As mentioned in my last post, this last weekend was the Homebrew Korea “Brew Your Best” Fest.
In short, the event was a success! Over 200 people came out to the Oktoberfest in Gangnam and over two dozen beers were submitted to the competition. With close to four hours of all-you-can drink house pilsner, dunkel, hefewizen and homebrew tasters, it was definitely worth the 25,000 won cover.
The beers at the event were not only excellent, but of a wide variety. They ranged from meads to pale ales to a bourbon-soaked cherry stout. Talking to people when I handed out tasters, the event seemed to inspire some people to finally take up the hobby for themselves. In the end, it was great to see foreigners and locals alike attempting to topple the Cass/Hite/OB hegemony.
After a few hours of drinking, the winners of the the competition were announced. The restaurant was too large to announce to everyone so all the brewers gathered in a separate room to hear the results.
The winners were as follows:
1st Place: Bill Miller, India Pale Ale
2nd Place: Ryan Rink, Belgian Rye India Pale Ale.
3rd Place: John P. Gamboa & Ryan Rink, “Hombre” India Pale Ale.
I was told there were three judges (including Homebrew Korea owner Rob Titley), but the judging itself was not a public event.
Bill, by far the nicest guy in the homebrew community (he often hosts small tasting sessions each month in Itaewon), let Ryan and I take the kettle/mashtun/fermenter and tap-a-draft keg system. Both the items are valued at over 150,000 won each. There were also other coupons and gift certificates included in the prize packs. So it’s easy to say that Ryan and I cleaned the place of all the good stuff.
As far as the response from my beer goes, all I heard were praises. Most other brewers didn’t put in nearly the amount of hops Ryan and I did.
The event was a huge success and I’m surprised it didn’t turn into an alcohol-fueled mess that some of the Ka-Brew all-you-can drink events have in the past. As Bill said in a comment after the event:
Thanks for giving us homebrewers a venue to showcase not only our beers individually, but help move the concept of craft beer in Korea forward. You, the website, and the collective desire of those of us who love good beer keep pushing the envelope towards a new direction in Korea’s (fledgling) beer culture.
Hopefully, there will be another event soon. At the moment, Ryan and I plan on brewing again this Saturday. We still have a lot of hops but I think we are going to try to branch out in style this time. We’ll see. You can mosey on over to the Homebrew Korea boards for a handful of photos here.
So, for those who want the recipe and hop schedule for the beer, click “Continue Reading” below to check it out. I’m certain most people are not interested in the beer nerd mumbo-jumbo.
John is a Technical Success Manager at WP Engine. Before moving to Austin, John lived in South Korea and China for the better part of four years. His life as an amateur Chinese web censorship expert, traveler, map nerd and beer geek can be found on this site.