Saturday, July 20, 2019

Enjoy the Craft Beer at Chimac Festival

Enjoy the Craft Beer at Chimac Festival

The Daegu Chimac Festival is one of the most exciting events of the year to be held in Daegu. I visited the festival on the very first day of the festival, on Wednesday night, and there was a palpable energy in the crowd, which is always a fun sensation. I have lived in Daegu for eight years, but this was the first year I was able to join the festival, and it did not disappoint. The festival, which is held over a period of five days (July 17th-21st), started on Wednesday so I decided to make my way to Duryu park to get a feel for what the festival was like. 

I decided to travel by subway, since I didn’t want to worry about the traffic, although traveling to the festival by bus, taxi, or car is certainly possible. If you do go by subway, the best way to get to the festival is by taking the Green Line (Line 2) to Duryu station, and then take exit fourteen out onto the street level.  

The experience of walking to the festival is similar to going to a large sporting event or concert, it’s very difficult to get lost since there are lots of signs letting you know that you are going in the right direction, and most likely there will be a large crowd of people all walking in the same direction. It can feel a little hot and humid during this time of year, but fortunately there are lots of people on your way to the festival handing out hand-fans to help keep you cool in this weather.  

It took around fifteen minutes of walking from the subway exit to finally reach the entrance to Duryu park, and by that point there was plenty of information available to people who aren’t sure where to go next.  In this article, I wanted to focus on the craft beer available at the festival, so I headed toward the Chimac Ice Pub which was only another five minutes walk from the entrance of the festival.

I have visited Duryu park several times before, since it is a beautiful and calm park to take a walk in, but now the park had a palpable energy.  If you are an introvert this festival may not be for you, but if you enjoy feeling like you are part of a larger group and enjoy the adrenaline rush that goes with being at a busy event, this festival is for you.  

There are plenty of stalls providing information, public service education (if you want to learn how to do CPR there are many volunteers there giving lessons), as well as stalls selling beer and chicken.  One of my Korean friends told me that Korean Fried Chicken is the best in the world, and I happen to agree with him.  When I visited the festival the lines at each chicken vendor was long, but worth the wait for the people who are in the mood for delicious hot chicken. Fortunately the line for beer, the other half of the Chimac Festival, were not nearly as long, and there are several good options to try.

Traditional Chimac (pairing fried chicken with beer) usually involves pairing the chicken with light lagers like Cass, OB, or Hite, but I am here to tell you that craft beer styles such as IPAs, Pale Ales, and others can pair just as well or better with fried chickenπŸ‘.  The craft beer market is growing quickly in Korea these days, and the Chimac festival has several breweries from Daegu as well as Busan, Seoul, and other cities participating in the festival.  Felicette, one of the two new breweries on Kim Kwong Seok Street, has four beers on tap available at the festival, with Scorpius, their stout being my favorite one that I tried.  

Most of the craft beers at the festival cost between six or seven thousand won, but the servers are happy to help you find a beer that you will enjoy, and you can ask for a small sample before buying a whole glass of beer yourself. D-First craft beer, located east of Daegu in Gyeongsan, is also attending the festival. They make a mix of german style lagers, as well as more modern craft styles such as IPAs.  IPAs can be a great beer to pair with fried chicken, since they have a little more bitterness than other beers which can help to balance the richness of fried food.

The festival also has two breweries that have a large national distribution and are known for producing quality craft beers on a consistent basis, Galmegi Brewing based out of Busan, and Amazing Brewing based out of Seoul.  Galmegi Brewing (galmegi is the korean word for seagull, the symbol of Busan), was founded in 2014, and has participated in the Chimac festival for the past four years. Their beers consistently have a dry finish, which is very refreshing when the weather is hot and humid. Their Galmegi IPA is their most famous beer, featuring a lot of fruity smells from the large amount of hops that they put into their beer, but all of the beers that they sell are worth trying.  

Amazing Brewing is based out of Seoul, and they produce many unique beers in small batches at their brewpub, and have not built a bigger brewery so that they can provide more beer to the public. 

I am a bit of a beer geek, and I am always on the lookout for new breweries and new beers to try, so I was really pleasantly surprised to see one new brewery I had never tried, as well as one new brewery in planning selling their beers at the festival. The Squeeze Brewery, based out of Chuncheon (Northeast of Seoul) had some really wonderful beers on tap.  Every sample they provided me was really delicious, but their American Porter, which was really chocolatey, as well as their Sour Saison, were my two favorites.  

The Cheongdo Eupsang brewery was selling bottles of beer, as well as beer on tap, that another brewery had made using their recipe.  Next year they are planning on building their own brewery so they can make their beers at their own location. 

Although Chicken and Beer are a great pairing, they are an even better pairing when their is live entertainment involved. 🎢🎷🎸When I first arrived at the festival there was some lively dancing occurring on stage at the Ice Pub area. The ice pub area consists of having tables and chairs located in a very shallow above ground pool with cool water being pumped around.  This is a great way to stay cool while you are enjoying your food and drink.  I saw several families at the festival, with the children enjoying the water play while the parents were enjoying the atmosphere, food, and entertainment.  

As the night progressed different musical acts took the stage.  An authentic mariachi band took the stage at the ice pub area and did a long and lively set for the audience. I really enjoy Mexican food, music, and culture, but it is something that can be difficult to find at times in Korea, so I was very pleasantly surprised by this concert. 

I was able to several of my friends at the festival, as well as make some new friends as well.  The idea of going out while the weather is hot and humid may seem a little daunting, but the organizers really have planned well to try and make people as comfortable as possible, from the plethora of hand fans, the water seating area, there was even a table made out of ice that was on display if you really got too hot.  

I visited for a few hours and really felt like I barely scratched the surface of what was going on at the festival this weekend, so I plan on going back on Saturday to get a second look at the different opportunities available there. If you are planning to visit, the website has a list of activities available, the schedule of events, and online maps as well as the history of the event.  There is an English language option for the website, and it is well made and organized
It is really fun to see all the time and effort that went into planning this event, and it is something that Daegu residents really can be proud of. πŸ˜„πŸ™Œ