Craft Beer & Music Festival in Daejeon

The craft beer scene in Korea has exploded in recent years with microbreweries popping up across the country. We spent the evening in Daejeon trying some of the nation’s best handmade ales and lagers

Before I go any further, I have a confession to make. I’m not a beer drinker, in fact (dare I say it) I don’t even really like beer. Back home you’ll find me with a crisp G&T or an ice cold sauvignon blanc, maybe a fruit cider at a push.

Much to my disappointment, my white wine world came crashing down when we moved to Korea; where anything more than a pint turned into a privilege – forcing me to swap Cava for Cass.

Daejeon Craft Beer Festival

My kind of beer

Now for obvious reasons, I’m no beer connoisseur; but if my beer-drinking experience has taught me anything over the past eighteen months it’s that Korea is seriously lacking in it’s lager game.

For decades, Hite, OB & Cass have been runnings things, and although they’re not offensive, the trio aren’t exactly anything to write home about either.

In 2014, the government loosened it’s restrictions on the volume of beer that microbreweries were required to produce, offering a world of opportunities for breweries across the country.

Some are calling it a beer revolution, and Dave and I were more than ready to join the movement.

Selection of craft beer at the festival

Good Times Rok and Weizen Haus Brewery were hosting their annual Craft Beer and Music Festival in Daejeon, a chance for us to sample some of the tasty craft delights that have been taking Seoul by storm. The event was held downtown at Daejeon Expo Park, right in front of the Hanbittap Tower.

Daejeon Craft Beer & Music Festival

We arrived around 19:00pm and were surprised to see a small queue to enter the festival; turns out we weren’t the only ones thirsty to sample the vast selection of ales and lagers on offer.

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As we entered, we were greeted by smiling staff selling beer coupons, it was 10,000 won (around £6.00) for two coupons. If you purchased the early bird ticket in advance it was 10,000 won for three craft beer coupons.

Tempted by fried chicken and bratwursts, we also bought some food coupons, but ended up getting a refund on them as the queues for the food stalls were too long.

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Each tent was filled with friendly staff offering free samples

Each tent was filled with friendly staff offering free samples

The Hand & Malt Brewing Company

Some of the breweries showcasing their beers at the festival were Kabrew, Magie Brewing Company, Kramerlee, Trevier Brewing Company, Platinum Craft Brewing, Whasoo Brewery, Weizen Haus, September Brewing, Gorilla Brewing Company, Galmegi Brewing Company, Brau Breitbach and The Hand and Malt Brewing Company.

They told us that the beer boom in recent years has led to a massive increase in sales; with some even struggling to meet the demand.

Magpie Brewing Company

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Several samples later, Dave was won over by a rather unique tasting chilli-based ale from September Brewing. Next he tried an expresso-vanilla stout from Galemgi Brewing Company and a mocha flavoured stout from Busan’s own, Gorilla Brewing Company.

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After a guided tour from Dave, it was an easy decision for me; I followed the fruits and exchanged my coupons for a refreshing mango ale and peach ale from September Brewing, followed by a pressed apple cider from one of Korea’s more established craft sellers, the Hand and Malt Brewing Company.

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Selection of craft beer from the Hand & Malt Brewing Company

The seating area was right in the middle of the tents and facing towards a large stage, showcasing live music throughout the evening followed by a DJ at 21:00pm.

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We spent around three hours at the festival, enjoying the live music, making the most of the samples and chatting to the friendly servers who had a clear passion for the craft beer that they were selling. We stumbled contentedly towards the bus stop around 23:00pm, heading to bed with a belly full of beer.

Rating 7/10: A must visit for craft beer lovers (and there’s no entry free!) I’m not really a beer drinker but still had a great evening sampling the beers and listening to the live music, although we did leave the festival hungry because of the huge queues for food.

When: We visited the festival on Friday 14th October, but I believe the date changes every year. Email lovecraftbeermusicfestival@gmail.com for more information. 

How to get there: Daejeon has a huge bus terminal with direct routes across the country, there is also a KTX station if you want to catch the train. We caught the bus to Daejeon and then took a ten minute taxi to the Expo Park costing around 7,000 won. The festival organisers also offer return coach trips from some of the bigger cities in Korea.

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9 Comments

  1. 5th April 2017 / 5:17 am

    My husband would love this!!! He just purchased his own home craft beer brewer (is that how you even call it?). Told him I will have nothing to do with it, not even assist him hahaha. But these days, he makes me appreciate craft beer. I’m not a fan yet, though. But festivals like this is really nice and liven up meet-up with friends.

  2. 3rd April 2017 / 8:35 pm

    Nice! I just went to Gyeongju’s Craft Beer festival on Sunday. It was on a much, MUCH smaller scale, but still awesome, and totally free. Not just free to attend, but free to try the beers as well! You could buy a glass of any beer you enjoyed, but samples were totally free.

    I’m well into craft brews, and my first year in Korea was a bit tough. My second year, craft beer was just making an entrance, and now this year it almost feels like I’m home. Sometimes, globalization isn’t a bad thing…

  3. 3rd April 2017 / 2:38 pm

    Sounds like you had a delicious time! I personally love craft beer, and I had the opportunity to visit a craft beer festival last summer hosted here in Seoul. The experience sounds very similar to your one… life music, beer tents with many options for different beers produced by multiple local breweries. We also had the same problem with waiting for food. We waited probably fifty minutes for a small burger. It seems that the food providers just can’t keep up with client demand. Next time, i’ll order food as early as possible, and just keep ordering more beer while I wait for the food truck to make my order! Haha… You live and learn!

  4. 1st April 2017 / 11:13 pm

    Omg Rosie? Are you living in Daejeon right now? That’s where I did my year in Korea! I knew about the WineFest but this has to be new right? No kidding when you say anything more than a pint is privilege! I also found out I was gluten sensitive because of a thyroid condition that worsened halfway through my Korean experience so it put me in such a crap place being surrounded by a beer culture. But I wouldve been down for the DJ. I miss all those communal experiences in Korea that are lacking here in Saigon.

  5. 1st April 2017 / 12:11 am

    Definitely gonna add this festival to my Korea bucket list because I looooove craft beer and I’m dying with the terrible options of cass and hite. There are many things about Korea that don’t vibe with my being but the lack of craft beer (affordable ones at least) is a serious issue for me! I’m glad you enjoyed yourself despite not being a beer fanatic!

  6. 31st March 2017 / 6:27 pm

    An evening made in heaven. Korea has come a long way with their beer market, both imported and local brewed. Very nice that the festival was free entry and the beers were reasonably priced. Pity the food wasn’t too well planned, would have made the perfect companion to the brews you were sampling. I’m a big stout/porter/dunkel fan so that espresso-vanilla made my mouth water and it’s not even 12pm yet where I am!! Definitely would have made the effort to attend if I was still in Korea. Thanks for the write up and cool photos.

  7. 30th March 2017 / 4:09 pm

    I’ve never really explored Daejeon. It’s one of those cities I just never think about. Thanks for giving me a reason to! Craft Beer really has taken off here it’s incredible to see all the different varieties and variations out there now. Great article. Looks Like Daejeon will be getting a new visitor!

  8. 30th March 2017 / 1:38 pm

    Oh man, this festival looks amazing. All that craft beer has me feeling like we missed out! I’m so happy that REAL beer is catching on in Korea. The last “beer” festival I attended, they were serving jugs of Cass and Hite while marketing themselves as having, basically what you’ve shared here. Looks like we’ve now got plans next October!

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