enjoy choosing from over 140 different varieties of saké at the annual Saké Fest PDX. Not only will attendees find more saké than any one person can taste but tables and tables of delicious foods from some of Portland’s hottest chefs and shops. This gives people the opportunity to try pairing saké with all different types of food.

So we all have tried saké with sushi, but what about saké with cheese? Or pulled pork? Or chocolate? Or {fill in the blank with your favorite food here.} Saké Fest PDX is the perfect setting to sip a splash of this with a bite of that. If you find a pairing that becomes a perfect match in your mouth, your fellow saké lovers will probably try it too. It’s just that kind of a crowd at this event.

In celebration of its fifth year, Saké Fest PDX is also holding a celebratory anniversary pairing dinner the night before the epic tasting event. For just $95 per person (tip is included), you can enjoy an intimate seated dinner with a small group of saké fans. The dinner will be led by Marcus Pakiser, the spokesperson for Saké Fest PDX and accomplished saké educator. Pakiser will explain the different types of saké served during the meal and why they complement the dishes, including the main entrée of Cornish game hen. Not only will there be several courses but dinner guests will receive a swag bag of goodies to take home.

Be speedy about it and click here to read the full menu and get tickets to tomorrow night’s seated dinner (ticket sales end at noon.)

Ready to scale the saké mountain, so to speak, and choose your tastes amongst the impossible task of 140 different varieties? Well then buy your tickets to Thursday night’s Saké Fest PDX. Also new this year is an early admission ticket, allowing you entry into the event an hour before it officially begins. So if you’re like me, that extra hour might be just the time you need to squeeze in several more tasting samples.

Click here to read more about Saké Fest PDX and order your tickets online.

What: Saké Fest PDX

Where: The Sentinel Hotel (formerly the Governor Hotel), 614 Southwest 11th Avenue
Portland, OR 97205

When: Thursday, June 25, 2015

Early admission ticket holders: Doors open at 5:30pm

Regular admission ticket holders: Doors open at 6:30pm

Cost: $55 for regular admission, $75 for early admission, $65 at door (limited tickets available)

Click here for tickets

With this much saké being poured, I highly encourage you to take alternate transportation home. Uber & Lyft has recently started operating in town, and then you have the usual suspects, taxis, buses and the MAX. Or, maybe the smartest thing, is to make a reservation at the Sentinel Hotel, just an elevator ride away from a soft bed.

Author’s note: Full disclosure, my company assisted with promoting this event but I think it’s still a great event for anyone who enjoys saké or wants to learn more about it.

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