Tasting Neulinmaeul Makgeolli (느린마을)

This is a video series about tasting sool and recognize good Makgeolli in and out of Korea. This time around, we taste Neulimaeul makgeolli  (느린마을), also known as “Slow City” from the brewery Baesangmyeongjuga (배상면주가).

Tasting Neulinmaeul (느린마을) Makgeolli – Transcript

Julia: Hi, everyone. It’s Julia and …
Daniel: Dan.
Julia: … from the Sool Company and we have got the first of our tasting videos.
Daniel: Exciting.
Julia: Dan, tell us about where we are today.
Daniel: We are in Yeouido in Seoul on the 50th floor. I don’t know what this building is called.
Julia: I think it’s called the Sky Park.
Daniel: The Sky Park?
Julia: Sky Park. Sky Farm.
Daniel: Sky Farm? Yeah, I don’t like heights so I’m not having the best time right now.
Julia: It’s been an interesting learning experience about our friend, Dan. Yeah, but we have makgeolli to help you out. We thought we’d start doing some videos to help you guys decide what you can select when you’re drinking your makgeolli and the first one we have today is a stock standard favorite of ours.
Daniel: We drink this everywhere we go, right?
Julia: Pretty much everywhere we go. What is this makgeolli again?
Daniel: This is from a brewery called Baesangmyeonjuga and it’s called Neulinmaeul and actually, you sometimes see in English called Slow City. It was available in the USA for a little while.
Julia: It was. Sadly, it is no longer.
Daniel: It is no more.
Julia: It is no more.
Daniel: This is an example of an Ilban (일반) makgeolli or like a regular table makgeolli that are generally kind of lower alcohol and lower cost but this is a pretty good example of a makgeolli in this price range that’s also of quality.
Julia: It is of quality and one notable thing is it does not contain any aspartame, something we always try to recommend. Also, something to notice about this brew is that many other makgeollis use artificial sweetners because it gives a flavor consistency but this particular brewery believes in embracing the flavor changes, so during the shelf-life, because the flavor does change, they actually cut that shelf right into seasons. Dan, spring?
Daniel: Okay, so spring is like when the brew is really young, so the first three days after it’s bottled, it’s supposed to be very sweet, very fragrant. The alcohol percentage is a little lower and it’s generally quite fruity and aromatic.
Julia: Quite fruity. I’d say quite banana-ry.
Daniel: Yeah, definitely.
Julia: You get a lot of banana notes in that brew and then that lasts for like three days.
Daniel: Sure and then comes the summer.
Julia: Then, summer. Summer, it’s a little bit different. It’s fomenting a little bit more in the bottle so it’s still quite fruity, quite banana-ry but sweet but it’s starting to taste a little bit more mature.
Daniel: Then, there’s obviously fall or autumn where I come from where it tastes have the change. It becomes a little bit more carbonated and as the sugar is being consumed by the live yeast, it gets a little bit stronger as well and usually goes up by about 0.5% alcohol over that period. That’s another three days.
Julia: That’s a bonus.
Daniel: Yeah. Then, after 10 days. It’s in winter.
Julia: My favorite season. I love to drink it in winter because I like something a bit more dry, a bit more sour. This is generally a sweet makgeolli so the longer it’s fermenting, it will start to get a bit more sour. There’s a bit of bitterness in it and more of that alcohol percentage and even the shelf life does say 10 days, you can actually keep this in your fridge a bit longer.
Daniel: We’ve had it after like one month, two months, something like that.
Julia: I think we’ve had it after three months.
Daniel: Three months.
Julia: I wouldn’t recommend that perhaps but certainly, a month was pretty good.
Daniel: If you like your booze drier and stronger, I certainly recommend keeping it a bit longer.
Julia: For sure. We have a bar drinking game that we tend to do sometimes and it’s called guess the season, so Dan, I’m going to test you today.
Daniel: Really?
Julia: You’re going to guess the season.
Daniel: Okay.
Julia: The way we do this game, the date, which Dan cannot see, always is written on the back and so it’s got the date that it’s bottled, so we can calculate which season it’s in based on the days on the back of the bottle. Now, one trick you can do is you can force the carbonation out of the bottle of the lid to reduce your chances of getting a makgeolli shower. We’ve all been there. It’s not pretty.
Daniel: Why, thank you.
Julia: You’re very welcome. All right, cheers.
Daniel: I wasn’t looking.
Julia: Cheers.
Daniel: I was showing the people the bottle.
Julia: Cheers.
Daniel: Cheers. It’s kind of dry. There is a lot carbonation.
Julia: There is carbonation.
Daniel: I’m going to say this is not young. I think it’s kind of older. I’m going to say late fall.
Julia: Late fall.
Daniel: Yeah, like maybe nine days in.
Julia: We got a number. Nine days in. The date on this bottle is the 5th of June.
Daniel: Okay and today’s date is?
Julia: I don’t know. The 12th.
Daniel: The 12th.
Julia: I don’t know where I got that from but it’s the 12th.
Daniel: Okay, so that’s still-
Julia: Five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12. Not bad.
Daniel: Seven days. It’s a lot younger than I expected it to be.
Julia: Now, there’s one thing to know about this game, is that you actually don’t know where this bottle has been. Maybe the place that I bought it, maybe it was left out the fridge for a while. There’s a lot of variables that happen in this game but still, it’s fun to do in a bar.
Daniel: Cool. Can we just finish this now?
Julia: Yes, we can.
Daniel: Thank you.
Julia: Well done.
Daniel: Cheers.
Julia: Cheers. That is Neulinmaeul. You can get it in any of your E-Marts or Homepluses or sometimes your local supermarket.
Daniel: Sure.
Julia: You can also find it in bars.
Daniel: There’s a lot of bars in Seoul actually. Yeah.
Julia: It’s fairly common and you can even go to their brew pubs. There are three beer pubs in Seoul in Gangnam …
Daniel: Yangjae.
Julia: … and Jongno and there you can get freshly brewed on site and you can get freshly brewed on site and you can get pitchers of your favorite season.
Daniel: Exciting.
Julia: It’s exciting. Unfortunately, this brew is not available overseas because it doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners and it is a live produced product.
Daniel: It will spoil if it gets transported for a long period of time, which is tragic thing about makgeolli.
Julia: It’s very tragic but all the more reason to come to Korea, so check it out and then comment and tell us if you like it.

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