I am fond of beverages. Perhaps that’s putting it too lightly. Beverages are my vice, variety and selection are my opiate. During my time in Japan, I would drive for miles to find vending machines with untried varieties of coffee and tea. The vending machines of Japan are a modern wonder, serving hot and cold beverages from the same money hungry orifice. Truly a delight to the decadent beverage lover. Almond cocoa, blue mountain coffee, royal milk tea, oolong, the list goes on and on. Since then, I have taken my turn at wine snobbery (Chilean Merlot is unparalleled, don’t let anyone tell you different) and now, most recently, exploration of beer. Such a simple beverage with so many variations. Some are exquisite to my tastes, some not so much. But they are all varied in character with flavors and undertones unique to each. The greatest pleasure of all in my opinion is drinking locally. Drinking fresh regional beer from local microbreweries is without a doubt the pinnacle of beer enjoyment. I have made it my quest to visit breweries when able and most of all to get my hands on local brew and drink it. While in England, I toured the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, in Ireland, the Guinness Storehouse, in Colorado, the Tommyknocker and New Belgium Brewery… not only is a tour a great way to see the personality of the brewer’s reflected in their product, it’s a great way to try small batch beers that are only available on site, quirky experiments that may not be ready for primetime but offer that elusive quality of character that is missing from mass production. Which brings me to my dilemma… there are only three brands of beer that are brewed in South Korea, Cass, Hite and OB, all lagers. Reviews have stated that the majority of bars have a single brand on tap because they are indistinguishable in appearance, taste, aroma and price. The ultimate in homogenization. There is one point of light, apparently there is a North Korean brewery that makes a beer that is more akin to English Ale than European lager but the export of this elusive beverage has greatly diminished, possibly ceased all together. So, I have a quest. And its name is Taedonggang.
The 48 Feasts – Supplemental – on the subject of beverages