KOREAN NAME: 아황 약주
REVIEW: So far, the site has reviewed two bottles from Miin Brewery. Miin Takju, while not bad, is fairly forgettable apart from being a bit on the dry side. Miinju doesn’t stand out much either, but of the three, it’s probably the most balanced—the bottle to reach for if you’re looking for something for everyone.
Ahwang Yakju is the third and final brew from Miin Brewery to be reviewed and it’s also the most intriguing. According to the description on Miin’s site, Ahwang is based on recipes that date back to the Goryeo Kingdom (918-1392). The description also mentions something about how if you look at a crow through a bottle of Ahwang, even the crow looks yellow… Yeah, I’m scratching my head too but happy to wet my beak.
Anyway. I’ve made hay about Miin’s superb label design and Ahwang is no different. Looking like something you’d find in your Korean grandfather’s medicine cabinet, you can almost glean a sense of Ahwang’s flavor. The first notes, heightened by the red apple and cherry aroma, are smooth and slightly sweet. And then, just like in Miin Takju and to a lesser extent Miinju, there’s a bitter tinge, something medicinal which hangs on for quite a while and overpowers the other flavors. Korean grandpa meds, indeed!
Ahwang may not be to everyone’s liking for this reason so I’m giving it a conditional recommendation. For anyone who’s really put off by bitter flavors, I think the bitterness mellows after time: I let my bottle breathe for an hour or two and it seemed a fair bit smoother. On the other hand, I’d also had more to drink. Coincidence or science?
Regardless, if you like drier brews or just want to try something unique, Ahwang is a pleasant outlier in the world of cheongju.
Appearance: Pale yellow.
Scent: Red apples, cherry, honey.
Body: Light and smooth.
RATING: Conditionally Recommended
BREWERY: Miin Brewery (미인) / Choi HaengSook Traditional Brewery (최행숙전통주가)
ORIGIN: Gyeonggi-do, Paju (경기도, 파주)
PURCHASED: By phone 010.8956.5101/031.958.1297
AVAILABILITY: Of all Miin’s brews, Ahwang is probably the easiest to find at joomaks.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 15%
INGREDIENTS: 44% Paju glutinous rice, 4% Miin wheat nuruk, 52% purified water
VOLUME: 500 ml
PASTEURIZED: No (Shelf-life 90 days)