The surging popularity of craft beer around the world has officially reached South Korea. While Koreans still dearly love traditional drinks like soju, maekju (Korean beer), and makgeolli (rice wine), craft beer has become a favorite drink of the young and hip in Korea. Over the past few years, the Korean craft beer trend has fluttered across the country from Seoul all the way down to its southernmost part—Jeju Island. Indeed, the home of the O’sulloc green tea plantations and Jeju tangerine farms is now bubbling up some of the finest craft Korean beer you’ll find this side of the Pacific. Conceived in an alley speakeasy in Seoul’s Kyungridan neighborhood, Magpie Brewing Company has come out of the shade and stepped onto Korea’s sunny Jeju Island, where it produces its Korean-adored craft beer to be sold across the country. We visited the new Jeju Magpie Brewery for ourselves to check out its brewery tour, drink some beer at its open-air taproom, and accidentally eat some hops (DON’T EAT THE HOPS).
- 1 Craft Beer on Jeju Island, South Korea: Inside the Brewery Tour at Magpie Brewing Co.
- 1.1 Magpie Brewing Company
- 1.2 Jeju Travel Essentials
- 1.3 The Jeju Magpie Taproom
- 1.4 Coolest Things to Do in Jeju Island
- 1.5 One of the Coolest Things to Do in Jeju Island: Magpie Brewery Tour
- 1.6 More Jeju Activities
- 1.7 Magpie Craft Beer: Not Your Typical Korean Beer
- 1.8 Magpie Brewing Company Locations
- 1.9 Like this post?
- 1.10 You Might Also Appreciate…
- 1.11 What’s your favorite kind of craft beer?
Craft Beer on Jeju Island, South Korea: Inside the Brewery Tour at Magpie Brewing Co.
Magpie Brewing Company
In Korea, the call of the magpie bird symbolizes a welcome visitor bringing good news. A few years ago in a quiet corner of the Seoul neighborhood Kyungridan, a group of American and Korean-American friends evolved their own message to share with Korea—that of some real good craft beer. And with that message, Magpie Brewing Co. was formed. The story of the Magpie Brewing Co. starts with humble DIY beginnings: a-brewin’ in backs of restaurants and storefronts, skating the line of legality, but all the while developing a distinct balance between drinkability and developed flavors.
Jeju Travel Essentials
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Over the years Magpie spread its wings wider and wider. Soon enough, the now fully-realized, fully-legalized company required its own brewery, flocking to Jeju Island to join the ranks of the ravens atop Hallasan Mountain. On an island famous for its tangerines, Magpie Brewing Company found an empty tangerine warehouse to nest its modern brewery in, about 20 minutes east of Jeju City. After all, the air and water on Jeju is the cleanest in Korea (its no wonder the island has the best beaches in the country), and every drop of Magpie beer is brewed on Jeju-do using its water. Since the Magpie Brewery opening in 2016, Magpie Brewing Co. has settled in nicely in its new home, even performing trades of beer-for-tangerines with neighboring farmers. My how the Magpie has grown.
The Jeju Magpie Taproom
Magpie Brewing Company’s new beerhouse has something to make it even more enticing for a beautiful sunny Jeju day: it’s breezy open-air taproom. The Magpie Brewery and taproom take advantage of the scenic surroundings of Jeju Island, with large windows that let in light and an open front to the taproom.
Adjacent to the Magpie Brewery, the taproom is a perfect setting for taking in some of that clean island air, while sipping on Magpie Brewing Co. ‘s finest craft beer selections and munching on pizza, fried chicken, potato wedges, Korean-style pickles and coleslaw. Visit the Magpie Brewery and grab a seat at its taproom among Jeju locals for one of the coolest things to do in Jeju Island!
Coolest Things to Do in Jeju Island
Check out these adventurous discounted water activities on Jeju Island!
One of the Coolest Things to Do in Jeju Island: Magpie Brewery Tour
A Magpie Brewery tour will certainly stand out against other Jeju Island attractions. Magpie Brewing Company happily offers tours of their Jeju brewery, in both English and Korean. There are two English-language tours offered daily at 2PM and 4PM.
If you’re interested in a Magpie Brewery tour, you should contact Magpie in advance at email@example.com.
