It’s a great time of year to be a beer geek. This month, two new beer festivals will be following on the heels last month’s The Beer Week hosted by The Booth. The Great Korean Beer Festival, hosted by Media Paran, will launch its sixth iteration at COEX Mall while Good Times ROK and Ka-Brew will co-host the 2nd Annual Craft Beer and Music Festival in Gapyeong. Beer festivals provide an excellent opportunity to celebrate and showcase Korea’s best locally made craft beer and most popular imports.
Media Paran’s Great Korean Beer Festival (GKBF) hopes to improve upon last year’s event which saw 74,000 visitors, aiming to serve up to 100,000 visitors this May. Aside from pouring up some of Korea’s best beers, Media Paran also promises great food, music, and beer geek surprises.
“The festival is not merely about drinking beer,” a spokesperson for Media Paran said. “Brewmasters from small, independent breweries will be on hand to introduce their creations. At the ‘Meeting the Brewer’ event, brewers will share their beer stories and beer philosophies, and visitors will have a chance to ask questions about craft beer. Famous faces from overseas craft beer communities will also be visiting.” Media Paran plans on having representatives from various breweries give talks. Ballast Point, Founders, Hand & Malt, Budnamu, and Ka-Brew are among the breweries they hope will participate in speaking sessions at this year’s festival.
Taking place outside COEX mall in conjunction with the mall’s C-Festival, the GKBF is easy to get to for Seoulites and perfect for pairing with a nearby activity such as fine dining or shopping.
“Non-craft beer fans can come for a day in the beautiful mountain surroundings and enjoy some great food and listen to a variety of bands in Korean and English in addition to the DJs.”
– Festival organizer Michael Suh.
The 2nd Annual Craft Beer and Music Fest, running May 14-15, 2016 will combine craft beer and music with the great outdoors. Held in the Jarasum area of Gapyeong, event-goers are invited to come out for the day or reserve camping grounds, hotels, or pensions for the weekend. This festival, which expects around 10,000 visitors, places as much emphasis on live music and partying as it does on the craft beer. “Non-craft beer fans can come for a day in the beautiful mountain surroundings and enjoy some great food and listen to a variety of bands in Korean and English in addition to the DJs,” says festival organizer Michael Suh.
Good Times ROK has plenty of experience in bringing the fun as regular event organizers for expats living in Korea. Just this year they’ve organized the Jindo Sea Parting Festival, several snowboarding trips, and a DMZ tour. The Craft Beer and Music Festival, however, is perhaps their most ambitious endeavor. As Michael Suh explains, “There is a lot of planning and organizing for this event because of the size of it. [We are] organizing the beer companies, food vendors, booths, stage, sound, lighting, plus dealing with the city officials, accommodations, marketing, scheduling the bands and DJs, and more.”
Both festivals are free to attend. The GKBF will additionally offer sample coupons, allowing customers to try small servings of several different beers at a discount.
The Gapyeong event offered early bird tickets until May 1, but will sell tickets at the event for KRW 10,000, which are good for two 360 ml cups of beer.
Both festivals will feature many of Korea’s best breweries including Magpie, Platinum, Ark, Ka-Brew, Gorilla, and Weizen Haus. However, some breweries will only feature exclusively at one festival or the other. GKBF will have The Hand & Malt, The Booth, and Playground Brewery beers. In contrast, the 2nd Annual Craft Beer and Music Festival will feature Galmegi Brewing Company, Budnamu, 7Brau, and Whasoo Brewery beers.
Craft beer virgins and neophytes along with seasoned beer veterans will find there’s no better place to find a new beer to drink than at two of the country’s biggest beer events where you can try almost anything.