Meet the Brewer Masters at Maloney’s

This Saturday, November 21st 2015 at 3pm, Maloney’s Pub and Grill will host an educational craft beer event and tasting in Kyungridan for beer lovers, foodies, homebrewers, and anyone interested in joining the booming beer industry. There will be four beers served with four different foods as well as talks, quizzes, prizes, and live music.

Bill Miller, the legendary beerfather and recipe master of Maloney’s Brewing Co will be discussing the beer industry. Bill has years of experience in the local homebrew scene and is also the designer of several Craftworks beers, The Booth’s first signature beer, and Maloney’s Combat Zone IPA and Southie Irish Red.

Kitae Park of Global Craft Korea can shed light on the import market of craft beer in Korea, as Global Craft Korea is responsible for many of the delicious American beers we have here including Modern Times, Green Flash, New Belgian, and–of course–Ballast Point.

Lastly, Brandan Fenner is the head brewer at Korea’s fantastic local brewery The Hand & Malt. He can shed light on his experience working at Maui Brewery in America and now the trend-setting Hand & Malt here. The Hand & Malt recently released Korea’s first beer made with locally grown hops and Korea’s first barrel-aged beer.

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Hand & Malt team with Brewmaster Brandon Fenner on the far right.

However, 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

All beers will be 5oz tastings.

The event also promises to have some fun quizzes for prizes and live music by Mimi Roh.

Seating is limited to 30 participants. It will be 27,500won if you order in advance or 35,000won at the door.

Register:
Fill out our Sign Up Form – http://goo.gl/forms/PE5pXviWpv
Then make payment to:

KEB Bank (외환은행)
Account: 630-006543-613
Holder: (주)10미디어

Location and Directions:
Maloney’s Pub & Grill
225-67 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

From Noksapyung Station, go straight out of exit 2. Walk past the long brick wall toward the major intersection. Take the underpass and cross the street toward the hill that goes to Hyatt hotel (Gyungnidan). Walk up the hill for about 5-7 minutes and the bar is on the second floor on the right.

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Bill Miller and Brendan Maloney at Maloney’s Pub celebrating the launch of Southie Irish Red

Our Picks for Beertopia 2015

Hong Kong’s biggest craft beer festival is back and bigger than ever with an estimate of 551 beers available. Not sure what to go for? Craft Beer Asia helps you pick your pints!

Continue reading “Our Picks for Beertopia 2015”

Chuseok 2015 in Kyungridan

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.

This past Saturday, Phillies in HBC hosted the Maloney Brewing Company’s new beer launch: Combat Zone 2.0. The Combat Zone, as most already know, is the second beer designed by Boston-inspired brewing company Maloneys and brewed by the Hand & Malt.

CombatZone 2.0

The Combat Zone IPA was first launched last year, giving beer geeks their first truly sock-you-in-the-face, Korea-brewed IPA. In fact, an early idea for Maloney’s tagline was “Get Fisted.”

This time around, Beerfather Bill Miller decided to play with his hops, toning down the bittering of the Columbus hops in favor of flavor and aroma. The result is still a mouthful, with 7.5% abv and enough hop punch to keep you on your toes, but with a more session-drinking friendliness.

Hand & Malt's Bryan Kunkel and Maloney Brewing Company's Bill Miller enjoying some Combat Zone outside Phillies.
Hand & Malt’s Bryan Kunkel and Maloney Brewing Company’s Bill Miller enjoying some Combat Zone outside Phillies.

Phillies also proved themselves to be great hosts, offering homemade pulled pork sandwiches on the menu and free t-shirts to Combat Zone drinkers.

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Talented local homebrewer Eric Drabenstot showing off his free Phillies/Combat Zone t-shirt while pouring some of his smooth and tart blueberry sour ale.

On Sunday, The Bottle Shop in Kyungridan hosted a BBQ for customers. Nicky, the owner and operator of The Bottle Shop, spent the evening grilling hot dogs, hamburgers, and samgyeopsal. Some awesome beer loving-expats brought some rare beers from San Diego as well as a platter of cheese and snacks. Others passed around their homebrews or bottles of beer they had saved for a special occasion. All-in-all it was a real blast, with much thanks going to Nicky and has ever supportive Bottle Shop.

