A bit off the busy main streets of Itaewon, there’s a couple of quiet and even a bit posh areas. This is where we find Seoul Brewery’s Hannam venue, a tall and thin slice of a building with minecraftesque plywood interior and, most importanly, a sizeable beer menu venturing off the beaten path.
We find many familiar beer names on the menu, known from our visit to the Hapjeong venue and guest taps around Seoul, but also several new and interesting looking beers. Pale Blue Dot IPA, a great and bitter IPA, seems to be a classic in development. Don’t be fooled by the innocent, light color of the Pina Blue Dot IPA, a variation with pineapple, coconut and vanilla. This is a completely different taste, something we’d expect from much darker beers. The body is full and sweet, prominent coconut flavors after the initial pineapple hit, and then it’s all vanilla from there.
One of the better word puns on the menu, the Seoulvignon Sour Ale, is a light and berry-bitter sour ale. As the name suggests, is has the kind of light fruity sweetness you would expect from a sauvignon blanc. A well balanced and easy going sour, and a great example of the growing diversity on the craft beer menus in Seoul!
We shared a mushroom and sausage quiche, very Instagram-friendly served on a round stone platter. The little pie has a nice mix of sweet and salty flavor, and works well as a snack. Be wary of the beetroot and chilis served with the quiche, they were surprisingly spicy, and could easily have overpowered our tastebuds for the rest of the night.
No word pun or funny name for the Robust Porter, but we’re happy we got one. It’s a quite dark porter, lots of roasty chocolate flavor and with a lot of coconuty sweetness. If your grandma’s favorite chocolate came in liquid form, this would be it! If you’re in for more of a gentle craft beer, you can try the Salinger Rye IPA, which seems to be another stayer on the menu. This is a more subtly tropical IPA, juicy but not too sweet, good passion fruit taste, mild and tender mouthfeel with that earthy rye flavor.
Covering two narrow floors, the venue is simple, minimal and almost barren, most of the interior is made of plywood which keeps all the lines straight. Hard surfaces aside, the music plays at a decent volume, just enough to drown out other groups’ conversations but not our own. The menu is partly in English and the staff is friendly and English speaking, which coupled with the proximity to Itaewon and HBC makes this also a good spot for travelers.