The light at the end of that long dark summer tunnel is clear! And we have just the place to enjoy some awesome Korean alcohol and equally delicious food. Our meeting this Saturday will be to check out the rather new location of Wolhyang.
For those of you who might have followed our tastings in previous years, Wolhyang was one of the first makgeolli bars to offer higher quality brews in a more modern dining atmosphere. A name which has become synonymous with makgeolli bars, the previous locations in Hongdae and Seogyeo-dong were sadly closed, and now we have a new look and menu at the Yeoido location to peruse!
One of the special things about Wolhyang is that they offer variations of their own house brew, including their wonju (which for all the brewers out there that know is the un-watered down version 😉 )
So if you would like to check out the new Yeoido location of Wolhyang with us this Saturday, send an email to email@example.com to sign up!
We here at MMPK have been operating Korean traditional alcohol tours for the past year or so through our network of makgeolli lovers and personal recommendations. After thorough beta testing and development, we are now ready to launch our services to the world at large, and therefore have designed a brand new website to better showcase all the services we offer. From tasting tours, brewery & museum tours, private brewing classes, brewing certificate courses and our international client consulting, we have developed services for all your makgeolli and Korean alcohol needs!
So if you are looking for something special and unique to do while in Korea, or simply want to broaden your alcohol knowledge horizons, check out our new service website and get in touch 🙂
We just updated about a Makgeolli and International Flower Festival happening in April, but we have another heads up about a Korean Liquor and Food Festival scheduled for the weekend of May 19-20th. This one will be happening in the heart of Seoul at the Namsangol Hanok Village, and will feature all kinds of Korean alcohol and food pairings.
When: May 19th – 20th
Where: Namsangol Hanok Village near Chungmuro Station. Click here for details about the village and how to get there.
What: An event showcasing Korean alcohol and representative foods, performances and activities
The blossoms are blooming and we are mid-way through this year’s cherry blossom season, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more flowers to be amazed and take selfies in front of! And what better way to enjoy the spring air and newly sprung flowers than with some makgeolli in hand? Thankfully someone else thought of this winning combination, and made a festival specifically for flowers & makgeolli.
When: April 29th – May 15th
Time: 11am – 9pm
Where: Outdoor Square of Goyang One Mount (website in English for One Mount can be found here) For directions follow the link and click on One Mount Transportation for a multitude of options.
What: Free tastings of makgeolli from the 8 provinces of Korea, a variety of food dishes and performances. Goyang is famous for its International Flower Festival which is held every year, and is one of the biggest flower festivals in Korea. This year there will be a makgeolli festival to go along with it, so you can get the best of both festivals. The flower festival is held around Ilsan Lake and more information about it can be found here.
Get out and enjoy some makgeolli in the spring air with plenty of flowers!
We are officially in Year 3 of the English language Makgeolli Brewing Certificate Course, and we are excited to announce this year’s course dates and lineup! After much feedback from last year regarding extended scheduling and time constraints, we have adjusted the course into two modules which will follow a weekly schedule every Monday evening from 7pm – 10pm. The first module will cover all the rice preparation techniques required to follow any recipe, with the second module offering a higher level of chemistry, analysis and commercial context. Completion of each module will award you a certificate from Gyeonggi University and Susubori Academy.
What Is Involved in Module 1: Brewing Foundations?
This course is designed to equip you with all the various techniques that allow for not only following traditional recipes, but also experimenting and developing your own brew. Each technique class will have a theoretical and practical component, as well as introducing a new recipe each week. A tasting will be included in each class featuring completed recipes from each technique, as well as representing brews available on the market.
What is Involved in Module 2: Practical Applications and Analysis?
After arming yourself with all the skills and techniques makgeolli brewing fundamentals, you can then choose to further your knowledge and brewing arsenal with this more in depth course. More theory based, this course will focus on the scientific elements of makgeolli fermentation as well as cultural and industry perspectives.
Do I Have to Take All Classes, or Can I Just Take a Few?
This year the course will be running as a full module. In order to receive the certificate, you must sign up before the commencement of the course and attend all 8 classes. However, if at the time of course commencement there are additional places available, these will be offered to the public on a first come first served basis.
I’ve Taken a Class Last Year, Can I Use that Class as Credit for the 2016 Course?
