Makgeolli #08 – Neurin Maeul Saeng Makgeolli

KOREAN NAME: 느린마을 생 막걸리

REVIEW: Neurin Maeul has a lot of sediment. Even after a good shake, I was still pouring white clumps into my bowl. But this is not a critique – Neurin Maeul is pleasantly creamy and thick, and the clumps actually made me feel that I got the makgeolli from a country farmhouse as opposed to a factory in Seoul.

And I think this is indicative of why people are swooning over Neurin Maeul: this is a makgeolli that’s clearly a craft product. Even the translation of the name – Slow City – belies Baesangmyun Brewery’s devotion to making a quality makgeolli. It’s a smart move too considering that craft beer and slow food are steadily pushing out Korean establishments that are content to hawk the same, poorly made food and booze.

Another cool thing I like about Neurin Maeul is their concept of “seasons”. You can find a diagram on each bottle that indicates how the flavors of the makgeolli change and mature over the course of a bottle’s shelf life. Three categories are listed – 신맛 (sour), 단맛 (sweet), and 탄산미 (carbonation) – and these are measured in terms of 적음 (low), 보통 (medium), and 많음 (high). (One strange thing I noted is that the tasting chart found in the following picture and described below seems to be at odds with what’s presented on Baesangmyun Brewery’s website.)

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Anyway, here’s the breakdown:

SPRING (1-4 days after production)

  • Sour = low
  • Sweet = very high
  • Carbonation = low-medium

SUMMER (5-8 days after production)

  • Sour = low
  • Sweet = medium-high
  • Carbonation = high

FALL (9-12 days after production)

  • Sour = medium-high
  • Sweet = low-medium
  • Carbonation = very high

WINTER (13 days after production)

  • Sour = medium-high
  • Sweet = low
  • Carbonation = high

The great thing about this is that you can try Neurin Maeul (and really any unpasteurized makgeolli) at different points in its shelf life and have a completely new experience. I tried my bottle 12 days after its production date, at the end of its “fall season”. I have a feeling that the fall and winter flavors might be less appealing to someone who is new to makgeolli or who has mainly only tried pasteurized makgeollis. If you fall into this category, it’d be better to try Neurin Maeul in its spring or summer seasons first.

Regardless of what “season” you try it, it is really one of the best makgeollis around.

*The following are the notes for the fall season.

Carbonation: Light.

Body: Thick but separates easily.

Smell: Boozy with a hint of green apples.

SCORE: 7/7

BREWERY: Baesangmyun Brewery (배상면주가)

WEBSITE: www.soolsool.co.kr/neurin/ricewine01.asp

There is also an English-language site for the brewery they set up in Illinois, USA: http://www.slowcitybrew.com/

ORIGIN: Gyeonggi-do, Pocheon (경기도, 포천시)

PURCHASED: Seoul, Gwangjin-gu, Ggwalla (서울, 광진구, 꽐라)

AVAILABILITY: Any joomak worth its salt will have Neurin Maeul on their menus. And, I haven’t confirmed this but I’ve read that this bottle is at most Homeplus and Lotte Mart branches around the country. Good news!

ALCOHOL CONTENT: 6%

INGREDIENTS: Korean rice (100%), yeast

VOLUME: 750 ml

PASTEURIZED: No

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10 thoughts on “Makgeolli #08 – Neurin Maeul Saeng Makgeolli

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