Expat Kitchen Visit :: Home Brewing Day

Where it all begins.  An idea.


FROM: England
LIVING: South Korea

This last weekend we finally had the opportunity to visit one of Korea's most dedicated expat home brewers in his fantastic little home brewing hideaway on the outskirts of Seoul.  His small three bedroom apartment was decked out to the teeth in everything a person would need to make the beers of his dreams. 

On this particular Sunday a small group of beer making newbies and experienced brewers had gathered to make and IPA that our host, Rowan, had decided on.  It was delightful to have the opportunity to be part of a group so excited and willing to share their knowledge and passion for brewing.

Although our host, had quite the setup, most brewers in Korea make it happen in their studio apartments. So if you are interested in home brewing, don't worry about having as much space as our host.  With that said, here is how the day went:

We started the day by sampling the many grains Rowan had on hand.  We instantly found great value in this, not only as people interested in making beer, but also as beer drinkers.  Tasting the ingredients gave us a deeper insight into the flavors we have been tasting all these years.  It was like things we hadn't even known were a mystery finally made sense.

After that it was time to get started and grind up the grain for the beer.

While one group was working on grinding the grains, inside a second group was prepare the water for brewing.  Boiling, adding tablets, and filtering.  It quickly became clear that brewing is one of those magical things that is best done with a group of people who love talking, problem solving, and who aren't in a big hurry.  You know, the best kind of people.

Then there was the mixing of the grain, the water and getting it cooking.  We love stirring so we did that whenever we could.

After these basics were taken care of, it was time to break out a few of the past beers and give them a try.  They were of course, delightful.  As were the stories of how they weren't right, what could be done better, and the tales of all that had happened on that brew day.  Each bottle held a memory of community, adventures, dreams, hopes, and ideals.  It was like opening a moment in time that had been trapped in a bottle.

During each step of the process we tasted the progress.  To be honest, we would drink that as is.  The grains are just delicious.

For a long time it was mostly just sit and wait, but at a certain point, things started to go pretty quickly. 

And with the addition of a little soju and the yeast, bam, an IPA ready to ferment and eventually bottle.  That's sure a lot of beer.

On the long subway ride home we couldn't help but feel we had just witnessed the whole point of this expat life we have chosen.  It's about the stories we create with those around us and save in our memories for future lazy Sundays.  The stories that age into rich and vibrant tales of adventure and turn us all into heroes in someones mind.

To learn more about brewing your own adventures in Korea, check out these links.  There are so many stories yet to be brewed:
Seoul Brew Club: http://www.facebook.com/groups/161208454016072/ 
Seoul Home Brew: http://www.seoulhomebrew.com/
Home Brew Korea: http://www.homebrewkorea.com/


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