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…

Sejong Daewang Eoju Yakju

Sool #55 – Sejong Daewang Eoju Yakju

  KOREAN NAME: 세종대왕 어주 약주 REVIEW: After lots of disappointment with the brews on offer at COEX’s Food Week Korea 2015, I was pleasantly surprised to run into “traditional liquor teacher” Jang Jung-su, the owner and master brewer behind Jangheui Doga. Jang explained that Jangheui has two main brews, a Yakju and Takju (read: makgeolli)…

Jirisan Gookhwaju

Sool #54 – Jirisan Gookhwaju

  KOREAN NAME: 지리산 국화주 REVIEW: Curious bottles that I’ve never seen before make me both excited and circumspect. And more often than not, my hesitancy is confirmed with a bad bottle. Jirisan Gookhwaju isn’t bad, per se, but it is firmly in the camp of weird Korean booze that you would drink on a dare…

Yuginong Makgeolli

Makgeolli #52 – Yuginong Makgeolli

KOREAN NAME: 유기농 막걸리 REVIEW: Yuginong was a bottle I had earmarked for trying in the future but it wasn’t till I finally picked it up that I realized it’s made by Baesangmyun Brewery. Obviously a good sign as I have yet to try a bad brew from them. And with the appellation Yuginong—literally organic—this brew promised to…

Buan Champpong Makgeolli

Makgeolli #50 – Buan Champpong Makgeolli

KOREAN NAME: 부안 참뽕 막걸리 REVIEW: Dong Jin Brewery’s Buan Champpong is much like its counterpart Carbonated Rice Makgeolli: it doesn’t use aspartame (which I’m grateful for) but it has been over-loaded with stevia and sucralose. Buan Champpong is also flavored with Korean mulberry, or odi (오디). But my guess is this adds more to the sugar-content than…

Ugok-ju Makgeolli

Sool #47 – Ugok-ju

KOREAN NAME: 우곡주 REVIEW: I must have poor beginner’s luck. The first two Bae Hyejeong Doga Brewery (BHD) bottles I tried were execrable, while the last two—Horangi and now Ugok-ju—have been nothing short of delightful. The BHD English website calls Ugok-ju “The absolute premium rice wine”. The fancy glass bottle and simple but classic design of the label…

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…

Soony Makgeolli

Makgeolli #42 – Soony

KOREAN NAME: 순희 REVIEW: Bohae Brewery’s Soony is a bottle that is slightly difficult to come by but has all the traits of a bottom-shelf brew: i.e., pasteurized and made with aspartame as well as a whole host of other additives. This includes stevia, a sugar substitute, and something called tomatine. This is apparently a glycoalkaloid that…

Neurin Maul Ihwaju

Sool #41 – Neurin Maeul Ihwaju

KOREAN NAME: 느린마을 이화주 REVIEW: How can the makgeolli industry make a quality product that is true to the origins of this wonderful brew? According to an article in The Hankyoreh, breweries should abide by these three practices: Use domestic rice, not imported rice. Stop using aspartame and other artificial sweeteners. Switch from plastic bottles to glass bottles.

Walmae Makgeolli (Canned)

Makgeolli #40 – Walmae Makgeolli (Canned)

KOREAN NAME: 월매 막걸리  REVIEW: To review the canned version of Walmae Makgeolli, I thought I ought to have a side-by-side comparison with the bottled version. The first thing I noticed was the difference in ingredients. Besides the usual suspects, bottled Walmae (BW) includes things like multi-oligosaccharide, wheat, pine needle extract, aspartame, citric acid, yeast, lactobacillus wheat, and dextrin; canned…