Allegedly named after a famous shoe polish brand, it’s a a really sour tasting black bean makgeolli. There is a lot of sediment and so you need to drink it pretty quickly as once it settles there’s a lot at the bottom of your cup. The colour is also a little brown in order to match the shoe polish, which I’m not really sure was a good idea. Not sure I’m a fan of this to be honest and it’s definitely not one that I’ll be rushing out to buy again.
I’ll be honest when I first found this nestling among some Incheon makgeolli in a local Bupyeong mart, I bought it more out of curiosity then expectation…I was wrong. I really didn’t expect to like it but it is actually really good. It is a little sour but it definitely packs a punch and might just be a acquired taste. It’s also a little thick with some slight carbonation
It is quick thick and bitter and has a slightly yellow hue. The bitterness isn’t too overpowering but it does make you clench your jaws and its probably not going to be a good rice wine for someone new to makgeolli. It is one of those makgeolli that has an ‘old-fashioned’ and more traditional feel to it, which for me is a huge positive with all the recent ‘craft’ makgeolli that is beginning to flood the market.
Seoul Jangsoo has long been the main, and sometimes only, bottle of makgeolli readily available in the capital but with the recent influx of ricewine from other areas and cities the Seoul Jangsoo Brewery decided to launch a new bottle on the market and so InSaeng (Life) makgeolli was born. But which makgeolli is the best? I decided to put them both to the taste test and where better to do so than to go for a walk up Namsan Mountain.
Made with only domestic rice unlike the standard version (review here) which uses a mixture of both domestic and foreign rice, ‘Plus’ is Incheon’s answer to Jangsoo ’10 day’ makgeolli, the ‘Plus’ being because it is domestic rice only. It is a little sour and has a lot of carbonation so make sure you have your cup at the ready. It is a simple makgeolli which is light and easy to drink but it is kind of easily forgettable as there isn’t really anything ‘Plus’ about it that sets it apart from the standard Soseongju and there’s definitely nothing to justify a 200W higher price tag. Continue reading #84 Soseongju Plus (소성주 플러스)
It’s a very light and smooth makgeolli, it has no carbonation which means you can make sure to mix it 100%. It seem to be becoming more and more popular in restaurants in the Gyeonggi area and offers a great alternative to the Jangsoo and Jipyeong that so often takes us the fridge space. It is a really easy makgeolli to drink and is definitely one for the purists and newbies alike.
There is no real carbonation in Hongcheon DongDongJu and it has a slightly yellow in colour. It is a little sweet but that being said it does have the smell and feel of a makgeolli that you’d get served in the back streets of traditional places like Insadong and Jeonju. It unfortunately doesn’t have the sourness or the bite of the more “traditional” rice wines but it is a good makgeolli and the large bottles mean that you can really make good use of that kettle you bought and left in the cupboard.
Seobaeksan Makgeolli is definitely one of my favorites, it has a slightly bitter aftertaste and is a little thicker than ‘Jangsoo style’ ricewines which is always a plus in my book as I often find the more watery makgeolli to also be pretty tasteless. It has no carbonation and is a slightly darker yellow colour than a lot of other ricewines. It is often referred to as the ‘ajossi makgeolli’ which I’m not sure is to do with the clientele who drink it or its bitterness 🙂
Made by the Daegang Yangjojang Brewery, Seobaeksan is generally found in good makgeolli and jeon restaurants and if you are lucky enough to live near a fantastically stocked Mart then you will should find a bottle or two loitering in their fridges. It goes amazingly well with both gamja-jeon (potato) and kimchi-jeon. The bottle in the photo above was bought in the exceptional Mapo Fisheries Market, a ‘makgeolli hunt’ you can watch in the YouTube clip below.
Young-tak probably needs no introductions as it has quickly swept Korea over the last year or so. It smells like it will be quite sour but it’s actually surprising quite sweet. It is a really smooth makgeolli to drink and like a Jangsoo or a Saengtak is a multiple bottle rice wine that you could definitely drink several of over a session. They interestingly started off with clear bottles but seem to have joined others like Jipyeong and switched to white PET, the reason for this is to allow the bottles to be reused several times..yeah I know!!! Continue reading #75 Youngtak Makgeolli (영탁 막걸리)