“It’s beer Jim, but not as you know it!’ might very well have been the first words out Dr. McCoy’s mouth had the Enterprise ever managed to navigate it’s way to a Korean hof that sold the beer-flavored entity that is Filite . Designed, as I’m not sure it’s brewed, by those canny chaps at HiteJinro, Filite is marketed as a “Barley flavored drink” and that is probably the most accurate Marketing campaign since Dudley Moore declared Volvos as a being “Boxy, but good” in the movie Crazy People as it’s almost certainly not a beer
Continue reading #13 Filite (필라이트)
Hailing from Jeju’s Udo Island this peanut makgeolli is one of those types of drink that tastes better in your head than in reality. Jeju might be famous for producing great oranges, healthy mineral water and the best Soju around but it’s safe to say that this island product is not going to be winning any food and drink awards any time soon. Although it does taste exactly like peanuts it has an overpowering sweetness that brought memories of that sweet peanut candy my mother used to buy me to shut me up back in the 80s.
Continue reading #12 Jeju Udo Peanut Makgeolli (우도 땅콩 막걸리)
When the ‘craft-plosion’ started to hit the streets of Seoul in the early 2010’s, Magpie was one of the founding fathers at the front of the line as Seoul’s drinkers were finally offered an alternative to an “oh-beck” Cass and a dish of stale popcorn. The brewery started in the then less than luxurious surroundings of a Kyungridan alley and has gone from strength to strength. Magpie offers a core selection of Pale Ale, IPA (my personal favourite), Porter and Kolsch but also has various ‘seasonal’ options from time to time such as the fantastic Alpine Lager. Unlike some of the other craft breweries out there Magpie is incredibly well-priced with most of their selection coming in at 6000W for a “pint”.
Continue reading #11 Magpie Brewing Co. (맥파이브루잉 컴퍼니)
As commonly found in local marts these days as Cass and Hite, Jipyeong Makgeolli is fast becoming one of the most easily recognizable as well as most consumed rice wines around. This popularity could be down to the labeling on the bottle which sets the drinker up to believe that they are about to have one of the finest makgeollis on the market. Boasts of the brewery dating back to 1925, making it the oldest distillery in Korea, give it that “traditional” feeling with years of craftsmanship filling every bottle. Add to that the claim of their makgeolli only being made with Yangpyeong water, famed for its purity allegedly, and you could be forgiven for thinking this was going to be akin to the finest of Single Malt whiskies. Continue reading #10 Jipyeong Makgeolli (지평 막걸리)
Another well-crafted product from the boys at Woori Sool who brought us Gapyeong’s pine-nut rice wines. This time they’ve served up a chestnut DongDong-ju with a rich, creamy texture making it dangerously easy and addictive to drink whilst halfway up your favorite mountain. Generally easy to find in most CUs dotted around Seoul it’s accessibility and easy on the palette taste make it a great choice for those less familiar of the joys of Korean rice wine as some of the other less sweet selections out there can leave a bad taste in the mouth in more ways than one. Continue reading #9 Albam DongDong ( 알밤동동)
A slightly pine nut infused makgeolli, hence the “잣” subtly placed on the label, produced by the Woori Sool company who proudly boast having “produced the first pasteurized rice wine in the world”. Woori Sool claim to use only 100% domestic ingredients and, as the label states, use Gapyeong water and pine nuts mixed with Gyeonggi-do rice to create their entry-level makgeolli. As readily available in Seoul E-Marts as long queues and kimchi-hawking ajummas, Gapyeong Makgeolli provides a great alternative to Seoul Jangsoo or something similarly tasteless. Continue reading #8 Gapyeong Makgeolli (가평 막걸리)
Named after Jeju’s famous Baengnokdam Lake which sits atop Hallasan Mountain, this ale is one of a few craft beers that have made their way Seoulside from Korea’s island paradise of late. Brewed by the Jeju Jungmun Brewery, Baengnokdam is a ‘Whitbeer’ style ale with a particularly fruity aftertaste which lingers almost as long as last night’s BBQ smoke. Continue reading #7 Jeju Baengnokdam Ale (제주 백록담)
Produced by the Lotte Chilsung company, Cheoeum-cheoreom actually means “like the first time” in Korean which is ironic as pretty much anything you do after about the 2nd bottle will almost certainly be forgotten the next day. It’s actually made with alkali water which gives it a more distinctive taste than the other mainstream Sojus available, and has given lend to the advertising slogan ‘Happy Water’. As common on a Korean BBQ table as a red face, Cheoeun-cheoreom is an integral part of many a meal with some preferring to ‘take it down’ on it’s own and others masking its taste in a glass of beer (somek).
Continue reading #6 Cheoeum-Cheoreom Soju (처음처럼 소주)