If you’re a Beer Dad, you’re always on the lookout for new and exciting brews to try. And if you haven’t yet, you should dive into the world of Korean beer brands, you’re missing out on some seriously delicious and unique options. I’m in a love-hate relationship with Korean beers, but this article is all love…
Korean beer(MaekJu) is a fascinating blend of traditional brewing techniques and modern flavors, and there’s something for everyone in this booming industry. You can read my other article about Korean beer brands and where I stand on them.
From light lagers to bold and complex stouts, Korean beers have it all. In this article, we’ll introduce you to 4 must-try Korean beer brands that are sure to satisfy your taste buds. So sit back, chill out, and get ready to discover some of the most popular beers South Korea has to offer.
The History of Beer in Korea
Beer has a long and storied history in Korea. It was first introduced to the country in the late 19th century by European missionaries. When the 1920s came along is when beer began to be produced domestically.
The first Korean brewery was opened in 1924 by a Japanese company, and it wasn’t until after World War II that Koreans began to take a more active role in the brewing industry.
In the 1960s, beer consumption began to rise rapidly in Korea. By the 1970s, beer had become the most popular alcoholic beverage in the country. Today, the Korean beer industry is booming, with a wide variety of breweries producing everything from traditional lagers to experimental craft beers.
The Rise of craft beer in Korea
In recent years, the craft beer scene in Korea has exploded, with new breweries popping up all over the country. These modern breweries are known for producing unique and innovative beers that often incorporate traditional Korean ingredients and flavors. I’ve been living here for over 20 years. I must say, it’s about time that the Korean peninsula gets caught up with the rest of the world in their domestic beer market.
One of the pioneers of the Korean craft beer scene is The Hand & Malt Brewing Company. It was started in 2014. Since then, dozens of new breweries have sprung up, each offering its take on traditional Korean brewing techniques. I ran my own pub offering craft beers and pizzas in downtown Seoul called BREW 3.14. Great experience…but that was before I became a dad.
Top 4 Korean beers to try
Now that you know a bit about the history of beer in Korea and the rise of the craft beer scene, it’s time to dive into some of the best beers the Korean market has to offer. Here are four must-try Korean beers that are sure to delight your taste buds.
OB Brewery’s Cass
OB or Oriental Brewery, known for their OB Golden Lager is one of the largest beer producers in Korea. Ttheir Cass Fresh Pale Lager is a standout brew. It’s actually my only go-to domestic beer. It’s not a fantastic or over-the-top expensive beer, but it’s domestic and fairly priced. Cass brings its unique flavor as well as low alcohol content. I compare it with a Molson Canadian or a Miller Lite, if you’re in the United States.
The Hand & Malt Brewing Company’s Korean Pale Ale
The Hand & Malt Brewing Company is one of the most well-known craft breweries in Korea. Their Korean Pale Ale is a must-try for any beer-loving dad. This beer is brewed with traditional Korean ingredients, including rice and barley, giving it a unique flavor profile. It’s a light and refreshing beer with a subtle sweetness and a nice hoppy finish.
Playground Brewery’s Pilsner
Playground Brewery is a relatively new player in the Korean beer scene. They’ve already made a name for themselves with their delicious Pilsner(It’s a GREAT beer). It’s a German-style lager and it is brewed with German hops and malt, giving it a crisp and clean flavor profile. It’s a light and refreshing beer that’s perfect for warm summer days.
Magpie Brewery’s IPA
Magpie Brewery is another popular craft brewery in Korea, and its IPA is a must-try for any beer lover. This American IPA has pine and citrus notes with a medium body, It has true drinkability and it’s perfect for pairing with spicy Korean food. If you’re ever in Korea look for the Magpie on the can in the nearest corner store! You should also dip your lips into the Magpie Pale Ale a little bit as it’s one the best Korean craft beers in the Korean beer market.
Where to find Korean beers and how to pair them with food
If you’re interested in trying some of these delicious Korean beer brands, there are a few places you can look. Many Korean breweries have their taprooms where you can try their beers straight from the source. So, you must be in Korea. If you want to try their quality beer and join the new craft beer lovers you can also go to one of the nearest Korean CU convenience stores. They also have a wide variety of premium beers that you can enjoy after a long day at work.
You can also find Korean beers at specialty beer bars and restaurants throughout the country. Wherever you are in the world, you’ll be able to find some of these beers at Asian restaurants and many Asian shopping areas.
When it comes to pairing Korean beers with food, there are a few things to keep in mind. I love Korean food, but it is known for its bold and spicy flavors, so it’s important to choose beers that can stand up to those flavors.
IPAs and other hoppy beers are great for cutting through the heat, while wheat beers and saisons are perfect for pairing with more subtle Korean dishes. Try looking for some Korean Roasted Seaweed to go with the Korean beers you found at that Asian Grocery shop. You’ll be amazed by the cool-unique flavor blends these two work with.
Or, if you’re looking for some more adventurous meals to go with your beers I would suggest reading my post on exotic Korean foods to try.
Whether you enjoy the bitter taste of IPAs or the light body of the Cass brand, you can always keep an eye out for the best Korean beer at your local supermarket.
Korean beer is a fascinating and rapidly growing industry, and there are so many exciting brews to try. Whether you’re a fan of traditional lagers or experimental craft beers, there’s something for everyone in the Korean beer scene.
So, next time you visit Korean bars or Korean restaurants why not grab a MaekJu and discover some of the most popular Korean beers?
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