The 48 Feasts – Supplemental – on the subject of beverages

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.

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9 Responses to The 48 Feasts – Supplemental – on the subject of beverages

  1. Tom says:

    It may be dicey smuggling the Taedonggang. Perhaps you should explore the varieties of SoJu the south has to offer?

  2. 48feasts says:

    the Taedonggang is supposed to be available in south korea on a very limited basis but a price increase a few years ago limited its availability even more. a cross border beer run, while exciting, is probably out of the question. they have large guns.

  3. joe wallace says:

    I personally think Hite–brewed with advice from the Germans–is MUCH better than OB. I just can’t bring myself to drink a beer named after a feminine hygiene product.

    That’s a very old joke. I think the statute of limitations has run out on it.

  4. joe wallace says:

    I shall never, EVER forget the day that you actually FORCED yourself to consume a ZIMA. You did it because you had to. It was sick. It was wrong. It was admirable.

    You said it tasted like Sprite, but I prefer to remember that day as you having said that it tasted like someone had PISSED Sprite.

  5. 48feasts says:

    The only bad experience is the one you deny yourself. learn from all the others. As you recall, the Zima was part of the Bennigan’s tour of beers, 100 different beers drank over a 6 month period. Since then, i have also accomplished the Old Chicago beer tour of 110 different beers not once but twice. i am about midway through my third tour as well. Long term plans include the 200 beer tour offered by the Flying Saucer in San Antonio but that will have to wait because as you may have surmised… I’m going to Korea.

  6. You are on your THIRD tour?!?! Scott about fell over when he heard that one! 🙂

    My favorite memory of you and beverages is when you “shotgunned” a Mountain Dew; just for fun. I’ve never seen anyone do anything like that – before – or since!

  7. 48feasts says:

    yeah, 47 beers into my third tour…

    late one night working a midshift, i shotgunned 12 mountain dews in a row, 30 second increments. the things we do on a dare. i must say it led to the most satisfying biological experience of my life, simultaneously belching and relieving the intense bladder pressure.

  8. Greg Senior says:

    I never was the “snob” when it comes to drinking, but I can appreciate the search for the perfect Cappochino or the perfect beer. I’m going to make a totally outrageous statement that in some quarters would get me stoned. (not in a good way either) The Germans have ruined the worlds beers. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good Pils, as well as any guy. But from all my travels one fact stands out. The Germans either directly or by assisting the barbarians in setting up brewerys, has ruined the beer business all over the world, from Africa, South America, mid-East, the Far East and yes friends right here in the US, I’ll say four names to prove my point. San Miquel, Effes, Orion, and Coors.
    While a good pilsner, especially an unpatuerized “Fresh” Pils is a delight. The majority of the worlds beers are commercial adaptions of a by “rote” cold brewed beer. The real tast of beer is found in the Ales, which since it’s a warm brew method is harder to control on a commercial basis. Thankfully the Micro-brewer has had an amazing comeback, short of a border incursion I’d search out the Taedonggang.

  9. 48feasts says:

    When i first grew interested in beer, during my time in germany, i put the german style on a pedestal, unassailable and perfect in every way… but, as perfect as they are in what they do, experience has taught me that there is more than one way to skin a cat. you make the perfect point, by promoting excellence, the german beer industry has encouraged homogenization, stifling other types of beers.

    Now, i look towards the belgians. inspirational, innovative with an eye for quality. You can find some pretty odd flavor variations amongst the lambics that would make your traditional german brewer recoil in horror but man are they good. this is another area where availability of local ingredients and adaptation of local tastes and perceptions should be perfectly applied. even coca-cola modifies their recipe in each host country, is it too much to ask that lagers around the world don’t taste the same as in heidelburg?

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