Made by the Craftroot Brewing Company in Sokcho, Gangwon-do (website here), Cheongcho Lake Golden Ale is named after one of Sokcho’s more popular tourist spots and walking trails. The beer itself is slightly cloudy and has a little bit of bite about it although whether it has a strong enough taste to set itself apart as an “ale” rather than a lager type beer I’m not so sure. It is a refreshing drink though and is more than a welcome addition to Korea’s ever expanding craft beer portfolio. It is definitely worth picking up a can or three if you can find it as it won’t disappoint, is it the best of Craftroot’s beers? No, but it is still head and shoulders above a can of Max!!! Continue reading #42 Cheongcho Lake Golden Ale (청초호)
The latest addition from the guys at Kabrew is an IPA named after Seoul’s largest palace, Gyeongbokgung. The IPA claims to be infused with lotus leaf which instantly gave me images of Percy Jackson in a Las Vegas casino, but thankfully this drink only brings with it the standard level of memory loss associated with an IPA. The can is beautiful, with a price to match, but does Korea finally have an IPA to sit at the top table? Almost!
You can watch my video review here.
Continue reading #28 Gyeongbokgung Palace Royal Pride Ale (경복궁)
Made by Korean craft beer company 7brau (see website here), Han River Ale is brewed as a witbier with an “citrus taste”. The citrus taste comes from the added orange peel sediment in the bottle so don’t make the same schoolboy error I did and drink the first few gulps without shaking it first as it really does change the flavour. The label claims that it also has oats added but that wasn’t particularly evident in the taste. It has the typically lemmon-ish colour of most witbiers but without the overpowering sourness so commonly found with them. Continue reading #19 Han River Ale (한강)
“It’s beer Jim, but not as you know it!’ might very well have been the first words out Dr. McCoy’s mouth had the Enterprise ever managed to navigate it’s way to a Korean hof that sold the beer-flavored entity that is Filite . Designed, as I’m not sure it’s brewed, by those canny chaps at HiteJinro, Filite is marketed as a “Barley flavored drink” and that is probably the most accurate Marketing campaign since Dudley Moore declared Volvos as a being “Boxy, but good” in the movie Crazy People as it’s almost certainly not a beer
Continue reading #13 Filite (필라이트)
When the ‘craft-plosion’ started to hit the streets of Seoul in the early 2010’s, Magpie was one of the founding fathers at the front of the line as Seoul’s drinkers were finally offered an alternative to an “oh-beck” Cass and a dish of stale popcorn. The brewery started in the then less than luxurious surroundings of a Kyungridan alley and has gone from strength to strength. Magpie offers a core selection of Pale Ale, IPA (my personal favourite), Porter and Kolsch but also has various ‘seasonal’ options from time to time such as the fantastic Alpine Lager. Unlike some of the other craft breweries out there Magpie is incredibly well-priced with most of their selection coming in at 6000W for a “pint”.
Continue reading #11 Magpie Brewing Co. (맥파이브루잉 컴퍼니)
Named after Jeju’s famous Baengnokdam Lake which sits atop Hallasan Mountain, this ale is one of a few craft beers that have made their way Seoulside from Korea’s island paradise of late. Brewed by the Jeju Jungmun Brewery, Baengnokdam is a ‘Whitbeer’ style ale with a particularly fruity aftertaste which lingers almost as long as last night’s BBQ smoke. Continue reading #7 Jeju Baengnokdam Ale (제주 백록담)
If the staple food of a Korean company dinner is kimchi then the staple beer is almost certainly Cass Fresh. As ubiquitous as chips on a British plate, few BBQ tables are short of a blue label or two. Promoted by such famous faces as Lee Hyori, BlackPink and Big Bang it is probably one of Korea’s most iconic beers. It even managed to capture the attention of Scotland’s very own ‘foul-mouthed’ chef Gordon Ramsay (no joke) who, in 2018, seemed to be on a continual loop of television stations pretending to enjoy one of Oriental Brewery’s finest. Continue reading #4 Cass Fresh (카스 프레시)
Named after the “famous” Yeosu night sky this is Korea’s latest attempt at a Dark Ale and by far one of their best so far. It’s got a reasonably good flavour although I’m not convinced you’ll be still sipping on your 5th can of the night any time soon. Like most of the darker craft ales made in Korea however, it’s not that heavy to drink and lacks the fuller body associated with UK-style ales. That being said it’s a good beer and if it ever falls in price then it’s definitely one to have in the back of the fridge.
Continue reading #1 Yeosu Night Ale (여수)