If you thought Korean craft beer could only be found in hip industrial neighborhoods, student areas or Itaewon, The Table in Gwanghwamun is happy to prove otherwise. Buzzing with business people in the heart of Jongno, a skip and a hop from the very city centre, the unique rescue-wood-whirlpool-facade which leads you downstairs is bound to catch your eye. And your tongue!
We’ve visited The Table before, and love their contributions to the Korean craft beer scene. Their menu normally covers any common styles you would expect to find, and then a bunch of unexpected flavors, especially with uniquely Korean or asian twists. Their Juza Ale, Oh! Mija! (omija) and the Red Ginseng Weissen are great examples, immediately rousing your couriosity, maybe especially for travelers or people new to Korea. The menu has some information in English, and for the beers just reading the title is normally descriptive enough. With 18 Korean beers on tap and very reasonable prices, even a larger group can get to try a lot of different brews.
With several experimental beers and collaborations, the menu is subject to change often, but keeping a stable core selection. The more peculiar flavors are more or less evenly spread among the beer styles, so picky drinkers don’t have to venture too far out from their comfort zone to try something new. One immediately noteworthy example is the Pine Pilsner, a crisp, foresty pilsner with a well-balanced hint of pine, great smell, a very fresh choice.
In addition to a rich beer menu, The Table also has food menu with some snacks and dishes that are normally good for sharing. We went for a pizza, which is often a hit-or-miss thing, but we were not disappointed. Thin and just crispy enough, real tasty gorgonzola, well-spiced and some honey for dipping. Many larger groups are spread around the surprisingly spacious venue sharing pizzas, chicken and beer, as this area is one of the most common places to go to grab a beer in the evening for the many office workers in Jongno.
Back to the beers, there are no sours, barrel-aged or other eccentric beers, but we’re not complaining, the menu covers a wide range of flavors. The Huell Melon Session IPA goes well with the pizza and was perhaps our favorite of the night, blending the hoppy bitterness with some subtle melon tones, and the low abv. makes it very refreshing. If you really want to get your mind off your work, you can get hit by the much stronger Seoul Train DIPA, with a healthy 8.3 % abv, lots of spicy hops, and a tropical citrusy body.