Good Beer in Korea?
Poor Korean Beer
The Economist has a nice, short article, "Fiery food, boring beer," asking why Korea's excellent cuisine has to be accompanied by such poor beer. The editors don't leave us hanging:
The problem for South Korean boozers is that their national market is a cramped duopoly. Hite-Jinro and Oriental Brewery (OB) have nearly 100% of it. Their beers are hard to tell apart; their prices, even harder. At five out of five shops visited by The Economist, their main brands all cost precisely 1,850 won ($1.70) per 330ml can.The lack of competition ain't the worst of it, for the duopoly does have one big, unexpected 'competitor':
Some South Korean beers skimp on barley malt, using the likes of rice in its place. Others are full of corn. And despite the recent creation of Hite Dry Finish -- a step in the right direction -- brewing remains just about the only useful activity at which North Korea beats the South. The North's Taedonggang Beer, made with equipment imported from Britain, tastes surprisingly good.Though the South ought to be ashamed to lose out to its archenemy, Taedonggang Beer is the sole North Korean product I'd like to try! But even better than the North's special beer are the brews being created in microbreweries down South, and Dan Vroon's pub is mentioned:
[A] handful of small brewers have risen to the challenge [of providing Korea with great beer]. One of them, Craftworks Brewing Company, is owned by a Canadian, Dan Vroon. Mr Vroon's pub in Seoul is packed every night.The Taphouse Craftworks is wonderful watering hole, and for those who don't know about it or where it is, here's some information at the link.