KOREAN NAME: 지평 쌀막걸리
REVIEW: If you were to believe all the boasting on the bottle—Did you know that Jipyeong Brewery dates back to 1925 and has become “registered cultural property number 594”? Or, that their makgeolli is only made with Yangpyeong water, famed for its purity?—you’d be forgiven for thinking Jipyeong Ssal Makgeolli is going to be one of the finest craft makgeollis you’re likely to try.
The fact of the matter is, Jipyeong is nothing if not middle of the road. And that’s being kind. The body is thickish and yet a lack of effervescence makes for a boring mouthfeel. The scent presents something complex—salty, sour, slightly boozy—but the taste is typical of a mass produced makgeolli. Finally, and perhaps most damning considering all the “craftiness” Jipyeong is touted for, aspartame is a listed ingredient. On the other hand, the brew is neither sickly sweet nor is it plagued (much) by that signature metallic aftertaste.
In the end, the best endorsement I can give Jipyeong is that it’s worth getting if your other choices are the ubiquitous bottom-shelf bottles.
Smell: See THOUGHTS section.
BREWERY: Jipyeong Brewery (지평주조)
ORIGIN: Gyeonggi-do, Yangpyeong-gun, Jipyeong-myeon (경기도, 양평군, 지평면)
PURCHASED: Seoul, Gunja, Corner store (서울, 군자역)
AVAILABILITY: You might find Jipyeong at a supermarket but it’s unlikely. Thinking of the supermarkets I visited for the 2015 Supermarket Guide, I didn’t come across it once. It is a bottle that you’ll find in many joomaks and sometimes in a random corner store, which is where I found this particular bottle.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 5%
INGREDIENTS: Purified water, Korean rice (10.75%), imported wheat (3.22%), gok yeast, leavened yeast, purified enzymes, aspartame, acesulfame potassium
VOLUME: 750 ml
OTHER FACTS: Jipyeong has a number of interesting bits of text printed on the label:
- Jipyeong Brewery has been making makgeolli since 1925.
- A faux stamp textbox explains that “Jipyeong Brewery is registered cultural property number 594”. (지평주조장 등록문화재 594호 등재)
- A detailed account of Jipyeong Brewery’s history. (Good thing as there’s no official website where you can read the whole story.)