C Makgeolli (C막걸리) has come out with 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 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 were able to set up shop in the lovely forested area of Gaepo-dong in Gangnam-gu before transitioning out to nearby Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi-do where they are now located.
The one-woman force behind C Makgeolli, Choi Young Eun, was kind enough to give us a tour of her brewery when she first established it in Seoul and provided 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).
Though C Makgeolli moved from Seoul to Yangpyeong in Gyeonggi-do, her aesthetics and infused makgeollis are still the same. Her products are available on various online shops in Korea. Just search “C막걸리” and see what pops so you can get your hands on these tasty treats.
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Check out our brewing classes and other experiences in our space in Seoul.
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