20 (Tue) July 2021
‘Tis Rare Fine Beer
at Yeogjeon Halmeoni Maegju 1982
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
Newbery 100 Medals, 100 Meals (61) (see 100 NEWBERY M&Ms)
While reading the 100 books that have been awarded the annual Newbery Medal since 1922, I am attempting to create one dish for every book, a dish that is directly referenced in or indirectly inspired by the events of the book. The dishes will be featured as posts on Give Me This Day.
This is the first time featuring a beverage, rather than an actual food dish, one that I didn’t make myself. Please forgive me.
The Dark Frigate (1924) by Charles Boardman Hawes. Set in 17th century England, the book is about Phil Marsham, a recently orphaned young man who ends up working as a deckhand on a frigate, which gets capture by pirates, etc, etc, etc.
I didn’t get it. The protagonist seems to drift from one encounter to another, with very little agency or effect on the outcome of the events that unfold. The people that he meets talk in long rambling rambunctious monologues, made even more difficult to read by the author’s use of the vernacular.
“The shoe must be made for the foot. I have no desire to go posting about the country with a roystering coxcomb but – well – as I say, I have no liking for thy company, which consorts ill with the pressure of many thoughts but since you know what you know (and the Devil take him who learned you it!) like it or not, I must keep company with such grace as may be. Yea, though thou clappest hand to thy weapon with such facility that I believe thee sunk to thy neck in the Devil’s quagmire, bogged in thy sin, and thy hands red with blood.”
The whole book is kinda like that.
Leaving Louis Le Pieux at the pet salon to a get a haircut, I went in search of a place to grab a beer while waiting and encountered this place, which I had never heard of.
Yeogjeon Halmeoni Maegju 1982 (역전 할머니 맥주 1982) is a Korean pub chain. According to the website, 1982 was the year that the original owner opened her first beer joint near a subway stop in Iksan, Jeollabuk-do (Korean restaurants typically employ this kind of reckoning to stretch the “since” status as far back as possible). The name means “station-front (yeogjeon) grandmother (halmeoni) beer (maegju)” in reference to that progenitorial establishment. The current business was launched in 2013, then developed into a franchise chain in 2016, currently with over 700 outlets across the country. While the food menu offers standard Korean pub fare, the chain’s claim to fame is the beer, which takes ordinary Cass and filters the beer through their patented refrigeration device to serve it extra cold.
The proliferation happened while I was in the Philippines, explaining why I’d never heard of it.
Phil and his companion Martin stay at Mother Taylor’s inn the evening before they are to set sail.
She brought food from a cupboard and laid the table by the fire, and going into a back room, she drew a foaming pitcher of beer.
“No wine?” cried Martin. “Mother Taylor has no wine? Come, though old beldame, serve us stronger tipple.”
“She laughed shrilly. “The beer,” said she, “is from Fromeselwood. He who sails on the morning tide must go sober to bed else he may rue his choice. Aye, an’ ‘tis rare fine beer.”
By sheer meta-coincidence, I happened to be reading The Dark Frigate on this very day. I finished it by the evening.
The beer was absurdly refreshing. The already super-chilled beer was served in a frozen mug covered in ice, which (a) made the beer even colder, (b) provided an interesting visual effect in ice shards detaching from the interior of the mug and floating to the surface, (c) melted and left pools of water on the tabletop. The overall effect was like drinking a beer slushee – careful of brain freeze. It didn’t taste like anything, and that’s the whole idea. Kudos on inventing a way to make Cass, which is flat and flavorless at normal temperatures (see 12.136 Penne in Spicy Milk Sauce), fun.
I ended up drinking 4 mugs.
(See also BOOZE)
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)