Korea-brewed craft beer has come a long way in a short time. The Hand & Malt is at the forefront of high-quality, consistent, local craft beer. Now they’ve pulled off a true first in the Korean craft beer scene: a Korean beer made with Korean hops.
The Hand & Malt recently harvested about 80kg of Korea’s first commercially grown hops. Although there are lots of variety of hops you can plant, soil and climate conditions can greatly affect the taste and aroma. So beer geeks and hops heads were excited the results of this first experiment.
Launching at Maloney’s Pub & Grill in Kyungridan, the Chung Pyung Harvest Ale is a limited release pale ale using all of these Chung Pyung grown hops for flavor and aroma. Brewmaster Brandon Fenner suggested that the Hand & Malt have enough homegrown hops for three batches of beer. After that, customers will have to wait until next year’s harvest.
The pale ale was on special for 5,000won and it was certainly worth it. It’s a solid beer that is modest and balanced due to the limited amount of hops available. It’s not your Combat Zone IPA, but it hits the spot. I asked Brandon what he thought of the hops. He said that he gets a hint of grapefruit aroma, a mild vegetal flavor, and a touch of mint in the aftertaste. Customers also got one hop cone in the glass as a cute, aromatic garish.
Although the first attempt produced a solid beer, I think that with more experience growing the hops and adding them to different recipes and styles, I’m sure next year’s beer will be even better.