#34 Jinro Is Back Soju (진로 이즈 백)

In a meeting room, early 2019, somewhere in Hitejinro HQ a decision was made that would completely change the face of almost every restaurant table in Korea as the idea of “Jinro Is Back” was birthed and a new bottle was about to hit the already saturated Soju scene. Korea has been adopting something of a return to retro designs of late and those marketing-savvy gents at Hitejinro were not to be left behind. “Jinro Is Back” saw a move away from the iconic green Soju bottle as the company returned to the 70’s with their blue bottle and brand logo of a toad. Continue reading #34 Jinro Is Back Soju (진로 이즈 백)

#33 Dongrae San Seong Makgeolli (동래산성 막걸리)

With it’s elaborate Chinese lettering label Dongrae San Seong Makgeolli is one of Busan’s lesser known rice wines, so much so that it took me almost six trips nine months apart to get my hands on another bottle. They tend to change their label design pretty often which can make it appear even more elusive. Like most Busan offerings it has a slightly sour/bitter taste and has more of a bite to it than it’s Seoul competitors. It has a shelf-life or around a month due to being non-pasteurized so make sure your calendar, or fridge, isn’t too full. Continue reading #33 Dongrae San Seong Makgeolli (동래산성 막걸리)

#32 ‘Premium’ Busan Saengtak Makgeolli (프리미엄 생탁 막걸리)

If something is good, let’s mess around with it and try to make it better seems to have been the call to arms down South as the always reliable Busan Saengtak Makgeolli underwent a makeover and lo and behold both a ‘Premium’ and a ‘Mild’ version were conceived. The ‘mild’ is something I may never drag myself to blog about but I was intrigued to see how they would take a makgeolli that has slowly grown into one of my favourites and make it better….spoiler alert….they made it 1% stronger. Continue reading #32 ‘Premium’ Busan Saengtak Makgeolli (프리미엄 생탁 막걸리)

#31 Omija DongDongJu (오미자 동동주)

Brewed by the Nakchun Brewery in Donghae Gangwon-do, Omija Dongdongju is certainly one of the most interesting tasting beverages I’ve had in while. Made with just under 1% omija berry it has a distinctive, almost medicinal, taste to it which lingers around a little like the creepy IT guy at the office Christmas party. It has a pink hue to it and given that medicinal smell and taste memories of summers spent sunburnt and covered in Calamine lotion came flooding back. Continue reading #31 Omija DongDongJu (오미자 동동주)

#30 Baedari Makgeolli (배다리막걸리)

Baedari which translates to the old name for Goyang in Gyeonngi-do was a favourite of ex-President Park Chung-hee.  It is pretty light rice wine with very little carbonation and is pretty refreshing to drink after a tough day. It was once regarded as the ‘purest’ of makgeollis due to it being brewed in the traditional manner and using water from 200m underground. It doesn’t really have a distinctive flavour but it does have something about it which sets it apart from many others. Continue reading #30 Baedari Makgeolli (배다리막걸리)

#29 Tiger Belly Makgeolli (호랑이배꼽막걸리)

Brewed by 밝은세상녹색영농조합 (website here) in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi-do, the name tiger is used in the product name because Pyeongtaek, where the brewery is located, is commonly regarded as the tiger belly on the tiger-like Korean peninsula. With zero carbonation, it is a very light and smooth drink which goes down exceptionally easily and quickly! It boasts no artificial additives and uses 100% Pyeongtaek rice (60% white rice, 40% brown rice). Continue reading #29 Tiger Belly Makgeolli (호랑이배꼽막걸리)

#28 Gyeongbukgung Palace Royal Pride Ale (경복궁)

The latest addition from the guys at Kabrew is an IPA named after Seoul’s largest palace, Gyeongbukgung. The IPA claims to be infused with lotus leaf which instantly gave me images of Percy Jackson in a Las Vegas casino, but thankfully this drink only brings with it the standard level of memory loss associated with an IPA.  The can is beautiful, with a price to match, but does Korea finally have an IPA to sit at the top table? Not quite! Continue reading #28 Gyeongbukgung Palace Royal Pride Ale (경복궁)