Dameun Makgeolli

Sool #68 – Dameun Makgeolli

KOREAN NAME: 담은 막걸리 REVIEW: Sometimes you make exceptions. Baehyejeong Doga’s Horangi Makgeolli and Kooksoondang’s Yetnal Makgeolli are good examples of exception bottles; they deserve middling recommendations but not much beyond that. The big sticking point, of course, is what they’re made with. Although these brews don’t use aspartame, they do have sweeteners: Horangi has erythritol and…

100% Handmade Makgeolli

Sool #66 – Soola Makgeolli (aka 100% Handmade)

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…

Miin Takju

Sool #64 – Miin Takju

KOREAN NAME: 미인 탁주 REVIEW: There’s something about the simplicity and elegance of Miin’s label that grabs my attention every time I see it. It reminds me of one of those illegible chops that you see on Korean documents. But instead of being chunky-square lines, Miin has intersecting webs of swoops and swirls to form its hanja,…

Mangang-e Bichin Dal

Sool #63 – Mangang-e Bichin Dal

KOREAN NAME: 만강에 비친 달 REVIEW: Mangang-e Bichin Dal (MeBD) might have the most poetic (and long-winded) name in the sool biz. According to the bottle, it translates to The Moon Shining on MANG-GANG, Mangang having something to do with a river. While it might be a mouthful, it somehow fits this brew. MeBD is atypically pale…

Midam Yeonyeob Saeng Takju

Sool #62 – Midam Yeonyeob Saeng Takju

KOREAN NAME: 미담 연엽 생탁주 REVIEW: In terms of the blog, my biggest regret of the past year is that I did not review one Midam brew. There are some breweries making truly wonderful concoctions these days but, in my estimation, when considering the pinnacle of both interesting and delicious brews, you’d be right in thinking Midam…

Mi Mong Makgeolli

Makgeolli #61 – Mi Mong Makgeolli

KOREAN NAME: 미몽 막걸리 REVIEW: According to Kooksoondang’s website, Mi Mong means “The Dream of the Rice”. The poetic name, the glass bottle, the label illustrated like a classic East Asian painting you’ve seen in a museum—everything bespeaks an upmarket product that should be sipped not swilled. On the bottom of the label, you can even find…

Cheonbihyang Makgeolli

Makgeolli #58 – Cheonbihyang Makgeolli

KOREAN NAME: 천비향 막걸리 REVIEW: When I talk to other people in the makgeolli community, Joeunsul Brewery’s name is treated as sacrosanct, their brews pressed into the hands of neophytes as if they were being inducted into a clandestine order. Indeed, to borrow a quote from the inimitable Chicago surgeon Max Thorek, “Fashionable dinner parties and cracker…

Buja 16

MAKGEOLLI #57 – Buja 16

KOREAN NAME: 부자 16 REVIEW: Buja 16 was one of those bottles I heard about when I first moved to Korea as it seemed to be one of the few widely available, non-aspartame brews. Of course, when I went looking for it, it was nowhere to be found. (I will say I occasionally bump into Buja Purple,…

Eebaekju

Makgeolli #56 – Eebaekju (Eehwae Weolbaekhago Ju)

KOREAN NAME: 이백주 (이화에 월백 하고 주) REVIEW: There are a few oddities surrounding Eebaekju and they have nothing to do with the flavor: No expiration date is printed anywhere on the bottle, despite the fact that the label clearly states it has a shelf-life of 30 days. The only ingredient listed is hepssal, or new…

Jaheehyang Takju

Makgeolli #53 – Jaheehyang Takju

KOREAN NAME: 자희향 탁주 REVIEW: Jaheehyang. It’s one of the ever-growing makgeollis that embraces visual appeal, packaging, and quality brewing with the hopes that its consumers do likewise. But, before I get to the review, I should say that I sampled Jaheehyang not as the brewer intended. That is, I bought this back at the end of August…