[Letter to the editor]There are more (and better) beers hereI am compelled to respond to your article, “Summertime...beer is cold” (June 15) about beer options this summer in Korea. At first glance your article implies a broad overview of the variety of quality beer(s) available, and seems to suggest that all sorts of pertinent information can be found in these columns; in fact, the opposite is true.
What is it about Korean “journalism” that reduces everything to an infomercial for Korean companies? Don’t OB and Hite have a large-enough promotional budget? Your introductory paragraph notes that “Korea is slowly emerging as a beer drinker’s paradise with an appetizing mix of local brands, brew pubs and international imports” ― something seriously belied by the contents of your article.
I am aware of the need for brevity due to space constraints in a newspaper. However, devoting four-fifths of your page to another hackneyed listing of Korean beer history and brands makes a mockery of any claim to present a broad view of the noteworthy varieties of OTHER beer(s) currently available here, and about which much less is known.
Your brief sop to objectivity with the inclusion of four examples of places to drink is hardly enough to make up for the blatant commercial slant toward OB and Hite in the article. We already know enough (in fact, too much) about those beers. What about living up to the headline and supposed theme of your article by writing about REAL beer available here? You could have done a much better job on the Korean brewpub scene, which is coming into its own these days, and has much more to offer the summer drinker than OB or Hite. You could also have offered information on two of the finest microbrew imports presently available in Korea for truly discerning drinkers: Alley Kat Ale and Big Rock, both from Canada.
Surely these are some of the aspects of summer quaffing options your article should have focused on, instead of embarrassing pandering to Korean brewers who already “own” the market. I expected better from your paper (especially after Andrew Salmon’s review of the “post-Gunther” 3 Alley Pub in which he demonstrated how a beer review should be written).
Mike Berry, a university lecturer in Korea
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