Brewery and Country of Origin: Oriental Brewery of Hanwon Bldg, 1449-12 Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu. 137-070 Seoul, South Korea

Date Reviewed: 8-21-12

It was the early 1950's, and with the stunted hostility of the Cold War between The United States and The Soviet Union, looming ever so great over the world, a proxy war in The Korean Peninsula was taking place. For three years, one month, and two days, ending full scale warfare with an armistice declared July 27th, 1953, fierce battle for control over the peninsula raged on, killing more than one million soldiers and civilians and resulting in a split Korea. From the split came two starkly divided and differentiated nations, North and South Korea. The former has developed into a communist, totalitarian, dictatorship marred with widespread poverty, starvation, and characterized by a fiercely independent foreign policy, extremely low human rights accolades, the lowest Democracy Index of any country on Earth, a very large military relative to the nation's GDP and population, and state controlled industry. The latter, known as The Republic of Korea (also South Korea), has become a Democratic, free market G20 powerhouse, exporting motor vehicles, computer components, heavy equipment, consumer electronics, ship building, defence, high tech industry, and other big ticket goods, and playing a major role on the economic development of the East Asian region. After the end of the Korean war, the entire peninsula, especially the capital city of Seoul, was completely in ruins. Vital infrastructure, industry, and community all had to be reconstructed and restored. What took place, espeically from the 50s to the 90s, would later be known as The Miracle On The Han River, a period of rapid and immense economic, cultural, social, and industrial expansion in South Korea, centered on Seoul. This has lead to a massive increase in the overall standard of living and HDI among Korean citizens, especially those living around the capital city, including the district of Gangnam, the focus of a satirically driven pop/dance song by South Korean music artist PSY. Yes, even the citizens of South Korea can acknowledge that their recovery has been nothing short of a miracle, ergo they need to relect upon it in popular culture (Los Angeles, NYC, Miami, anyone?). Gangnam is a wealthy part of Seoul known for its finance, retail, and venture capital industries. Fitting then, that this beer, out of the capital city, would be referred to as a Golden lager. Perhaps pale was too... silver.
Date Sampled: 8-17-12 At: Koreana Restaurant, 158 Prospect Street, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA
Beer Style: Korean Adjunct Lager
Alcohol by Volume: 4.80%
Serving Type: 12 oz Bottle, 12 oz Stange Glass
Rating: 2.07


This is a light, pale golden colored beer with a fair bit of shine. Low carbonation action gives this beer a very thin foam head which dissipates quickly, and leaves no lacing on the glass. This beer pours rather smoothly, and contains no sediment.


With the style, there is a typical prominently grainy aroma, but overall this is rather faint due to the lack of activated carbon dioxide, and a rather weak foam head. There is a very slight amount of malty character in the aroma, but depending on how good your nose is and what kind of restaurant you're at, this may not be detectable.


This is a very light bodied, crisp, and very refreshing beer. Despite a low level of carbonation action on the glass, this brew contains moderately high levels of felt carbonation, leaving your mouth feeling slightly deprived - only appropriate for the hot days of summer. This is a low viscosity beer which finishes dry, light, and crisp.


As is with the aroma, this is a very grainy beer with little malt presence, and no trace amounts of hops noticeable unitl the very end. This beer starts slightly malty at the beginning, with a bit of sweetness which is quickly overtaken by an overall grainy experience. This is replaced with a dry and somewhat hoppy finish, with a moderately lingering bitter aftertaste.

Our Take

Though this beer isn't going to be as impressive as the city in which it was made, it coincided with what we were expecting out of the style. Sadly though, what we were expecting wasn't much. Asian pale lagers are typically very lackluster in quality, lacking in bold flavors, and depressingly consistent with each other. We just aren't fans of adjunct lagers being promoted as full malt beers which deliver a bock or even marzen malty like experience, because that's simply not what you get. What you actually get is a very pale, light bodied, low substance, unsatisfying, and catastrophically light tasting brew with little or no unique characters to speak of. Fortunately, this particular beer shined in at least a few areas, but that said, if you're looking for beers of a solid overall presence, don't look to Far East. On the contrary, these make for great summer and hot weather beers which can offer very crisp and refreshing profiles, but only when consumed at cold temperatures.