Aged sak\u00e9 was once a prized beverage of Japan, but when breweries began to be taxed at production rather than sale in the late 1800s, it suddenly became impractical.\r\n\r\nBy the time the laws changed back in 1944, the tradition was largely lost. Koshu sak\u00e9, aged for at least three years, remains rare, but Japanese brewers seek to revive this old beverage through a mix of traditional and new techniques.\r\n\r\nTraditional koshu ages at room temperature or above, developing caramel colors and nutty notes that recall dry Sherry. But modern koshu styles vary widely. Brewers experiment with aging at near-freezing temperatures that maintain the drink\u2019s clear color and fresh flavors, yet still bring concentrated umami and texture.\r\n\r\n\u201cKoshu is an emerging category,\u201d says sak\u00e9 expert Timothy Sullivan, founder of UrbanSake.com, who describes the style as bold, deep and complex. \u201cIt\u2019s an interesting bridge because they pair very well with non-Japanese food.\u201d\r\n\r\nCold-aged koshus still pair well with sushi and sashimi. But, thanks to their added weight and texture, they also shine alongside heavier, umami-rich dishes like roast pork tenderloin or even braised short ribs.\r\n\r\nAnd while many sak\u00e9 drinkers find classic koshu\u2019s oxidative flavors challenging on their own, the style is extremely versatile with food. Yana Volfson, beverage director for New York City\u2019s Cosme, for example, turns to its deep nutty flavors alongside raw seafood dishes and to highlight the sweet and savory components of the restaurant\u2019s signature corn-husk meringue dessert.\r\n\r\n\r\nTry these three to explore the range of modern aged sak\u00e9.\r\nHakkaisan Snow Aged 3 Years Junmai Ginjo\r\nThree years spent in tanks at a consistent 37\u02daF next to an enormous mound of snow produces a clear, crisp sak\u00e9 with a creamy texture and burst of umami.\r\nKanbara Ancient Treasure Yamahai Junmai Genshu Koshu\r\nFunky, smoky and surprisingly tart after 12 years of aging. \u201cThe sak\u00e9 has a nutty sweetness to it, with layers of umami,\u201d says Volfson.\r\nTenryo Koshu Junmai Daiginjo\r\nStone fruits and flowers meld with raisins in this almost clear sak\u00e9 that\u2019s aged three years in bottle at cold temperatures. The ideal entry-level koshu.