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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…