Yes! We welcome anyone who has taken an Intro or Intermediate Class last year. In the event that the class you took is repeated in Module 1, you will receive a discount on that class so as only to pay for the materials used. In your registration, be sure to specify which classes you have taken in the past to receive your new quote.
What is the Susubori Brewer’s Club?
This is an online forum for all experienced makgeolli brewers to share their experiences, issues and to share feedback on their brewing progress. You can join the group here, and share your own experiences, ask questions and learn from others in the community.
How Much Does The Course Cost?
The full cost for each module is 450,000won all materials and tuition included.
What is the Refund/Cancellation Policy?
If you sign up for the course and for some reason can no longer attend, refunds can only be offered before the commencement of the course. Therefore please make sure you are 100 percent sure you will be able to attend before making your payment. If in the event we are unable to hold the class due to low registration numbers or any unforeseen circumstances, your class fee may be refunded.
Name: The Manjok (만족) *translates as ‘The Satisfaction‘
Location: Near the entrance to Hongik University.
Reviewed by: Mamas & Papas August 1st
Thoughts: Anyone visiting the area around Hongik university will quickly become aware that there is no shortage of places to choose from for food and drink. Whatever your fancy, there are a dozen places that will provide it for you. Makgeolli is of course no exception. Typically what’s been offer has catered for the predominant student demographic. Places such as Hongdaepo, Hawaiian Makgeolli and countless other nameless places, selling “house makgeolli” for cheap, fun times. Although more recently some more upmarket places have appeared in the area, including the fantastic Olsoo.
Not until the opening of The Manjok in the area, has there been a restaurant that has quality brews at a reasonable price. The owner is one of the brewers for 좋은술 (Joeun Sool), who are one of the most prominent premium makgeolli producers in the country. Their products include 천비향 탁주 (cheonbihyang takju) and 약주. The Manjok serves this brewery’s usual premium fare, as well as a variety of other craft brews that 좋은술 produces… great things….things that we had never seen. We were excited.
Service: ***** 5 Stars
Style: *** 3 Stars
Ambience: **** 4 Stars
Overall: **** 4.5 Stars
Baked Pork (보쌈): **** 4 Stars ~ Fatty, Juicy, Plentiful, Pairs well with Ihwaju.
What we liked: The Brews. Usually when we get together with our Mamas & Papas to try things out we start at the cheapest side of the menu, and try to sample our way up towards the really awesome items. However, we were (pleasantly) denied that chance. The owner was so keen for us to try the premium side of menu that he recommended us a large number of things that we hadn’t tried before. The majority of these brews do come from 좋은술, however there are varieties that as far as we know can’t be found in other spots, and they are priced much cheaper than can be found in other bars. If you’re not on your premium makgeolli game however, there are still a large number of regular takjus and makgeolli blends/cocktails to be enjoyed as well. (When we visited, the most prominent drink being consumed by patrons was 장수 (Jangsu)… stick to what you know I guess. #sadface)
What we disliked: Ice! At the time of our visit, a lot of the 천비향막걸리 was being stored in a refrigerator on the veranda of the restaurant, and although they were (fairly) cool, the manager insisted on blending the brews with crushed ice. Which though making them pleasantly cold, also made it a little difficult to drink. It seems a bit petty to pick on this however as they are still smoothing out the kinks in the newly opened venue. (We visited on their first weekend). We will update this section soon (we will definitely be visiting again)
Recommendation: We were elated to discover that The Manjok opens it’s doors at 11am. Even further elated to hear that they provide a lunch special. Our minds were blown when we told that this lunch only costs 5,900won. This makes it cheaper than most lunches you can find in the area, and with all that excellent makgeolli to pair it with I can imagine many afternoon workers arriving at the office with a spring in their step. This place also works well in the early evening, so feed and drink up before the rest of your Hongdae adventure.
Directions: Facing Hongik University’s main entrance, turn left and walk a few moments, taking the first left just before the Starbucks. You will see a CU convinience store on the corner. The Manjok is in the building directly across from there on your left, on the second floor.
