12.136 Penne in Spicy Milk Sauce (WSP 1)


21 (Fri) May 2021

Penne in Spicy Milk Sauce


by me

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

with the Family

GMTD World Series of Pilsner (1 of 5) (see also WSP)

This project taste tests pilsner-style lagers from around the world, mass-market brands widely available in Korea.  16 contenders: 4 from Korea, 4 from Europe, 5 from Asia, 3 from the Americas (would’ve preferred an even 4×4 regional spread, but only 3 contenders were deemed worthy from the Americas, so I included a 5th from Asia).  The contenders are placed into 4 groups each comprising 1 randomly selected Korean beer, 1 European beer, 1 Asian beer, 1 American beer.  The beers are blind-tasted on a 4-point scale for taste and for texture, repeated, tallied to a maxim score of 16 points.  In case of a tie, the tying beers would be tasted a third time to determine the favored beer.  The winning beer moves on to the final round, along with winners from the other testing groups.



  • Cass (Korea): Produced by Oriental Brewery, Cass is Korea’s leading brand, possibly in history, currently holding approximately 21% of the domestic market.  It’s the one beer that will almost always be available in any restaurant that serves beer.  Makes me think that they give a special wholesale discount to restaurants (KIT told me that Sin Ramyeon does this, hence the ubiquity).  Prior to this tasting, my long-held opinion has been that it tastes like cASS.
  • Heineken (Netherlands): A colleague once told me about a book on psychology that claimed Heineken to be the world’s best-selling beer because it’s the easiest name to pronounce – neither point is true.  Anyway, I’ve always had a generally favorable impression of the brand, always satisfied to order it if nothing better.  During a layover at the airport in Amsterdam, I once had Heineken draft beer served at 0 degrees.  In the Netherlands, it’s referred to as a “pilsener,” though export bottles are labelled as “lager.”
  • Miller Genuine Draft (USA): For some reason, MGD was really popular in Korea when I was in college, one of the few available/affordable import brands, so I would drink it here while on vacation, and go back to the States and drink it there because it reminded me of Korea.
  • Tsingtao (China): This will always remind me of my father, who used to love Tsingtao before it went international.  During college, when I flew back to Korea for winter/summer vacations, I used to bring my father a 6-pack of Tsingtao, the old school white cans with pop tabs.  I was intrigued by his explanation – no Google then to confirm, so I had to take his word for it – that the brewery was founded by Germans in China, so it had the richer flavor of a European beer with the crisper texture of an Asian beer.


  1. Heineken (5.5+6.0) (11.5): though not significantly different from the others, it did stand out, in a very subtle way, with a deep dry flavor and long satisfying finish – quite pleased to confirm that the brand respectfully delivers on its reputation as a global.
  2. Miller Genuine Draft (4.5+4.0) (8.5): okay at first, but less so on second sip, weak finish.
  3. Tsingtao (3.5+5.0) (8.0): pissy, watery in the first tasting (3.5), but it fooled me in the second (5.0), eking out a couple points that pulled it out from last place – the biggest takeaway is that I’ll never again pay more for Tsingtao at a restaurant.
  4. Cass (4.0+3.5) (7.5): flavorless, flat finish – exactly as I’ve always thought.

With leftover milk sauce from the pork braise a couple days back, as well as leftover carrots and corn from the same meal (see 12.134 Milk-Braised Pork), plus a healthy dollop of red chili flakes to make it interesting.

(See also FOODS)

(See also PLACES)

3 thoughts on “12.136 Penne in Spicy Milk Sauce (WSP 1)

  1. It’s fun to have inspired a new project 🙂

    With regards to the winner, I guess it’s not a big surprise. Heineken is not my favorite, but at least it does it’s job. I have had Tsingtao a lot when I’ve been to China but have just found it bland and watery (not so much “pissy”).
    Btw I visited Qingdao (old spelling “Tsingtao”) a couple of years back and me and my then gf went to the Tsingtao museum (next to the main brewery. Kinda boring museum and not so much information (plus that our English-speaking guide hurried us along all the damn time).
    A beer museum a CAN recommend is the Guinness Brewery in Dublin though…

    1. that reminds me, Qingdao is really close to Seoul, so I’ve always meant to visit. I’ll put it on the list of places to go once the world settles down (1. Sweden …. 3. Maldives …. 8. Manila …. 14. Qingdao….)

      1. I know you dislike cruises but you can even take a ferry from Incheon to Qingdao (I think).

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