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Best Local Brew: A benign way to get bombed 

Koshu Plum Sake

What's the most syrupy way to get lit in the East Bay? Takara's Koshu plum sake is great warmed up, served over ice, or sipped straight from the bottle. For $6 you can take home a 750 ml bottle, sweet as bubblegum but packing 12 percent alcohol, a deadly combo. At Takara's airy tasting bar, open daily from noon to six, you can try any of its twenty-odd sakes, including the West Coast's first organic sake, half a dozen varieties of mirin, three plum-flavored libations, and seven varieties of hard liquor distilled from rice, barley, buckwheat, and even sweet potatoes. While you sample, watch the rubber-aproned workers, ankle-deep in glistening fresh sake, preparing shipments bound for cities nationwide and as far away as, well, Japan. There's even a museum dedicated to the fine art of sake brewing, which features ancient wooden tubs, spoon and rakelike implements, educational displays, a ten-minute promotional video, and bits of sake shrines from the home country.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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