With not a second to rest, our Pyeongchang Winter Olympic torch has made a blistering tour through the city of Ulsan. And of course, if we were in the Ulsan area, we would definitely be hitting up Boksoondoga Brewery!
Ulsan itself has some pretty cool facts to its name. It is Korea’s seventh most populated city, contains the largest village, and also happens to have the world’s second-largest oil refinery. But while those statistics are interesting enough (we are definitely planning a trip to that village!), the shining star of Ulsan in The Sool Company’s humble opinion is Boksoondoga makgeolli.
Boksoondoga Makgeolli (복순도가 손막걸리)
Boksoondoga makgeolli has well and truly cemented its reputation as ‘The Champagne Makgeolli’ due to its unusually high carbonation content. In a trademark tear-drop shaped bottle, it hails as a show-piece, self-mixing the sediment layers upon opening with just a few turns of the cap. When Boksoondoga first came on the scene quite a few years ago now, it had many a victim who gave the bottle a friendly shake, only to be promptly rewarded with the infamous ‘makgeolli shower’. These days, Boksoondaga has been a fixture at fine dining restaurants and has even found itself in the dining halls of The Blue House.
But it’s not just Boksoondoga’s unique image and award-winning flavours that make it a worthy choice, the brewery itself is a family owned business with an artistic approach unlike any other. We often tell the story of how brewing makgeolli was something always done in the home with recipes passing down from generation to generation, and Boksoondoga started out with that same inspiration. Brothers Kim Minkook and Kim Minkyu were inspired by their grandmother always brewing in large in their home. Both a mathematician and architect by trade, the brothers decided to apply their creative and scientific minds to their family traditions by creating a brewery of authenticity and artistic harmony.
Boksoondoga makgeolli is brewed solely inusing nuruk and rice sourced locally in the Ulsan area and has an ABV of 6%. A fundamental component of the brewery’s philosophy is to give back to their local community by using as many local ingredients as possible. Even the brewery structure itself was erected not by commercial builders but by a collective of local residents. The brewery space is more like an art gallery warehouse than a brewing factory, indicative of their commitment to aesthetic balance.
Boksoondoga is an example of how tradition and modernity can work in harmony to bring makgeolli into a new era. We have introduced Boksoondoga at many different events over the years, including a tasting in Sydney, Australia in 2016. The verdict is always clear, Boksoondoga is a crowd favourite for first-time drinkers and seasoned sool lovers! We hope the Olympic Torch entourage had some time to have a cup or two of this delicious brew on their journey 😉
Check our other Pyeongchang Olympics Sool Route stops:
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Julia is an Australian specialist in Korean Traditional Alcohol and has been involved in the makgeolli industry for over 6 years. She has been an activist for the promotion of Korean sool both locally and internationally after training at a number of institutes including Grand Master Park Rok Dam.