So, a guy I know at work (hi Dave!) alerted me to the fact that the local Homeplus (a grocery store chain) is holding a “beer festival” which means 5 bottles of a number of imported beers were on sale for for $10-ish. (Probably more like $12, but we think of W10,000 as about $10 here.) He specifically noted that Paulaner Hefeweissen was among those beers, and it turned out to be the only beer worth it, unless you have fond nostalgic reasons to want to drink Singha outside Thailand.
(I figure there’s a reason why Beerlao — the Laotian brew — is making inroads in Thailand, and only wish Beer Lao was available in Korea!)
Anyway, while I was picking up a five-pack, I noticed the Australian beer VB, Victoria Bitter, and I thought, hey, I know that Foster’s Lager is bad — back at Clarion West, our classmate Ian warned us, right? — but they (Aussie beers) can’t ALL be miserable! This one is exported in those little stubby bottles, like the hardass Belgian ale Duvel (hardass because it’s 8.5% if I remember right… just one of those and I’m done for a while).MAybe the association got me comfortable, and I figured, hey, it can’t be that bad!
Man was I wrong. I usually allow myself only one beer a day, to keep the weight and blood pressure in check, and I was kind of on the verge of flushing this stuff but I can’t bring myself to… it’s still better than Korean beer, and being back from a 50-minute cycling binge at the gym, I needed something cold right away. But it was only barely drinkable, and not very enjoyable.
It was funny, though: I ran into a student from the Uni where I teach — never met her before, but she was on staff at the grocery store, giving out sampler cuplets of Miller in front of the “Beer Festival” display, and asked me if I wanted to taste Miller. I told her, in Korean, “Never again if I can help it!” and we got into this hilarious conversation about how crazy people in America in the 1920s (1917-1933, if I remember correctly) had managed to make alcohol illegal, and in the process destroyed the brewing traditions in America, allowing big crappy beer companies to take over, just like in Korea. (And yeah, most of that discussion was in Korean. I’m not so bad when I’m actually trying to talk about something I’m into.) As a nutrition student, she was actually interested enough to keep asking questions and seeking clarifications, and finally asked me which beer is best, so I recommended the hefeweissen.
Anyway, know I know that Ian wasn’t lying. I’m sure there must be some kind of decent beer in Australia, hidden behind the cases of pre-mixed rum-and-cokes and vodka chillers or whatever those horrors were I saw at a drive-through window in Melbourne, but whatever it is, Australia surely doesn’t export it to Korea.