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  • Oliver Weber

Hops... from Seoul to Idaho

On a recent winter Sunday the family and I headed out to Iksong-dong, a hidden hipster ‘Central’, in Seoul, Korea. Think of a converted traditional Korean village hipstered out into trendy cafe / dessert spots and... Goose Island Brewery brewpub.

Goose Island Brewery, a well established Chicago microbrewery that was Budweiser and then blown up. Fueling the ‘quasi Craft Beer’ hangovers all over Asia, Goose Island has spread from Shanghai to Seoul and many more.... Craft beer is a massive, booming business in Asia, and Goose Island is part of the Big Brewer tsunami, even if the microbrew or craft is in name only.

What does it take to produce and export beer all over the ‘craft beer’ world? As part of my German Cooking apprenticeship, I learned there are strict laws in place regarding beer and brewing, called the Reinheitsgebot, (the German Beer Purity Law). Any young chef or restauranteur doing their apprenticeship has to study this, as in Germany, the national drink is beer, and the law dates back to 1516. Basically the only ingredients to beer were water, barley and hops.... Some facts of my apprenticeship I remember is that the state of Baden Wuerttemberg has 365 breweries, dwarfed by Bavaria, which has well over 1,000.

Hops are the flowers of the hop plant, with a primary use of beer flavouring as well as some other less known side effects (such as antibacterial effetc). Bitterness, floral, fruity or citric flavour element come from that of the hop flower.

Most of the worlds Hop is grown in a similar climate, along the 48th parallel. Hallertau (Germany), Yakima (Washington), Williamette (Oregon) and the number one farm in the world.....

Elk Mountain Farms, in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho. Long warm summer days with up to 16 hours of sunshine help this 1,700 acre farm owned by Budweiser, producing Goose Island for worldwide ‘craft’ domination.

Next time you drink a Goose Island, anywhere in the world, just remember that it all starts in the Pacific Northwest, in Northern Idaho.

Have a look at this video, thanks to Goose Island, and see where the beer gets the PNW flavor...

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