KOREAN NAME: 포천 쌀 막걸리
REVIEW: Whenever I wander into a random, family-owned corner store in an unfamiliar neighborhood, I’m pleasantly not-so surprised to see one of the bottles from Pochun Maggeolli (sic). I don’t know how (or why) they do it, but one of their bottles—could be deodeok makgeolli, or wheat makgeolli (밀), or even something called millet skin makgeolli (조껍데기)—always seems to find its way onto a shelf in one of these little markets. But as Pocheon Ssal Makgeolli seems to be the flagship brand, you can also find this bottle in bigger consumer outlets, like E-mart.
For a pasteurized makgeolli, I never expect much. But Pocheon Ssal leaves a different taste in my mouth. Its thick texture makes amends—in part—for the lack of carbonation. This creaminess also helps to add depth to a somewhat non-descript flavor. It’s sweet and tangy without ever being interesting, but nor does it offend. It’s as if you’re having a sweeter, creamier version of rice. Lastly, it doesn’t use aspartame, which is a nice point in its favor. Of course, this is not to say that the ingredients are completely all-natural but… it’s a step in the right direction.
You won’t get excited about Pocheon Ssal but you may not feel bad about getting it either. This would be a decent brew to make some maksa with.
Body: Creamy and thick.
Smell: A vanilla aroma with something slightly vegetable, almost carrot-like.
BREWERY: Pochun Maggeolli Co. (포천 막걸리)
REGION: Gyeonggi-do, Pocheon, Gunnae-myeon (경기도, 포천시, 군내면)
PURCHASED: Seoul, Gwangjin-gu, E-Mart (서울, 광진구)
AVAILABILITY: This is a fairly common bottle that is sold at E-mart and often at small corner stores.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 6%
INGREDIENTS: Purified water, Korean rice (11.004%), American and Australian wheat, sodium saccharine, manufactured extracted enzymes, leavened yeast, lactate, starch, purified enzymes
VOLUME: 750 ml
OTHER FACTS: While the brewery has written its English name as Pochun Maggeolli using the McCune-Reischauer Korean Romanization from the 20th century, Pocheon Ssal Makgeolli is written on the bottle. This name follows the mandates of the 21st-century Revised Romanization. (Check the explanation here if you’re interested.) If the information written on bottle is to be believed, Pochun Maggeolli has been in business since 1915, so perhaps this explains the difference in spellings (sort of).