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Nicky grilling some hot dogs on a busy Chuseok Sunday for us hungry beer drinkers.
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Nicky offered 5,000won beer specials while letting the homebrew flow freely.
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Nice spread of meat and snacks; enough to feed the 35+ beer drinkers who showed up.

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Gateway Beers!

Remember that one beer, that sticks out clearly in your mind… the one that said to you – what if beer could taste like more?

We all have that particular memory of a beer which changed our perception and palates, and the word to describe that would be… Gateway beer! Continue reading “Gateway Beers!”

Interview – Jay Duan of North Taiwan Brewing

North Taiwan brewing has certainly made waves since opening, with consistent awards in recent years. Their ever popular fruit beers – especially their Lychee – have made it overseas into various markets including Singapore. My impression of them was a brewery which only made fruit beers – until I came across their full lineup which included a saison, abbey among other ales.

Interest piqued, I probed further and was impressed by the fact that they are not a huge operation – but are able to bottle and package, and ensure product consistency with shipping and export. I decided to contact them for more information, and thus this interview was born!

North Taiwan
NT’s full range of offerings.

Continue reading “Interview – Jay Duan of North Taiwan Brewing”

Spotlight Shanghai: Interview with Fraser Kennedy

Fraser Kennedy is a New Zealander who has made his way to brew for the Dr. Beer brewpub in Shanghai, China. For a young brewer in his mid twenties, that’s certainly no easy feat. Craft Beer Asia has the story.

Continue reading “Spotlight Shanghai: Interview with Fraser Kennedy”

Craft Hans Opens in Gangnam: A Review

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Craft Hans recently opened a location off of Gangnam daero, behind Mixxo and near my favorite pub Woodstock. Craft beer enthusiasts will fondly remember Hans Store behind the Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon as a true OG of the bottle shop scene. Last year they magically transformed into a strangely faux-German gastropub selling pints and bottles to the new yuppie Korean foodies who now dominate Itaewon.

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.

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This location is far more spacious than the Itaewon iteration. It has a beautiful interior; minimalist, but a little refreshing. At a time when every hip new establishment has the minimalist/exposed fixtures style, Craft Hans stands out a little because of it shows more wood and brick than chrome and steel.

The music was English-language club pop. It wasn’t too loud. You can groove to it, but it’s still easy to have conversation. However, given the wood and brick décor, I’d prefer something hearing something like early blues or an alternative mix.

Overall though, I really liked the look. The central bar with thick wood planks, the corner view of the back alley of Gangnam, and the wooden beams supporting the ceiling all make it a comfortable and hip spot.

Amazingly, the beer prices start at 4,500. All draught beers are brewed by Ka-Brew (Kapa Brewery). It’s no secret that Ka-Brew went from craft beer Godfather to laughing stock in the Seoul craft beer scene. Problems with rebranding, diminishing quality, and terrible inconsistency made Ka-Brew a kind of minor-league where many beers started there but eventually moved on to better breweries. However, Ka-Brew has been fighting back. They had a presence at the latest Great Korean Beer Festival, showcasing their own branded recipes, bucking the trend of just producing Craftowrks clones. And these Craft Hans beers, while possibly Craftworks clones, might just be original and were certainly very solid. It reminded me of how Craftworks/Ka-Brew made me fall in love with craft beer only three years ago.

In addition, Craft Hans has its customary bottle selection featuring the usual suspects like Kona Brewing and Lost Coast. They have about 30 bottles including Old Rasputin for 13,000 and Sculpin IPA for 12,000, which are not great prices. Although the bottle prices aren’t as generous as the draught, there is a 30% discount when you get them to go.

I grabbed a sit in the corner overlooking the street before it got busy, which it was by the time I left at 8pm. The food menu looked great but I decided to try the Craft Hans Burger for 9,000 and Sampler 1 for 8,000, which featured the Weizen, Pale Ale, Mosaic IPA, and Stout.

