21 (Fri) May 2021
Penne in Spicy Milk Sauce
-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.
- 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.
- Miller Genuine Draft (4.5+4.0) (8.5): okay at first, but less so on second sip, weak finish.
- 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.
- 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)