Craft Han’s and Hop Mori Brewing

Just a block from Hop Mori is Craft Han’s Brewery.  We popped in for a preset flight, a plate of German-style sausages and a crazy, honey, gorgonzola pizza.  We are coming to learn that even the really ‘Americanized’ places can have some crazy flavors.

Starting off with Han’s Pale Ale was a very watery experience.  I could tell that hops were used, but other than that, it was a bit on the bland side.

Following the pale ale was a German Weizen prototype.  Han’s Weizen was unfiltered and creamy with an obvious touch of Bavarian hops and an edgy wheat/yeast finish.  I really enjoyed this one.

Third, on the list, with an interesting spot on the sampler; Han’s Pilsner was a surprising sleeper pick.  Normally I’m not a fan, but this pilsner was more of a crisp summery brew than the typical, frothy, dullness I’m used to.  It seems the pilsner is a brewer’s light, throwaway for his faint of heart consumers rather than the lighter, hoppy, summer lager it’s supposed to be.  Well done.

The tastelessness of Han’s Dark Ale is aided only by the ambiguity of its name.  Not a lot going on in this one- sad end to the sampler.

I wasn’t blown away, but with a 50/50 in the beer department, but some pretty decent grub and a sweet location, I give Han’s a 7.5 out of 10.

Geonbae!

We went to a beer fest a little while back, met some awesome people and had some great local Korean brews- one of them being Seoul stout by Hop Mori, so they were on the list of ‘must see stops’.  It took us forever to find the entrance to the brewery to the downstairs location, but the warehouse-chic decor is a snapshot right out of hipster Brooklyn.

There are many great things about being in Korea:  One of them is how cheap most things tend to be, so when I ordered a flight and the bartender said $18 I was a little taken aback… taken aback until I realized they weren’t tasting glasses and he brought me four full 10 ounce pours.

Seoul stout (not part of the flight)- Seoul stout is a prototype for the style.  A little bit of coffee, malt, and chocolate come together for a sweet and bitter blend.  Seoul stout is a bit on the thin side, but all in all, it was one of the better pints I had that day.

The first sip on our in-person journey was the Jeju IPA.  Much like what I’ve heard of the island itself- this IPA is fruity and tropical.  Not necessarily a juice bomb in the sense it has come to be known in the US, but big in the grapefruit and lemon department.  I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Next up was Dark Chocolate.  It was a little ambiguous in name, so I’m hoping that this was a brown ale rather than a stout.  The reason for my wish is that the sweet cocoa and velvety chocolate of this brew was on point, but the paper thin consistency left much to be desired.

Second to last on the list was Smash Cream Ale.  Interestingly enough, this cream ale tasted a bit like a mead:  Burnt honey, maybe wildflowers, and an uninfluential creaminess make for a unique drink.  I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure I’d call it a cream ale.

Ending on a high note- the last brew was killer.  Busan Brown has just as heavy a mouthfeel as the two darker ales, with a sweet roasted malt beginning and ever-so-bitter, burnt finish.  We haven’t been able to venture south to Busan or Jeju yet, but if the cities are as awesome as these aptly named beers then I, for one, cannot wait.

All in all- I’m beginning to understand that Korean craft beer still has some growing to do, they’ve handled IPAs and some of the old standards, but dark ales (particularly stouts) leave much to be desired.  That being said; Hop Mori has been one of the best we’ve seen so far and their friendliness and hospitality certainly didn’t hurt their case. Hop Mori Brewing Company earns an 8.3 out of 10.

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