KOREAN NAME: 술아 막걸리
REVIEW: Like a makgeolli noob, I shook the hell out of my bottle of Soolawon’s 100% Handmade in order to integrate the sediment into the rest of the brew. Makgeolli Volcano, my flashback to a middle school science project, was a sticky reminder that most makgeolli is carbonated. Despite the clean-up job, it was kind of refreshing to have a makgeolli that is both quality and carbonated; the only other brews that spring to mind are Neurin Maeul and one or two others like Song Myeong Seob and Yetnal Makgeolli.
I drank this 11 days after its bottled date but it already tasted like a danyangju makgeolli that’s been sitting in the fridge a bit. That is, it’s more tangy than sweet with those bitter/sour flavors bringing out more balance and complexity than more sugary brews like Neurin Maeul. 100% Handmade is one you could 100% sip all night.
Besides the quirky sobriquet, 100% Handmade’s VOSS-like bottle is another way this sool straddles the worlds of “traditional brewing” and “not your ajeosshi’s makgeolli”. In the end, this is a good plastic-bottle brew that should be in more people’s hands. However, I don’t care how cool the marketing is or how good the brew is, Soolawon is never going to compete with the likes of Neurin Maeul or even Yetnal Makgeolli when the price point is ₩7,000 for 450 ml of booze.
Appearance: Chalky grey. Lots of sediment and weird, yeasty bubbles.
Smell: Marshmallow and a musty hint of grapefruit.
Carbonation: A ton.
Body: Carbonation makes for a denser and fuller feel.
BREWERY: Soolawon (술아원)
ORIGIN: Gyeonggi-do, Yeoju (경기도, 여주시)
PURCHASED: Called in an order – ₩7,000.
AVAILABILITY: While it may be at a few joomaks, it’s probably easiest to order a bottle over the phone: 070.8776.0007.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 8%
INGREDIENTS: Glutinous rice, nuruk, purified water
VOLUME: 450 ml
PASTEURIZED: No (Shelf-life 30 days)