by Meghan Roberts
I love Granville Island, but I always find it a little hectic. Hordes of tourists, wannabe chefs trying to complete their weekend shopping, and general revelers of G.I. kitsch often keep me from relaxing and enjoying the island’s charm. So what do I do when I need a little break? Two words: sake tasting.

Osake (1339 Railspur Alley) is the first sake distillery in Canada, and remains as only one of two. They currently import their rice from Japan, but they’re working on creating the first rice fields in Canada to further localize their product. All of their sakes are unfiltered and made in small batches, allowing for clear, fresh flavours. Yum, yum, yum.

For five dollars you can sample three of their premium sakes: the Junmai Nama Genshu, Junmai Nama, and Junmai Nama Nigori. The staff are super friendly, so don’t hesitate to ask questions as they guide you through their wines.

This is a great place to take sake newbies. The crisp, fruity flavours are accessible and more comparable to a white wine than some of the cheap sakes you find at sushi restaurants. The Junmai Nama Nigori is light and fruity, but dry. It’s great served chilled to cool you down in the summer. Junmai Nama Genshu has a richer and more robust flavor. At 18%, it’s stronger than most wines and sakes, making it an economical and tasty choice for pre-dancing sips.

You can buy full or half bottles, allowing you to mix and match different kinds. Full bottles ring in around $30, so you don’t have to break the bank to grab a great bottle of sake. Next time you’re sweating it out on Granville Island, stop by Osake. For $5 you really can’t go wrong!