Home Food & Beverages 5 Delicious Korean Beer Brands 2022 | Lagers To Lift Your Spirits

5 Delicious Korean Beer Brands 2022 | Lagers To Lift Your Spirits

by song-i

Here are some popular Korean beer brands to refresh yourself if you’re not in the mood for soju. Also check out where to buy Korean beer including brands like Cass and Terra.

When it comes to alcoholic beverages in South Korea, Soju is the one name that comes to mind. 

And yes, while the rice-based drink is very popular in Korea, beer is also a beloved beverage in the country.

In Korea, beer is traditionally called maekju (written in Hangul as 맥주). This beverage was introduced to Koreans during the late 20th century when Korea’s first brewery opened in 1908.

For the longest time, Hite-Jinro and OB were two major breweries that occupied the Korean beer market. 

Related: Best Soju Brands

But since 2011, the Korean government has relaxed its restrictions on microbreweries leading to many craft beer brands entering the market.  

So while traditional Koreans might have preferred Soju, beer is the drink of choice for most people in the country today. 

In fact, a survey found out that in 2019, South Korea ranked 18th amongst the biggest beer drinkers in the world with 20.22 million hectoliters of beer being consumed. 

Also beer holds a large market share in Korea when it comes to alcoholic beverages with over 40.2% alcohol sales being beer.

How I tested the top Korean beer brands?

I taste-tested the top Korean beer brands so you don’t have to waste your time searching for the perfect drink. I then also rated these beers on a scale of 1-5 to make things simpler for you. Here are some parameters that I’ve rated these beers on:

  • Strength –  Of course, the first and foremost thing I checked was how much alcohol content did the beer contain. Strong, dark beers got a 5, while the watery stuff got ranked less.
  • Taste – I also did a flavor test to see if the beer went down easily. This was especially important for craft beers that come in a variety of unconventional flavors. 
  • Price – Another important factor was the price.
  • Availability – I also checked if the beers were easily available in the supermarket or online store or if they were niche, craft beers available less easily. 

Korean Beer Brands 2022

Terra Beer

  • Alcohol Content –  4.6%
  • Flavor – Acidic 
  • Brewery/Manufacturer Name – Hitejinro
terra korean beer

One of the most popular local Korean beers is the brand Terra from the HiteJinro brewery. With over  4.6 percent of alcoholic content it is one of the lighter beers out there.

For this reason it’s very popular with college students and first time drinkers. 

The malt used by Hitejinro for creating this particular beer is grown all the way in Australia and boasts of a fantastic quality. 

But what made me love this beer brand is the addition of carbonic acid into it that gives it a fizzy taste and creates a lovely layer of foam on top when pouring. 

My Ratings:

  • Strength –  3.5/5
  • Taste – 4/5
  • Price – 4.5/5
  • Availability – 5/5 

Hite

  • Alcohol Content – 4.3%
  • Flavor – Pale Lager
  • Brewery/Manufacturer Name – Hitejinro
beer in korean

Just like the Terra beer, the Hite Extra Cold is also from the Hitejinro Brewery. If you like rice lagers such as Budweiser, you should definitely try this one.

This is a refreshing lager that has a light body that pairs well with spicy food. The carbonation here (unlike in the Terra beer) is also light to medium so you won’t get a large top. 

I’d really recommend this beer if you are a first time drinker and do not have a palate for strong liquor yet. 

But if you’re looking for strength or taste, this isn’t the one for you. It’s in short a boring lager that isn’t too sharp or strong. 

My Ratings:

  • Strength –  3.5/5
  • Taste – 4.5/5
  • Price – 5/5
  • Availability – 5/5

Terra is also promoted by Gong Yoo of Squid Game and Train To Busan fame!

Cass

  • Alcohol Content – 4.5%
  • Flavor – Pale Lager
  • Brewery/Manufacturer Name – OB Group
where to buy korean beer

Cass is another low-alcohol pale lager. It is brewed by the OB group, one of the biggest alcohol breweries in South Korea.

Just like the Hite and the Terra beer brand, Cass too is really light and refreshing. But what sets it apart from the other two is that it’s taste feels richer and deeper. 

I could also feel the aftertaste for much longer than I did with the other two brands of pale lager.

The best thing about Cass however, is that it’s a very popular beer so it’s available practically everywhere. 

