Obscure Japanese Microbrew Alert: Umami Mart Will Soon Be Selling Beer and Sake

The always delightful upscale housewares shop Umami Mart began as a blog eight years ago, turned into a brick-and-mortar in 2012, and added a konbini (a Japanese convenience store) one year later. Now, co-owners Kayoko Akabori and Yoko Kumano have secured a beer-and-wine license to sell Japanese craft brews and sakes, and they’ve redesigned the store to make room for all the bottles.

To celebrate this long series of expansions and transformations, Umami Mart is having a party on April 21 from 6-9 p.m.

[jump] Beer nerds will have 50 new jibiru (local beers) to geek out on, many from obscure microbreweries that BevMo won’t be stocking anytime soon, such as Yo-Ho Brewing, Sekinoichi Brewery, and Oze no Yukidoke. We can’t say that we’ve always wanted to sample an oyster stout, but now that we know such a thing exists, we certainly do. And since Yoko Kumano is a certified Sake Specialist, the roster of 30 sakes (ranging from $5-$95) is curated with discernment — and you can ask penetrating questions when looking for the right one to buy.

Because the beer-and-wine license doesn’t allow for on-site consumption, there won’t be any cans of chilled Kikusui Funaguchi Name Genshu to crack open. However, there will be N/A drinks, food from Casa de Kei, beats by DJ Chungtech and, if the past is prologue, lots of people spilling out onto the sidewalk of Old Oakland in a spirit of convivial merriment.

If nothing else, the yet-to-be-revealed design is bound to be a coup of Japanese-Danish modernism, and it’s worth popping by for that alone. The ability to walk out with wasabi-and-green-tea-infused ale is just a bonus.

Bottle System Grand Opening Party, Tuesday, April 21, 6-9 p.m., at Umami Mart, 815 Broadway, Oakland, (510) 575-9152.

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