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The Weizen was a beautiful, super pale color: almost like a white Mr. Freeze. It smelled of bananas but tasted drier than I expected, with a spritzy mouthfeel. Not exactly my style, per se, but still an attractive summer beer due to its not being too sweet or cloying while being bright and light.

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The Pale Ale was a very nice American Pale Ale style, clear and light copper color with an apricot aroma. It had a slight malt backbone, but the hops shine through to the end. Although it’s tame compared to Hand and Malt’s Combat Zone, it does remind me of Indica IPA a little bit. This might be my favorite beer of the bunch.

I took a break from the beer to eat my burger. The fries were wedge style, but small enough to be nice and roundly crisped. They look battered and well-seasoned with salt, pepper, and maybe a hint of something spicy.

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The burger had baby greens, tomato, white cheese, and a huge base of caramelized onions. It smelled incredibly smoky and had a cute grill burn on the top of the bun. The patty was thick and juicy, rivaling some of the better patties in the city like Firebell and Brooklyn. It was almost too stacked to fit into my mouth. However, after my first delicious bite, the bun started to slip away from the burger because of all the onions and what is maybe a teaspoon full of a tomato based sauce. I’m not exactly sure what it was. It tasted fine, but perhaps would have been better replaced with a nice dill pickle or grain mustard. Overall, the burger was actually quite good. For 9,000won, the Craft Hans Burger and fries was a great purchase.

Next, I dove into the stout sample. It was more of a dark brown than a true black stout. It’s lighter and, again, spritzier than I expected. It also tasted a little fresh, as if it could improve with some aging. Despite none of the beers having very good head (they were sample glasses, but still) this beer had noticeable bubbles sliding up the inside of the glass. I love stouts, but I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. However, as with the Weizen, it’s a clean and crisp beer. I can see people really liking it, especially at this price point. It’s almost a summer stout, if that’s a thing.

I saved the Mosaic IPA for last. Although it was quite paler, the hops reminded me of the pale ale with its apricot/peach aroma and flavor. However, the Mosaic IPA definitely carries more of a hop punch. Some of that could be due to using far less crystal malt. With less malty sweetness, the hop bitterness is more pronounced. As with their other beers, despite having no head it was quite carbonated. I actually prefer a nice, malty IPA and thus preferred the pale ale. However, for someone looking for a kind of pure IPA in the Combat Zone variety, this one does a pretty good job.

Finally, I ordered a full glass of the dark ale because I was curious to find out how it distinguished itself from the stout. The stout was bubbly, dark brown ale. The dark ale, confusingly enough, was a true stout. It was inky black (at least it looked it, but the sun was setting) and smelled of roasty flavors like coffee and cocoa. The head was still a little too thin, but at least it didn’t hit with a barrage of bubbles. It was a little fresher and more carbonated than I’d prefer, but it’s a very solid light stout.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by Craft Hans. It was a beautiful place with solid beer and food at very reasonable prices.

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The struggle of “small beer”…

Once upon a time, big breweries ruled the country. They served a need – to provide affordable, sessionable alcohol for relaxation, and people bought into that need. Not that there was much of a choice. Over decades, “big beer” had total control of beer – from supply to culture. Isn’t it scary to think of the fact that one organization can mastermind a product and condition a nation of people with marketing and advertising? Wait – back to total control…

Continue reading “The struggle of “small beer”…”

Hop History: Hand & Malt Uses Homegrown Hops to Make Chung Pyung Harvest Ale

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.

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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.

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The “Craft” in Craft Beer

Everyone, at some point in their alcoholic lives, would have wondered:

Why is craft beer called craft beer?

Surely, it shouldn’t have anything to do with facts and figures about how many billion litres it ships out a year, contrary to what the Brewers Association might think. Craft beer has always been complex blend of quality, taste and people. Consumers want a high quality, well made beverage. It should excite the senses, or, become a well balanced familiar go-to beer. Finally, the people behind the beverage matter – their inspirations and personalities.

In this post, I meet up with Ivan Yeo, Operations Director of The 1925 Microbrewery and Restaurant, for his take on craft beer in Singapore.

Continue reading “The “Craft” in Craft Beer”