I pair it both with spicy Korean food especially the hot chicken wings and Jjanjmyeon and also American classics like fries. In my opinion it goes well with both of these foods. 

My Ratings:

  • Strength –  4/4
  • Taste – 4/5
  • Price – 4.5/5
  • Availability – 5/5

Kloud

  • Alcohol Content – 5%
  • Flavor – Pilsner
  • Brewery/Manufacturer Name –  Lotte Chilsung Beverage Co., Ltd.
popular korean beer malt

If you’re tired of the pale lagers I’ve listed above and want something stronger, you should check out the Kloud beer manufactured by the group  Lotte Chilsung Beverage Co., Ltd.

The European style beer will remind you largely of a German Pilsner. On tasting it I found that the beer gives a distinct cereal hops flavor and then subsides to a tangy, bready aftertaste.

But what I love most about the beer is that it’s strong and gives you a large top. So if you’re wondering why this beer is called Kloud just try pouring it into a glass and see the foam for yourself! 

My Ratings:

  • Strength –  4.5/5
  • Taste – 4.5/5
  • Price – 4/5
  • Availability – 5/5 

Max Beer

  • Alcohol Content – 4.5%
  • Flavor – Malt
  • Brewery/Manufacturer Name – HiteJinro
korean craft beer brands

Liked the Hite by Hitejinro? Well if they have another beer brand you can try called the Max beer. 

If you like the taste of Hite but want something more malt and richer than a pale lager, then you should definitely try this one. 

Hite has a very cereal hops taste at the beginning and remains creamy and rich throughout.

I have often seen it paired with fried chicken and other such street food in Korean restaurants. Also, I like pairing this beer with a steak dinner. In my opinion that is a match made in heaven.

I like that it foams but it can be too much if poured incorrectly. So just be careful when you’re transferring the beer into a glass

The only issue I had with this beer is that it was near impossible to find online or in a local convenience store. I finally ordered it from a speciality Korean supermarket. 

My Ratings:

  • Strength –  4/5
  • Taste – 4.5/5
  • Price – 4/5
  • Availability – 2.5/5

FAQs about Korean Beer Brands

I’ve seen so many queries about Korean beer brands and breweries from my readers. So I’ve decided to answer a few of your frequently asked questions down below. Check it out! 

What is the most popular beer in Korea?

According to a 2019 survey the international beer brand Heineken was the most popular beer brand in Korea. But when it comes to locally brewed beers, the brands OB Golden Lager and Hite are most consumed in the country. 

Is beer popular in Korea?

Yes! Beer is as popular as Soju in Korea if not more! According to a survey, 40.2 percent of the total market share for alcoholic beverages is dominated by beer brands. The rise in popularity of beer as a preferred beverage can be attributed to microbreweries and the production of flavorful craft beers in the past decade. 

Is soju a beer or wine?

Neither actually. Soju is a distilled alcoholic beverage and hence falls into the category of “liquor” or “hard spirit” along with other drinks such as Whiskey, Brandy, Rum, etc. 
The misconception that Soju is a form of wine probably originated as the Japanese rice drink “Sake” is a form of wine. But Soju isn’t its Korean counterpart. That would be the Korean rice wine “makgeolli”. 
And beer specifically refers to alcoholic beverages that have been created from malt and barley so Soju cannot be a beer at all! 

Is San Miguel beer famous in Korea?

While San Miguel beer is available in Korea, it is by no means very popular. Local beer brands like OB, Cass, and Terra have a larger hold on consumers than San Miguel and there is also competition from other international brands like Heineken. People usually think San Miguel is a Korean brand or a Spanish one but it’s actually a Philippines-based beer brand. 

Is Korean beer strong?

There are both strong and light varieties of beer available in Korea. The alcoholic content in beers can range from 4 to 8 percent actually. But compared to brands available in other countries like the Irish Guinness for example, you can safely say that Korean beers are lighter than most. 

Despite being known for Soju, a rice-based fermented drink that is the traditional alcoholic beverage in South Korea, beer is seriously catching up in the country. 

A lot of people prefer to drink beer as it has a lesser alcoholic content that Soju and craft beer comes in different flavors as well. 

Beer is also popular with students who are usually first time drinkers and prefer the taste of craft beer to other stronger alcoholic beverages.

Also Read:

Must Try Korean Soft Drinks

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