Tag Archives: Mungyeong

Hope for Korean Beer

30 Oct

Mungyeong Saejae is yet another example of a beautiful piece of Korea’s fascinating and demanding past ruined by the ajumma/ajeossi weekend tour bus crowd, hordes of neon-clothed boomers showing up by the thousands, if not tens of thousands, to shove and elbow their way down a path whose ancient ruggedness has been ruined by the perpetual urge to park-ify anything remotely challenging with flat, wide paths, drainage ditches, and vendors and advertising running all the way up into the forest.  How incredible it is to consider the long treks porters made up the old Yeongnam Daero with their 지게 A-frames, up the narrow valleys and over the surprisingly formidable mountains into Chungcheong, and how impossible it is to envison the road’s past importance amongst all those crowds.

However, even a despiser of progress as recalcitrant as myself couldn’t be upset with one of the many vendors hawking their wares outside the first gate.  They sold Mungyeong Omija Beer, and only W2500 per pint at that.

Actually, it’s omija (오미자) and apple together, both of which the Mungyeong area is well known for.  I will go out on a limb and say right now that this is the best beer I’ve had in Korea, period, either domestic (both name-brand and craft-brewed) or imported.  The omija lends a tart edge to it and the apple a tad of sweetness, making the taste very well rounded, especially for the fall weather.  But even beyond the fruit addition, the beer had good body to it.  I was, quite frankly, shocked at the quality.  Most craft brewers in the States would be well satisfied to have this beer as a part of their lineup, and for Korea to produce a beer of that quality is damn impressive.

If you’re in the Mungyeong area, find all the 문경 오미자사과 생맥주 that you can and drink it up.  The contact numbers are obvious in the above picture; it would be great to keep this fledgling experiment in brewing going, as the addition of the omija is a very Korean twist, it supports the local farmers, and the quality should be an example to the rest of the brewers here of what they should be striving for.

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