Saturday June 26 is an unforgettable day for Hana Makgeolli (201, rue Dupont). It’s the anniversary of their last beer – the Omija Makgeolli. The team is working on setting up a complete tasting room, which you can enjoy this summer. Right now they’re open for in-person pickup and space is also available for private events.
I interrupted the party and talked to founder and brewer Alice Jun over a glass of the drink of the day.
When and how was Hana Makgeolli born?
Hana Makgeolli started as a passionate home brewing project in 2015. I shared my home brews with friends and strangers at private tastings and events. It was really my way of structuring my home brewing practice. It also allowed me to dive deeper into the world of sool brewing. Hana Makgeolli became the brewery it is today at the end of 2017. That’s when I decided to commit to the idea that there is potential market and viability. market for traditionally made Korean sools here in the United States.
For our readers who are unfamiliar with makgeolli as an alcoholic drink, why should they get on the makgeolli train?
Makgeolli, and the broader category of sool, is truly an incredible category of beverage because of its unique fermentation starter (nuruk), long history, and breadth. For those new to the category, there is so much to learn about the natural / wild fermentation process. We can also experience the complexity and flavors that are unique to traditionally made sools.
How is the Omija Makgeolli different from the rest of your products?
The Omija Makgeolli is our first makgeolli ABV lower – 9.5% ABV. It is infused with a unique berry called ‘omija’ or also known as magnolia berry. Omija berry is best known for its 5 distinct flavors: salty, tangy, sweet, bitter and pungent.
The Omija Makgeolli has a slight berry pink tint and has a very salty, yet refreshing profile. It is meant to be drunk by the bottle in a casual setting, which sets it apart from our base line of sools. Similar to all of our sool, it is made with organic rice, nuruk and water using traditional Korean brewing methodologies.
What would you recommend to pair your makgeolli with?
Due to the drought of the Omija Makgeolli, it goes well with so many foods! We paired the Omija Makgeolli with a gamja jeon and a pa jeon (potato and green onion pancakes) at the launch event. It will also go very well with many other savory Korean dishes or even a simple cheese board!
What does Hana Makgeolli hope to accomplish in the Greenpoint community and beyond?
Our overall hope is that our work will spread the knowledge of Korean traditionally made floors. We also want our space to be a welcoming place for the community to come and taste and learn all about sool!
Seong Joon, makgeolli enthusiast and home brewer, shares: âOmija Makgeolli is the perfect summer drink, light and refreshing. I also like its flavor. It’s true and natural, with a touch of wineâ¦ All the others (on the market) are very sweet, like dessert. I would drink it in the sun, with a mild soft cheese and cold cuts.
Hana Makgeolli sells 3 other beers. Get your hands on it today.