Outdoor Lessons (야외 수업)

Outdoor Classes Glasses

Name: Outdoor Lessons (야외 수업)

Location: Hongdae (홍대)

Reviewed by:  Mamas & Papas July 11th, 2015

Thoughts: If you’ve got a hankering for camping but just can’t seem to get out of iron grip of Seoul, you can head for the bar hell bent on simulating the outdoor camping experience indoors. Camping themed restaurants and bars seem to be lingering trend in across Seoul, but what sets this place apart is the focus on Korean traditional alcohol.  Outdoor Lessons (야외 수업) is an outdoors camping themed bar, but rather than focusing on makgeolli, it is developing a name for itself in soju.

When you hear the words ‘soju bar’, it might conjure images of dozens of green bottles and a very rowdy crowd.  However, Outdoor Lessons has a range of popular, mid-range and hard to find sojus and even cheongjus (약주/청주), without the rough crowd.  The food is delicious, and combined with the relaxed atmosphere it makes for a very different soju experience than the usual hof.

 

Outdoor Classes Tent

Location

Service: **** 4 Stars

Style: *** 3.5 Stars

Ambience:  **** 4 Stars

Overall: **** 4 Stars

Outdoor Classes Food

Recommended Food:

Seafood Pajeon (해물 파전): *** 3 Stars ~ Crispy, Generous, Satisfying

Wagyu Beef (와규 소고기) : 4 ****  Stars ~ Tender, Succulent, Silky

Raw Beef Sashimi (육회) **** 4 Stars ~ Fresh, Soft, Delicious

Herb Grilled Pork (허브 삼겹살) *** 3 Stars ~ Fragrant, Juicy, Moorish

Outdoor Lessons - Omaegi Sul

 

Recommended Soju & Cheongju:

Omaegi Sul (오메기술) *** 3.5 Stars ~ Apple, Dusty, Floral, Citrus notes

Najang Bokbunja (내장산 복분자) **** 4 Stars ~ Subtle, Fruity, Peppery Aroma, Warming

Hansan Sogokju (한산 소곡주) *** 3  Stars ~ Charred fruit, Syrupy, Meaty, Woody

Arirang Hongju (아라랑 홍주) ** 2.5 Stars ~ Cherry, Burn, Radish, Strong

Outdoor Classes Bokbunja

Outdoor Classes Sogokju

What we liked: The Concept. Although we tend to primarily visit makgeolli bars, the reason is because there are very few soju bars that offer a variety of quality products at a reasonable price.  That’s not to say there isn’t a whole world of soju beyond the 2,000won bottle at the BBQ restaurant, as there quite a few decent products both established and emerging for the soju lover.  However, most dedicated makgeolli bars either stock the top or the low end, not leaving much wiggle room for the middle range.

The best part about the Outdoor Lessons concept is that it is un-pretentious and relaxed, whilst still offering some interesting liquors. One Mama said ‘I have never been in this kind of environment before ~ I like it!’.  The favorite bottle of the evening was surprisingly the Bokbunja, as most people at the table agreed they were not usually Bokbunja fans.  Another Mama said ‘It’s not like the candy you usually get, I could drink quite a bit of this.’

Outdoor Classes Indoor setting

What we disliked: The Lack of a Good Makgeolli Option. It’s not really the most fair criticism, seeing as Outdoor Lessons primarily stocks soju and cheongju.  However there is makgeolli on the menu, and for those that are not ready to hit the hard stuff, having a good makgeolli on hand would keep everyone happy.  From the bottles we tried, the one that did not win raving reviews from everyone at the meeting was the Arirang Hongju, with one Papa exclaiming ‘I still feel the burn’.

Outdoor Classes Hongju

Recommendation: If you would like to have a relaxed and casual night with the opportunity to try a range of not so common Korean alcohols, Outdoor Lessons is your bet.  It’s very large, has outdoor seating and can accommodate just about any size of group you have.  It has an unpretentious atmosphere for kicking back and trying a lot of interesting booze, without the astronomical price tag.

 

IMG_1748Outdoor Classes InteriroIMG_1668Outdoor Lessons Directions

 

Outdoor Classes Pouring

Directions:  Come out of Hongdae Station (Line 2) and walk straight.  Cross the road when you see the Tom and Tom’s Cafe on the corner and turn left.  Take your first right up the main clothing store streetand walk about a block, and turn left up a small hill (There used to be a Hello Kitty Cafe up this street).  You should see the bar on the right hand side.

Outdoor Classes Front


Address:
 어울마당로 94-12

Phone: 02-6241-6789

Map: Here

Have you been to Outdoor Lessons before? Tried more dishes or have more opinions? More questions? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!

 

Makgeolli Shelf Life Extended to 100 Days

Now this could be a step in the right direction.  Fresh makgeolli currently only has a shelf life of around 30 days due to the fermentation process.  Any longer than that and it starts to taste quite sour and bitter….but not in a good way.  According to the Korea Food Research Institute, this could all change as they have found a way to extend the storage life of makgeolli to 100 days.  This could be mean big things for the export market, as previously it hasn’t been worthwhile to ship and stock overseas buyers with the short lifespan.

Korea Times Mak

We’re not experts on what this new way of brewing could mean for the taste or integrity of makgeolli, but it’s still good to hear that there is research being done into improving methods.  In the meantime, a good tip when buying makgeolli at your local supermarket is to check the top of the bottle.  Fresh makgeolli always has the bottled date and the expiry date printed, so you can know what stage of shelf life it is in.   If a bottle has a printed shelf life of a year or more….you can be pretty certain it’s not fresh and has a serious cocktail of chemicals keeping it going.

Check out the article in the Korea Times here.

What do you think about this new extension?  Good idea or bad idea?  Leave us a comment below and tell us your opinion!

 

Makgeolli Cocktail File – The Berry Brunch

The next installment in our Makgeolli Cocktail experiments is something that was inspired by….dare we say it….breakfast! There are a number of fruit makgeolli cocktails available in bars these days, but we haven’t come across any using fresh fruit as yet. This cocktail came out thick and smoothie like, and the added shot of hard liquor could be further experimented with. Again the trick is to have frozen fruit on hand to get that iced chill and frothy finish.
Makgeolli Cocktail Berry Brunch

Ingredients:
1 large frozen strawberry
1 small handful frozen blueberries
1 cup of Geumjeong sanseong (금정산성) or other light, sweetish makgeolli
1/2 shot of gin

Place berries, makgeolli and gin in a blender and mix until there are no chunks of fruit left. Enjoy!

Remember: The key to all makgeolli cocktails is the type of makgeolli, and the flavor will change according to which makgeolli you choose. This worked with a very well known makgeolli that has a light, slightly citrus taste. A lighter, more balanced makgeolli goes well with the sweetness of the fruit.

Have you tried this recipe? Had different results? Tell us what you think!