Koreans are known for our love toward various kinds of liquor such as soju, beer, wine, etc. Among many kinds of liquor, for tourists who come to Korea, Makgeolli might be the most attractive option. Makgeolli, known as traditional Korean rice wine, has been getting popular among foreigners for its unique flavor(and it’s even cheap!) Can you believe if there’s a fancy restaurant where you can enjoy All-you-can-eat Makgeolli in Seoul? Before that, I would like to attach an explanation about Makgeolli for someone who has never heard of it!
Makgeolli, sometimes anglicized to makkoli, is a Korean alcoholic beverage. The milky, off-white and lightly sparkling rice wine has a slight viscosity that tastes slightly sweet, tangy, bitter, and astringent. Chalky sediment gives it a cloudy appearance. As a low proof drink of six to nine percent alcohol by volume, it is often considered a happy, communal beverage. In Korea, makgeolli is often unpasteurized, and the wine continues to mature in the bottle. Makgeolli is the oldest alcoholic beverage in Korea. Rice wine has been brewed since the Three Kingdoms era, which ran from the 1st century BCE to the 7th century. The most-consumed alcoholic drink in South Korea in the 1960s and 1970s, makgeolli began to lose popularity in the 1970s with the rise of imported alcoholic beverages. As makgeolli was considered cheap and old-fashioned, sellers then focused on selling quantity rather than quality, with many makgeolli companies turning to mass production. In the 21st century, makgeolli enjoyed a resurgence in urban areas and among younger generations. The health benefits and low alcohol proof of makgeolli, and a growing interest in cultural traditions in recent decades have contributed to the revival.
Slow Village Brewery & Pub
Mirae Asset Center 1 Building, 26, Eulji-ro 5-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
Opening hours : Weekdays 5PM~ 12AM / Weekends 4PM~11PM
Subway Line 2 Euljiro 1(il)-ga Exit 4
Owned and operated by Pocheon-based brewery Baesangmyeon Brewery, makers of the popular Sansachun medicinal wine, Neurin Maeul (“Slow Village”) is an urban brewpub with locations throughout the city, including a popular branch in the Center 1 complex next to the Cheonggyecheon Stream. There are several branches all over Seoul. Neurin Maeul is a cavernous place with a dark, minimalist interior and an in-house brewery that you can examine through its plate-glass walls. But don’t let the trendy digs and Center 1’s futuristic architecture fool you(The place is really neat and fancy that you might think they focus on interior more than food and beverage; Neurin Maeul is all about tradition and the art of living – and eating – slowly. As befitting a bar run by one of the country’s top brewers, you’ll find a full array of traditional spirits and wines, including unusual selections such as apple arak, which goes down surprisingly smooth for a beverage that’s 30 percent alcohol.
As I mentioned above, there are several branches all over Seoul, such as Hongik University, Jong-no, Gangnam, etc. The best thing(personally) for me is that they have all-you-can-drink Makgeolli(2 hours only). you can use a ‘$10 unlimited’ drink package. When you order this ‘unlimited’, you can drink 7 different rice wines for 2 hours.
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You can enjoy 4 levels of maturity of Makgeolli, here. They named the levels following the names of seasons; spring, summer, fall, and winter. Getting to the winter level, the taste of Makgeolli is getting less sweeter and more alcohol-flavored. They added the explanation; spring(1~3 days old, fresh, sweet, lightly sparkling), summer(4 ~ 6 days old, fresh, rich sparking), fall(7 ~ 9 days old, mellow, smooth acidity), winter(10 days old, real alcohol lovers’ rice wine).
The chefs in the kitchen prepare a range of delightful “slow food” options, including a juicy hunk of pork belly that melts in your mouth and a roasted duck and salmon salad served with three kinds of cheese. As Makgeolli is a Korean traditional drink, the options of food are also generally traditional ones. And the price is quite reasonable compared to other restaurants and bars!