“This list is a tip of the hat to what I think were the highlights of this past year. This is not an official list or a consensus. I didn’t try all the beers or visit all the pubs. And perhaps some of the candidates were more 2014 than 2015. Deal with it. This is just my personal favorite things in 2015. It is biased, in a sense, but there’s no craft beer place or person in the country that I have a grudge against.”
The main event for most will be the pairings of four different beers and dishes for tasting. According to the event page, the tastings are scheduled to be:
**Maloney’s Southie Irish Red Ale paired with salami & cheese
**Maloney’s Combat Zone India Pale Ale paired with spicy sliders
**New Belgian’s Fat Tire Amber Ale paired with salt, pepper and sesame oil wings
**New Belgian’s Snapshot Wheat Beer paired with smoked salmon canape
Every autumn, Seoulites fill the highways to the tune of millions of cars per day, racing to their ancestral hometowns to engage in what is best described to foreigners as Korean Thanksgiving. For years, being a foreigner during Chuseok was a mixed blessing. We would get time off work, but much of the city would be closed down and travelling anywhere was a gong show. The latter problem still exists, but the former problems is rapidly vanishing. In the foreign oasis of Kyungridan/HBC, this past Chuseok weekend was actually one of the most fun beer weekends of the year.
Craft Hans recently opened a location off of Gangnam daero, behind Mixxo and near my favorite pub Woodstock. Though I never stayed more than a minute inside the Craft Hans in Itaewon, I was excited to see one pop up in Gangnam. In the past year, Gangnam has seen several craft beer places finally open shop; but there’s still a room for a lot more.
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.
Media Paran co-founder Kang Da-mi pours me a glass of Clown Shoes Undead Imperial Stout and welcomes me to take a seat in their small office a few steps outside of Itaewon. Sipping craft beer isn’t unusual at the office of this young, small company. Media Paran has been busy lately, with three consecutive months of beer festivals this spring. The other co-founder, Kyung-hee, turns on some music as I take a seat.
Magpie Brewing offers homebrew class for 50,000won/class. All classes take place on Sundays, usually running from Fall to Spring (the Summer months are too hot for easy beer making). You have three choices on how extensive and expensive you want your experience to be.
Korea Craft Brewery opened in July 2014 and started offering tours in October 2014. Troy Zitzelsberger, of Reilly’s Taphouse and founder of the Seoul Brew Club, arranged the tour with some of us fellow SBC members. About a dozen of us met at the Hamilton Hotel on a crisp November afternoon, ready for the ninety minute road trip to Eumseong county.
On a sunny afternoon, the day after Hallowe’en, I met with Mission Springs Sale Manager Ian Rodgers at their Kyundridan location here in Seoul, Korea. The Springs Taphouse is a Korean branch of Mission Springs Brewing Company in British Columbia that serve excellent Canadian craft beer and pizza. I ran into Ian at the GKBF and was blown away to find a Canadian craft beer company up and running here in Korea. I needed to learn more!
Posted on Nov 26th, 2014 by Tom Johnston
For a second year in a row, I went to the beer zone at COEX Food Week. The beer zone was another Korean beer fest created and hosted by the event planning group Media Param. It ran from Wednesday, November 12th through Saturday, November 15th. My friend Michael Hobbs and I got tickets for the last day of the event thanks to Dami Kang, and we were greeted by Kyoung-hee Lim who gave us our passes and filled us in on the details.
Like last year’s event, the beer zone was a very small part of the greater Food Week expo, just tucked away in the back area of one of the halls. This year it was in Hall D on the 3rd floor. Like last year, it had only six stalls. And also like last year, it was popular and drew a festive crowd! However, this year’s selections were different with the exception of Craftworks and Platinum.
Have you ever had a moment where, after years of going back and forth, hemming and hawing, you finally take the plunge and do something you’ve always wanted to do?
After years of curiosity, I took the plunge on a nice autumn afternoon last Sunday. With some initiative from my friend Rob Shelley, I was finally going to learn about brewing beer! I had spent years talking about it, but brewing just seemed too complicated. Now I was going to find out if my fears were overblown.
Sept 21st, 2014 by ColdCalc
A casual blind tasting of Ballast Point’s Big Eye IPA, Ninkasi’s Total Domination IPA, Brew Dog’s Punk IPA, Kona’s Castaway IPA, Lost Coast’s Indica IPA, and a surprise beer: Jinro-Hite’s Queen’s Ale Extra Bitter.
August 10th, 2014 by ColdCalc
With help from Paul Flaherty of the Seoul Brew Club, I organized myself a one-man craft beer pub crawl in downtown Gwangju. Starting on the afternoon of July 25th, I visited The First Alleyway, The Boca Beer, Able Taphouse, and Amble, but missed the Alley Taphouse. Although the scene is young, I did manage to find a nice diversity of beer and get a sense of the present and future of craft beer in Gwangju.
July 20th, 2014 by ColdCalc
On July 5th, Seoul saw its first craft beer event since January’s Seoul Brew Club Winter Beer Fest. That event (written about here) was a major success. Anticipation built with the coming of the Spring Beer Fest, until government regulators threatened legal action. While the SBC and their friends raced to find some sort of legal solution, Media Paran capitalized on the opportunity by organizing a commercial festival: Craft Beer Fest Korea. Craft breweries who participated were Craftworks, Platinum, Levee, Craftone, Weizen Haus, and Lovibond.
March 2nd, 2014 by ColdCalc
As of now, this was the last of the Seoul Homebrew Club’s beer fests before regulatory redtape complicated things. This festival took place in venues between Kyungridan and HBC: Upper Deck, Maloney’s, Craftworks, The Booth, Magpie, Phillies, and Bonnie’s.
Feb 23rd, 2014 by ColdCalc
Local beer legend Bill Miller shares his thoughts on craft beer in Korea. Bill is the creative force behind the recipe for such beers as Craftworks’ Moon Bear IPA, Buk Han San Pale Ale, and Halla Mountain Golden Ale; The Booth’s Bill’s Pale Ale; and Maloney’s Southie Irish Red Ale.
Jan 3rd, 2014 by ColdCalc
At COEX’s Food Expo, some local brewers and the Seoul Homebrew Club organized a Craft Beer Fest. Platinum, Craftworks, and Reily’s Taphouse were represented as well as some delicious homebrew. This was an early sign of how big the craft beer scene in Korea would grow in just a short time.
Aug 5th, 2013 by ColdCalc
My first article for CraftBeerAsia, before I had learned much about the craft beer scene. It provides background about traditional drinking culture in Korea (at least the tradition of foreigners drinking in Korea). It also predicts how the craft beer scene would explode like the espresso scene just five years before. Although written in 2013, the changes from then to now are extraordinary.