Monday, June 11, 2012

Robert Koehler on Homebrewing in Korea

Robert Koehler -- long-time American expat in Korea, gifted linguist, and Korea cultural specialist -- has a fascinating article, "Something's Brewing," in Seoul Selection (June 2012), but one that doesn't seem to appear online, an unfortunate lapse, for it concerns a special interest of mine: good beer in Korea. The most astonishing piece of information details the homebrewing mania in this country:
Korea's homebrewing scene is a lot larger than you might think. For beer alone, Kim [Wook-youn, of Goodbeer shop in Bulgwang-dong,] estimates there are about 17,000 homebrewers.

Obviously, most of these brewers are Koreans who've experienced good beer and are no longer willing to drink the fizzy yellow drinks that the big Korean companies sell as 'beer.' Moreover, if enough Koreans can petition the National Assembly to alter the beer distribution laws that -- insofar as I've been told (not having read these particular laws) -- forbid microbreweries from bottling their brews for sale, and thus limit microbreweries' sales to unbottled, private affairs or to beer on tap in bars operated by the microbreweries, then beer-drinking culture will achieve the same heights as coffee-drinking culture already has, with Korean-made beers equalling or supassing the excellent foreign imports.

I'd quote more from the article, except that I'd have to type it out . . .

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