Address: 서울 마포구 서교동 344-6 칼리오페빌딩 2층 (Seoul Mapo-gu, Seogyo-dong 344-6, Kaliope Building 2F)
These are the brew pubs of Baesangmyeon Brewery, and they are the force behind Neurin Maeul (느린마을) Makgeolli, which is an all chemical & aspartame free brew. Baesangmyeon’s brew philosophy is all about tradition, quality of ingredients and all natural processes. They don’t just stop at makgeolli, they have an extensive range of rice & fruit wines, including premium infused soju. At each of their showcase brew pubs they have a large selection of fruit wines, cheongjus, sojus and makgeolli’s for take home purchase. There are three brew pubs in Seoul where you can experience fresh Neurin Maeul brewed on site, an experience no other makgeolli brewery currently offers. Each brew pub has a different atmosphere, but each offer similar menus and varieties of alcohol. They also have a free membership program which gives you excellent benefits such as unlimited makgeolli, cheongju and soju for 10,000won for a 2 hour period. MMPK has regularly visited each Neurin Maeul location, and we readily recommend them as places to get an excellent overview of the spectrum of Korean traditional alcohol.
Atmosphere: The Yangjae location of the three Neurin Maeul Pubs was the first to brew on site, and it is actually in the building of the Brewery’s offices. The neighborhood of Yangjae houses a lot of offices, and the crowd at the pub of an evening is often office workers coming in for a few drinks at the end of the day. It’s a little more out of the way in terms of entertainment locations, but the atmosphere is cosy and lively, and they have a number of rooms for big groups. A special feature of this location is that they also have an outdoor terrace for the warmer seasons.
Recommendation: For those looking for a casual but quality makgeolli experience.
Atmosphere: Of course being in Gangnam, this location has a much more trendy and busy atmosphere than both Yangjae and Jongno. The crowd that can be seen at Gangnam is much younger and louder, and people are more likely to let their hair down at this pub. It is a very popular hangout, and it is not unusual to see a line or have to wait for a table, however the size of the location usually means the lines move fairly quickly. One thing to note is that the Gangnam location is more of a restaurant and bar, and whilst you can buy some alcohols for take out, the selection is not as diverse as the other two locations.
Recommendation: For those looking for a more party atmosphere, or a good quality makgeolli experience in the Gangnam area.
Neurin Maeul Brewery & Pub – Jongno Center One Building
Atmosphere: This is the most recent installment in the Neurin Maeul Brewery Pubs situated on the Cheongyecheon, and it is by far the largest. It is housed in one of the biggest financial buildings near Euljiro 1-ga station, and you can certainly feel the size of the pub on entry. However despite being so big, the atmosphere is still quite busy without being overwhelmingly so. One feature at this bar is that you can ask for them to bring you a free tasting of the four seasons of Neurin Maeul to help you make your choices.
Recommendation: If you find yourself in the Gwangwhamun or Jongno area, this location is a nice way to finish off a day of sightseeing or stream wandering.
Tell Us Your Experiences!
If you check out any of the Neurin Mauel Breweries & Pubs, we want to know what you think! Let us know by commenting below, or posting on our Facebook Page or Facebook Group 🙂
What about the Supermarket?
Don’t forget that you can also get Neurin Maeul at a number of different supermarkets in Seoul, including Homeplus and Emart. If you’re wondering if your local supermarket carries it, check out our lists here and here.
Thoughts: Wolhyang is one of the largest and most reputable chains for makgeolli. They carry an extensive range of makgeolli from all over the peninsula, as well as their own brewed makgeolli. The Itaewon location is the last of three, the others being in Seogyo dong and Hongdae (Scroll to the bottom for links to reviews of other locations). The Itaewon location carries a similar feel to the Seogyo-dong location, though it is even more hidden in the back alleys of Itaewon. In addition to carrying an extensive makgeolli range, it is also open from midday for those who are looking for a makgeolli lunchtime option.
The Itaewon location of Wolhyang is the most recent of the three bars, the first being Hongdae followed by Seogyo dong. This bar is situated far from the busy end of Itaewon and down a winding alley, ensuring that you feel far enough from the Itaewon hype. Inside is the signature sparse Wolhyang decor with open tables and big windows, though it is a little darker than the Seogyo dong location. It is consistent with the other locations in terms of menu and food, and you can always guarantee you will eat and drink well.
What We liked : The Service. All three Wolhyang locations offer just about the same food and makgeolli, but the staff at the Itaewon location are just that little bit more attentive and personable. If you come here more than once, the staff will be sure to remember you and recommend new things to try. We also love their daytime drinking policies, as this location in particular is popular for some afternoon makgeolli specials.
