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…

Miinju

Sool #67 – Miinju

KOREAN NAME: 미인주 REVIEW: Miinju is the cheongju—or yakju, if you prefer—from Miin Takju. But that is really where the connection stops as Miinju is far above its takju counterpart. In many ways, it checks all the boxes for a smooth drinking cheongju. It’s boozy but not intense; flavorful but not weird or overbearing; and a pleasant…

Sato

Thai Sato

THAI NAME: Thai Sato REVIEW: While I was stuck taking care of the Takjoo Hound, Mrs. Takjoo and her mom traipsed off to Thailand for a week. But, even though I didn’t get to eat my weight in phat kaphrao or drink out of a coconut the size of my head, they were kind enough to bring me back…

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…

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…

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…

Pungjeong Sagye

Sool #59 – Pungjeong Sagye Chun

KOREAN NAME: 풍정 사계 춘 REVIEW: Pungjeong Sagye Chun (PSC) cheongju is one of the unexpectedly delightful finds that I came across at COEX’s Wines & Spirits Expo 2016. Hwayang’s booth was not ostentatious, nor did they make an overt effort to attract visitors. Even after stopping and asking for a sample, the rep at the booth simply let PSC do…

Cheongmyeongju

Homebrew #05 – Cheongmyeongju

For presenting itself as blue collar, beer can be awfully snobby. Sure, beer can be your average pilsner or lager, but look at all the ways it shows off: porters, IPAs, imperial IPAs, dubbels, tripels, bocks, saisons, sessions, sours, stouts, weizens, dunkelweizens… All right, already. We get it, beer! Well, wonju is no slouch either. There are a ton…

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…