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.
4 thoughts on “Beer Festival (at Homeplus) and man, VB sucks!”
Oh. My. God. Blasphemy. Never have I heard such hurtful things said about VB. Never.
2 dozen of those bottles (called “stubbies) are sold every second – how can 15 million Australians be Wrong?
Did you know that in Port Melbourne, there is a pipe that goes over the road from the Carlton Brewery to the Kraft Vegemite factory, the largest constituant part of Vegemite being the left over yeast from brewing VB.
We’ll have to have words next week.
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.
Don’t get me started on what we lost here in the USA when Prohibition destroyed what was, for some time, one of the best beer industries in the world. (As in, American brewers were winning competitions in Europe and competing favorably even with German beers, and steadily improving from there.) The saving grace in all that is the still-growing microbrewery industry here now.
I don’t touch the big-company beers, especially here in Texas where there are many local microbrews to choose from, including St Arnold and Real Ale. And I’d prefer Samuel Adams to Miller, any day, no question. ;)
(And I will wholeheartedly vouch for the Belgians. Duvel and Chimay are the ones I treat myself to from time to time, and I save them for special occasions..)
All the good beer in Australia is imported…
… from New Zealand.
15 million Australians can’t be wrong? How many bottles of Miller sell per second? How many bottles of Hite? QED.
By the way, vegemite? Ack!
Yeah, it’s depressing, what happened. I have a post coming up about one famous precursor to all that stupidity, actually. But yeah, I forgot to mention in the post that I did tell her about the whole surge in microbreweries in America, and how that’s also happening in Korea, slowly.
Of the beers you mention, only Duvel and Samuel Adams are available in Korea. (At least, outside of military bases.) Samuel Adams, I just learned, is actually available in a bar right by my house! (Previously I thought one had to go to Seoul to get it. And in fact, since the one shop I knew that carried it has shut, I’m not even sure where to get it.
Would love to get my hands on some Belgian beers to sample them. Next trip out of Korea, I guess… the one Belgian beer bar in Seoul’s history opened and shut last year, and I only found out about it too late!
Hahaha. Oh, the sorrow…