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

Friday, July 19, 2019

Bring Your Kids to the Chimac Festival

Bring Your Kids to the Chimac Festival πŸ—πŸΊ

When talking about a 'Beer Festival', most people’s first thought is that it is not a place for children. However, the CHIMAC, much like every German beer festival, is as much of a family event as it is an adult event. There is great entertainment here for every age! 
In fact, my kids and I have enjoyed the CHIMAC sooo much last year (we came 3 out of 5 days) that we were counting down the days for this year’s festival!
So come sit with me and let me tell you how most kids may have even more fun than adults here.πŸ˜†

a picture with Mr. Chimac to start

The CHIMAC is free to enter and you only pay for what you consume. 

They had me at local and weissen

They have MORE than just chicken and beer, 
although those ARE the highlights of the event.

Chocolate Churros are always on our list

Turkish ice cream is always an experience in itself

The festival is spread out through different sections of Duryu park so you do not need to fear the crowds as much.
PARKING itself is not a huge problem, but traffic leaving the festival can be. So save yourself some headache and just hop on the subway or take a cab to the festival! The closest subway exit is just a short walk away at Duryu Station exit 14.πŸš‡

Major Tip: COME EARLY!
The festival starts at 5PM, so if you are bringing your kids, this is a great time to be here on the grounds! You will have plenty of space to explore all the options available and secure a nice spot to settle.

Mist hoses were added everywhere this year
to keep the temperature comfortable for everyone

1) Premium Chimac Club - @Duryu Baseball Stadium 

Plenty of tables still up for grabs around 6pm

Here is where you can find the CASS beer tents and most regular Korean bbq chicken options.πŸ—πŸ» The stage where the big shows will happen is also here and there are lots of tables here too, some first come first serve, others that you can reserve beforehand. If watching the show and sitting at the tables is what you want to do, this is the place where you want to come, claim your spot and stay. This part is great for a good group of adults, kids tend to get bored here because there is not much to do and it gets pretty loud once the concert starts. But you can swing by here when you first arrive to check it out and if you decide to stay, just get a table towards the opposite side from the stage so the music is not too loud. You can still enjoy the concert from the huge screens they have on both sides of the stage.

Don't forget to grab a souvenir at the information tent by the Ice Pub Area!

2) Chimac Ice Pub Area 

This place is super cool! Literally, hehehe πŸ˜†

Cool and happy feet

Here you will find a variety of small brewery trucks that sell their craft beers and more chicken!πŸ–πŸ—πŸ–πŸ— If you like more unique beers, this is the area you should come to.  There is also a stage here where several contests and shows are held and even if you can’t understand Korean, you can pretty much guess what the contests are about and they are all pretty funny! LOL So take a seat and have a good laugh!

Enjoying our first round of chicken!

The best part of this area is the ice cafΓ©, consisting of several inflatable swimming pools that are filled just enough for you to dip your feet in while you sit at tables and enjoy your chicken and beer! My kids loved sitting here and cooling off while we ate our first round of chicken! πŸ˜„

TIP: Kids are allowed in the pools, but NO SPLASHING. This area is just to sit and eat and not to play. If you arrive here early, you can easily get in without having to stay in line for too long. But know that people are allowed to stay here for about an hour, but that may or may not be totally enforced, so there is no saying how long you would have to wait in line for your turn. So, again, arrive early!

3) The Haven Chimac Road

This is a new addition this year and it is pretty fun. You can see some ice sculptures here and even see them being made in real-time! There is also an ice sculpting contest that you can take part in and first 3 places win a prize! πŸ˜ƒ

 Take a seat if you dare

Watching this sculpture being made was very cool #punintended

The part we enjoyed the most was the water balloon throw booth! Usually, one in your group is expected to take one for the team and play the target lol, but in my case, the CHIMAC volunteers helped me out and stood there for my girls to aim at them! To their misfortune, my little one was very good with her aim! πŸ˜‹

Other options are to get your picture drawn by a couple of fun guys and to practice your aim with a virtual target shooting game.

 He did a pretty good job, don’t you think? πŸ˜‰


4) Fountain and Playground Area @Tourist Information Center

Right in front of the Tourist Information Center, you will find the Duryu Park ground fountain! The fountain has nice water jets and a cool light show to make anyone jealous of all the kids having a blast here!  
Hours are from 10AM to 9PM. The fountain is on for 50 minutes every hour.
Bring your kids water gear and shoes so they can splash here for a little. 
There is also a cute playground close to the fountain where you can let your kids play before or after the fountain is turned on. They added the mist hoses here too this year so it is way more comfortable for the parents as well.😊

 Mist hoses guarantee no one suffers during the Chimac

5) Chimac Emotional Market 

Here you can find lots of handmade items and explore each vendors art and talent with your kids. Maybe even let them choose a unique souvenir to take home? 
This year small shows are being held here and the talent these guys are showing is worthy of you taking a seat and listening to them. πŸ˜Š

 I want something stronger than a moment, than a moment of love. I have waited longer. For a boy with. For a boy with Luv 

6) Chimac Live Park - @Kolon Outdoor Music Hall

This is probably our favorite area after all the fun and buzz of the festival! 
At the Kolon Outdoor Music Hall, you will find a more laid back crowd and more options for food among all the food trucks here. The expansive lawn grounds offer a spot for everyone to lay their picnic blankets and just chill and bond while listening to some of the live music shows performed at the stage here. This is a quieter place where the kids can sit, play and eat and the family can relax and enjoy the sunset and watch the first stars come out.

I hope this article will get you excited to go enjoy the CHIMAC festival with your family! 
For mine, it is a very bittersweet moment since this is probably the last CHIMAC festival we will enjoy since we are moving next year. Therefore, if you are here in Korea next year, make sure to enjoy next year’s CHIMAC to the fullest for me too! πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘

Don't forget to get your amazing postcard shot of Daegu, right behind the Duryu Park information center