Duru Samseon Takju

Sool #69 – Duru Samseon Takju

KOREAN NAME: 두루 삼선 탁주 REVIEW: I first came across Duru Brewery at the 15th Seoul International Wines & Spirits Expo. One sip of their sool and I knew I had found my new brewery of the con. Based in Hongcheon, Gangwon-do, Duru Brewery is in good company; two Takjoo Journals favorites—Midam Brewery and Ye-sul Brewery—also…

Songhwaju

Sool #65 – Midam Songhwaju

KOREAN NAME: 송화주 약주 REVIEW: From reading my review of Midam Yeonyeob Seoktanju, it’s clear that I am an unapologetic fan of Midam’s sool. After all, there’s a lot to appreciate. She runs a family owned and operated brewery dedicated to making small batches of high-end brews that are all variations on the juk, or porridge, recipe…

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…

Kooksoondang Ssal Makgeolli Canned

Makgeolli #46 – Kooksoondang Ssal Makgeolli (Canned)

KOREAN NAME: 국순당 쌀 막걸리 REVIEW: Your average canned makgeollis typically have two things in common: carbonation and cloying sweetness. Kooksoondang Ssal Makgeolli is an outlier, then, or at least further from the center. For starters, the carbonation is quite light; I usually prefer a brew with more, but in Kooksoondang Ssal’s case it seemed to fit the…

Yetnal Makgeolli

Makgeolli #33 – Yetnal Makgeolli

KOREAN NAME: 옛날 막걸리 REVIEW: To be completely honest, I didn’t like Yetnal the first time I had it a couple years ago. At that point my exposure to makgeolli was the “house” makgeolli (whatever that was) that I was drinking at my local joomak, or whatever was on hand at the corner store. In other words,…

Gondurae Saeng Makgeolli

Makgeolli #13 – Gondurae

KOREAN NAME: 곤드레 REVIEW: Gondurae is named after the cirsium setidens herb grown and eaten in Gangwon-do, the province from which Gondurae is brewed. Coincidentally (or not?), there’s a Korean expression “곤드레만드레” (gonduraemandurae), which I’ve seen translated as “staggering drunk”, “tanked up”, or, the best translation yet – “drunk as a piper”.

Wookooksaeng Makgeolli

Makgeolli #07 – Wookooksaeng Makgeolli

KOREAN NAME: 우국생 막걸리 REVIEW: Much like the scent, Wookooksaeng has a sort of dry, toasty-oaty flavor – at least initially. The taste quickly transforms into something that is metallic and slightly bitter-sweet (I suspect this is the aspartame at work but am not sure). This aftertaste lingers far too long to be pleasant. In short, I’m…

iCing Grapefruit Makgeolli

Makgeolli #04 – iCing Grapefruit

KOREAN NAME: 아이싱 자몽 REVIEW: After my first taste of iCing Grapefruit, I was instantly reminded of chu-hi (or チューハイ), a ubiquitous alcoholic beverage in Japan that is somewhat akin to bottled alcopop drinks like Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Bacardi Breezer, Hooper’s Hooch… you get the idea. Only, I would rate chu-hi much higher and Icing somewhere between the two. I think what both chu-hi and Icing…