KOREAN NAME: 생 고향 막걸리
REVIEW: On my trip out to Ganghwa Island, I was on the lookout for a bottle I hadn’t tried. The convenience stores and roadside shops were well-stocked with many local brews that fit the bill but I couldn’t find a single one that didn’t list aspartame in the ingredients. So, making the best out of a bad situation, I picked up the bottle with the lowest percentage of the additive: Saeng Gohyang Makgeolli.
The aspartame sweetness has, as I hoped, been kept in check. In fact, I’d even say Gohyang is on the dry side with a noticeable, but not overwhelming, chalky, vanilla flavor. The medium-bodied texture and carbonation further added to the complexity of the mouthfeel and flavor. And yet, the aspartame seeps into the aftertaste—as it inevitably does—and made, what could have been an interesting makgeolli, rather ho-hum.
If you happen to be on Ganghwa Island—digging for mollusks, hanging out in your tent, taking selfies with your selfie stick, or whatever it is the kids do—Gohyang will do in a pinch. Otherwise, there’s no reason to seek it out.
Smell: Gohyang has a strong scent that is sour, yeasty, and boozy.
BREWERY: Chanwoomool (찬우물)
ORIGIN: Incheon, Ganghwa-gun, Seonwon-myeon (인천시, 강화군, 선원면)
PURCHASED: Incheon, Ganghwa Island, YesMart (인천시, 강화도, 예스마트)
AVAILABILITY: I picked this bottle up at a convenience store on Incheon’s Ganghwa Island, which is probably the easiest way to get your hands on Gohyang. I also checked Chanwoomool’s website but couldn’t find a place where you could order a bottle.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 6%
INGREDIENTS: Imported rice (90%), Korean iso-oligosaccharide (10%), aspartame (.01
VOLUME: 750 ml
PASTEURIZED: No (20-day shelf life)
OTHER FACTS: Saeng Gohyang Makgeolli is one of six brews produced by Chanwoomool. The others being a pasteurized makgeolli called Ssal Salgyoon (쌀 살균) and infusions that are made from ginseng (insam/인삼), wormwood (yassuk/약쑥), lotus root (yeongeun/연근), and Korean black raspberry (bokbunja/복분자).