KOREAN NAME: 하얀술
REVIEW: When I was going over the menu at Makgeolli Hakkyo (막걸리 학교) in Isu, I asked the owner if he had something that was aspartame-free but still a bit sweet. He handed me a bottle of Hayan Sool and it was love at first sip.
The bottle I drank at the bar was fresh, fizzy, creamy, and just the right balance of sweet and sour. Knowing that I had to review it, I got a bottle for home. Four days later, I found a very different Hayan Sool: the sweetness had diminished and more robust, sour, boozy flavors had come to the forefront. The smell had changed too. Immediately after I cracked the bottle, I was struck by how much this reminded me of the sulfuric mustard notes I found in Baeksolgongju, the ihwaju I tried a couple months back.
I think my contrasting Hayan Sool experiences have a direct correlation with Neurin Maul and its “season” approach to explaining makgeolli maturation. In case you don’t know, Baesangmyun Brewery describes a newly bottled batch of Neurin Maul in its “Spring Season” as being light and easy to drink—the perfect picnic makgeolli. By the time a brew enters its “Winter Season” 25-30 days later (and beyond), a lot of the nascent flavors come barreling to the front making the brew much more complex and interesting.
Unlike Neurin Maul, Hayan Sool only has a shelf life of 10 days so keep this in mind when you get a bottle. That is, if you can find it; I’ve only ever seen it at Makgeolli Hakkyo, unfortunately.
Smell: See THOUGHTS section.
BREWERY: Songrimseong (송림성)
WEBSITE: www.hayansool.com (The bottle lists this as their website address but the link appears to be dead.)
ORIGIN: Gyeongsangnam-do, Geochang-gun (경상남도, 거창군)
PURCHASED: Seoul, Isu, Makgeolli Hakkyo (서울, 이수역, 막걸리 학교)
AVAILABILITY: For now, I’ve only seen it at Makgeolli Hakkyo in Isu. Let’s hope it finds its way to some other joomaks and distributors.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 6%
INGREDIENTS: Geochang-gun rice (100%)
VOLUME: 750 ml
PASTEURIZED: No (10-day shelf life)
OTHER FACTS: At the top of the bottle is a description of their makgeolli making tenets that could be translated something like the following:
Our makgeolli is made from three natural basics: Korean rice, alkaline water, and simple fermentation.
Our makgeolli does not include these three additives: artificial sweeteners, artificial scents, or artificial coloring.