A line of bold and creative infusions that show great passion and skill for the craft of makgeolli brewing.
There is so much happening in the Korean traditional alcohol industry these days, it's hard to keep up! So many new breweries and bars have been popping up in the last year or so, and many of them are focusing on better quality and innovative styles. One new brewery that is hard to miss for their eye-catching colours and design aesthetic, is C Makgeolli.
We have been following C Makgeolli's journey via Instagram for some time now, as it's quite rare to see a brewery startup in Seoul. Most Korean alcohol breweries are located outside the city limits, as there are a lot of agricultural incentives from using locally produced ingredients. There aren't exactly a lot of rice paddy's available in downtown Seoul! But as C Makgeolli is a microbrewery, they are able to set up shop in the lovely forested area of Gaepo-dong in Gangnam-gu.
The one-woman force behind C Makgeolli, Choi Young Eun, was kind enough to give us a tour of her brewery and a tasting of her complete line of products. The brewery itself is an intuitive mix of traditional handmade techniques and modern equipment technology, preserving the integrity of the process while still having some ability for scale. Despite using stainless steel tanks, C Makgeolli insists on doing her primary fermentation in Hangari by hand. For makgeolli brewers out there, this means she still does a 'Beombeok' mitsul for all her brews entirely by hand, which is no easy feat!
The 'C' in C Makgeolli represents a brand committed to being 'Creative, Colourful, Cosmopolitan, Contemporary and Craft'. With the exception of their flagship 'Signature Cuvee' which is rice and juniper, each product in the line is named after its colour imparted from the infusions. And the creativity of said infusions is by no means understated.
The first three products that are hitting the bar shelves are Signature Cuvee, Green and Yellow. Without a doubt, Signature Cuvee will be the crowd-pleaser with its great balance of sweetness and acidity, and that boozy kick we love in a 12% Takju. Green is infused with kale and sweet mugwort, and by self-admission of Brewer Choi, can divide the room! Personally, this is one of my favourites in the line and I couldn't get enough.
Yellow is infused with carrot and lemongrass and is a whole different experience. Finally, we have an option in the world of makgeolli that is dry but still aromatic and full of character. Yellow is a versatile food pairing option, and definitely something for those who prefer something less sweet.
But it doesn't stop there! Purple is infused with blueberry and lavender, Red is infused with beet and mulberry leaves, Brown is infused with cacao nibs and tangerine zest. If Green or Yellow isn't your favourite, there is enough diversity in the line to find your tastes. C Makgeolli also does limited runs and special seasonal products so there's plenty to keep you guessing (and tasting).
So now comes to that all-important question, where can you get your hands on it? C Makgeolli will be hosting monthly Brewery Open House events, where you can visit in person and have a chat with Brewer Choi herself. These will be the first Saturday of every month, but the next ones are scheduled for August 12th and September 4th. They are also stocked at various quality makgeolli bars around the country, but if you just can't wait, you can always call and order directly on 0507-1338-2621. No worries for language as Brewer Choi is a fluent English speaker.
C Makgeolli Brewery Address: 서울 강남구 개포동 1191-4 2nd Floor