What we didn’t like: The price. As with the other Wolhyang reviews, we still struggle with the high prices. Even though Wolhyang has some excellent makgeolli from a range of reasonable to expensive prices, it’s the food costs that will hurt the wallet. If you are frequently ordering to replenish the food, the final bill can definitely get out of hand.
Recommendation: Wolhyang Itaewon is a great place for an afternoon hangout with friends. The distance from the main drag of Itaewon means it is quieter and more comfortable for a longer visit without, getting too over crowded.
How to get there: Come out of Hangangjin Station (Line 6) exit 3 and walk straight. Take your third left and walk all the way down the hill until you see a bar on the corner called Moonshine (this is the wine bar connected to Wolhyang), the front entrance to Wolhyang will be just around the corner.
NOTE: This location is now CLOSED as at December 2015
Name: Wolhyang (월향)
Reviewed by: Mama Julia & Papa Dan
Thoughts: Wolhyang is one of the largest and most reputable chains for makgeolli. They carry an extensive range of makgeolli from all over the peninsula, as well as their own brewed makgeolli. The Seogyo dong location is the second of three, the others being in Hongdae and Itaewon (Scroll to the bottom for links to reviews of other locations). The Seogyo-dong location is in a large white house with two floors and a balcony, and the sparse decor makes it feel light and roomy. It is probably the brightest and most upbeat of the three, and it lends itself to some cheerful dining and makgeolli tasting.
The Seogyo-dong location of Wolhyang has a very different atmosphere to the Hongdae location. As it is nestled in the backpacker side-streets of the neighborhood across from Hongdae, it has a slower and more relaxed feel. However, as with all Wolhyang bars, you can expect the same standard of menu and makgeolli on offer. It has large rooms for bigger groups which are not so easily accommodated in Hongdae, and there is no rush to leave to make room for other customers.
What We liked : The Selection.
The biggest draw for Wolhyang is the sheer selection and choice on the menu.
You can choose from the usual suspects which are common in many bars, or you can sample from a range of premium makgeolli, cheongju, and their very own wonju. The food is also of very good quality, though the serving portions can leave a hungry group wanting more.
What we didn’t like: The price. Even though Wolhyang has some excellent makgeolli from a range of reasonable to expensive prices, it’s the food costs that will hurt the wallet. If you are frequently ordering to replenish the food, the final bill can definitely get out of hand. The decor is also quite sparse, so it can feel like it is lacking in a bit of character.
Recommendation: Wolhyang Seogyo-dong is a great place for groups who are looking for a quality makgeolli and dining experience. If you have people visiting or would like to experience a wide range of traditional Korean liquors in a bright, open atmosphere, this is the place.
How to get there: Come out of Hongdae Station (Line 2) exit 1 and walk straight for two blocks. Turn at your second right and then right again. Take your first left and you will see a big white building which will be Wolhyang Seogyo-dong.
Thoughts: Damotori is the staple makgeolli bar for the Haebangcheon and surrounding neighborhood. It has a cozy and dark atmosphere, regularly filled with a mix of customers who both know their favorite and those that are looking to find a favorite.
What We Liked: The food. We have visited Damotori on a variety of occasions, and have ordered different dishes each time. The food rarely disappoints and is a solid accompaniment to the makgeolli. We also enjoyed being able to discuss makgeolli with the manager, so if you have any questions or need advice, he is an approachable person.
What We Didn’t Like: The Premium is hidden. Like most makgeolli bars that have extensive menus, Damotori does carry some premium makgeolli. However this is not advertised in the main menu. The menu itself has great information, including maps and tidbits of information about where it comes from, but if you are hankering for a bit of Jahuihyang, make sure you ask if he has some behind the counter.
Recommendation: If you find yourself in the Haebangcheon neighbourhood and want makgeolli, this is the best place you can go to get it. It is a good place for some casual conversation or small groups of friends that want some decent Korean food and drinks.
How to Get There: Come out of the Noksapyeong Station Haebangcheon Exit and walk down the hill parallel to the US Army base. Once you reach the kimchi pots, turn left and walk up the hill towards Haebangcheon. You will see a street veer off on your left and on the corner is Bonny’s Pizza, Damotori is just next door.