Part art, part science but complete dedication and skill. What is it that combines the talent of an artist, the palate of a connoisseur, the scientific ingenuity of a chemist, biologist and physicist? It may sound strange, but we’ve discovered that some of the most interesting creations are produced in microbreweries. In Busan, we found it in one place in particular.
Galmegi Brewery – An Evening of Beer & Food
Stepping through the door into the first floor of Galmegi Brewery in Busan, South Korea, we had no idea that in a short time we’d not only be tasting some great brew, but also enjoying one truly delicious meal.
Now, don’t get us wrong, we enjoy Korean food and soju but at some point you’ve ingested enough Kimchi and hard liquor to say you’ve truly experienced Korean cuisine. Added to that, there’s a culture developing in Korea that involves international cuisine and an increasing demand for good tasting beer that can’t be found in the mainstream, major brewers’ repertoire of beer options. In this then, we were up for trying a different side of Korea’s culinary scene.
Just a short walk from Gwangalli Beach, the casual atmosphere and the clean, unpretentious decor of Galmegi Brewery was friendly and inviting. Passing the downstairs bar, complete with a windowed backdrop giving a glimpse at the brewery behind, we headed upstairs to the main dining area and took a seat at a table with a view out of the large floor-to-ceiling windows. The second floor was equally as comfortable and welcoming as the downstairs was, with another bar area and more seating.
The menu makes it clear that they take their craft beer seriously. With 10 of their own beers available (although the actual number may vary depending on new and seasonal options), there’s a great variety of flavours for all beer drinkers. Their prices are also incredibly reasonable and you can tell they aim to provide a great, and honest, experience. We went with the sampler which gave us 4 half pints of different beer for only 12,000 won ($10.75 USD)
The four beers included Lighthouse Blonde, which was Carolann’s favourite and was light, soft and refreshing with a hint of citrus; Moonrise Pale Ale, a slightly tart, fruity and hoppy beer; Galmegi IPA a refreshing, hoppy and sharper beer, a little drier than the Moonrise; and Espresso Vanilla Stout, which was Macrae’s favourite and was a richer beer with a wonderfully blended coffee (which explains why it was Macrae’s favourite) and vanilla flavour.
Throughout our evening, we also tried several of their other craft beers including their Black Jindo Imperial Stout, Doljanchi IIPA and soon-to-be added Campfire. Each one offered another variety of flavours and we enjoyed them all.
The food options are also a testament to their focus on the microbrewery: extensive enough to provide a variety of choices with options that compliment the beer but not an overwhelming amount to overshadow the highlighted beer menu.
Their appetizers, or “bites”, include chips and dips, fries, fried chicken, salad and a charcuterie board and many of their dips and sauces, such as the Sriracha mayo and sweet & spicy sauce, pay homage to Northeast Asian flavours. We chose the Piselli Pizza (14,000 won or $12.50 USD) and, since it is the true test of a good burger, the Classic Burger (13,000 won/about 11.70 USD)
The Piselli Pizza arrived with the onslaught of a wonderful aroma. A fairly large-sized thin crust pizza topped with pesto, mozzarella and feta cheese, salami and lemon. It was cooked perfectly, leaving a delicious crust with a great taste of its own, and the toppings provided wonderfully blended flavours. It didn’t take us long to polish off the slices.
The Classic Burger had mouth-watering layers of beef patty, tomato, lettuce, cheese, bacon, mustard and ketchup and was presented with a side of fries. One bite into this thick, juicy burger and we knew this was a little more than a classic burger. Carolann, a self-proclaimed burger connoisseur (don’t forget, she’s been published for burger reviews in Koh Phangan, Thailand!), describes it as more of a classic burger – with a twist.
The surprising maple flavour of the bacon worked incredibly well with the combination of simpler condiments as did the mustard, which was more of a mustard seed spread and was void of the sharper, more sour flavour of regular mustard or even classic dijons. The fries were also flavourful, with a slight hint of smoked hickory and spice.
After a first taste of each of the 4 beers in the sampler, we could see ourselves becoming regulars. After we tasted the food, we knew we’d be back before we left Busan.
Mastering the Craft of Craft Beer in Busan
One of the great things about Galmegi Brewery is that all the action happens in-house, which means that if you are visiting on a quieter night, and you are interested, they will be more than happy to give you a tour of the brewery and explain the process. While it was a Wednesday night and apparently “quiet”, there was still a steady and consistent stream of people but we were able to take a look at the microbrewery and learn about brewing craft beer and the business of craft beer in Korea.
It was through discovering the process of producing the beer and creating the flavours that we learned there is a lot more to brewing than we had realized and it’s evident that the brewers at Galmegi Brewery have a passion for what they do and a pride in the quality of beer they produce.
For a microbrewery, there is the continual innovation of new tastes and flavour combinations and the task of recreating popular creations. With that comes the challenges of biology in the yeast strains, chemistry in the composition and production of the beer and the mechanics of the maintenance of the equipment and machinery. No small task this even, or perhaps especially, in the smaller setting of microbreweries.
We had an amazing night at Galmegi Brewery and will definitely be visiting again before we leave Busan. It’s a place to which you would want to keep coming back, with a menu chalk full of quality craft beers, that is consistently serving favourites, as well as frequently offering new beers, and a list of delicious food to compliment the variety of tastes, all served in a unique and welcoming atmosphere.
Do you prefer the creative flavours of craft beers or do you tend to stick to one brand label you know and love? Comment below and let us know!
You Can Do It Too
In Busan? Head to Galmegi Brewery for a truly memorable experience. You can also check out their menu online and keep an eye out for the new types of beer as they are added!
부산광역시 수영구 광남로 58, 613-813
58 Gwangan-ro, Suyeong, Busan 613-813
Tuesday-Saturday: 6pm – midnight
Sunday: 6pm – 11pm
Or, check out their other location just around the corner, serving their amazing varieties of beer and a lighter menu:
부산광약시 수영구 남천바다로 3-4 세진진빌딩 3층
3-4 Namcheon 2(i)-dong, Suyeong-gu, Busan, South Korea
Monday-Thursday: 6pm – midnight
Friday: 6pm – 1 am
Saturday & Sunday: 1pm – 1am
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