Brewery Tour Cost and Features
For 10,000 won, visitors to the brewery are given the grand tour of Magpie’s brewing tanks, malt room, and cold storage facility. This fee also includes a free beer on tap of your choice from the taproom, as well as a tasting of several of Magpie Brewing Co. ‘s beers. Heck, with all the beer you get, the tour is basically free. During the tour, you can also sample Magpie’s various malts, and catch a whiff of its hops.
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But seriously dude, don’t try the hops. We, being the giddy school children that we are, scarfed those little green hop balls down faster than you can say PALI PALI!, and had twisted faces for more than a few minutes. The taste of pure hops is just as strong as the smell: imagine the strongest, most bitter and hoppy ale concentrated into a single bite that coats your entire mouth and…well, that’s what eating hops tastes like.
Planning to visit Jeju? You might want to check out the best fish and chips on Jeju Island!
Our Experience at the Magpie Brewery Tour
All hops aside, the Magpie Brewery tour was certainly one tasty endeavor. Magpie takes you right into their nest, showing off all their sparkly new equipment and explaining in detail the process of making each glass of beer. We’ve learned that Magpie has expanded their production since founding the Jeju brewery in 2016, increasing their capacity from 5 fermenters to 10.
The World Comes to Jeju…And Jeju Goes to the World
If you’ve visited Jeju Island, you’ve likely come across this snappy little slogan. And sure enough, Magpie’s helping to make it true. All Magpie Brewing Co. beer is now made on-site at their Jeju brewery. This means that every glass of Magpie currently being sipped across the entire country of Korea has been brewed beneath the sunny skies of the island. Magpie does have plans to spread its wings even further, and the company is hoping to begin exporting a few of their Jeju-brewed beers internationally.
|Find out why Jeju Island was named one of the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World|
And with each glass of Magpie craft beer comes a little taste of Jeju. Certain local Jeju ingredients, including magnolia blossoms and tangerine peels, are used in the brewing process for that special Jeju touch. The result is a full-tasting, yet still incredibly smooth line of beers that are unlike any Korean beer you’ve ever tried.
Magpie Craft Beer: Not Your Typical Korean Beer
The most common Korean beers, such as Hite and Cass, will probably taste bland and watery to those accustomed to the richer and fuller taste and body of Western-style ales and lagers. Magpie Brewing Company’s craft beers are a refreshing departure from the typical Korean beers, with a lineup including four core beers available year-round: pale ale, porter, IPA, and Kolsch.
The pale ale, Magpie’s first beer and their most popular, has a fruity-apricot aroma and citrusy flavor with a crisp and light body. Magpie’s porter has chocolate and coffee flavors, but is much lighter and smoother than you might expect from a porter. The Magpie IPA is a classic American IPA with pine and citrus notes. Magpie’s Kolsch is made in the traditional style of Kolsch beer from Cologne, Germany and is very light and mild.
Magpie Brewing Co. also brews an extensive variety of seasonal beers that use uncommon and nontraditional ingredients, including the delicious Magnolia Wheat Wine with hints of lemongrass and magnolia buds.
What were our favorites? We’re always happy with a good IPA, and the porter is truly the smoothest porter I’ve ever tried, but a few unique Magpie Brewing Co. recipes stand out for us. The Magnolia Wheat Wine from Magpie Brewing Company is one of the tastiest beers we’ve tried in a long time, and the uniquely salty-sour Ghost is a must-try as well—the two of them might just be the front-runners.
Looking for some Korean food to stuff in that beer belly? We got your back:
The increasing popularity of craft beer is a welcome trend for beer drinkers in Korea. As avid craft beer drinkers at home in Los Angeles, craft beer is something we definitely miss amidst the sea of Korean beer like Cass and Hite while living in Korea. Magpie Brewing Co. has firmly established itself as a leader in the growing craft beer field in South Korea. We may be a bit partial because the Magpie Brewery is located not too far from our home in Jeju, but you’d be hard pressed to find more tasty beer brewed in Korea than from Magpie Brewing Co.! We had a great time touring the Magpie Jeju Brewery, and highly recommend it as one of the top things to do in Jeju Island. With high-quality beers and a wide variety of styles, everyone who’s anyone will surely find something they enjoy. But guys. Don’t. Try. The. Hops.
Magpie Brewing Company Locations
Magpie Brewing Company has four different locations: 2 in Seoul and 2 on Jeju Island.
Jeju (Brewery/ Taproom): Jeju-si, Donghoecheon 1-gil 23 (제주시 동회천1길 23)
Jeju (Tapdong): Jeju-si, Tapdong-ro 2-gil 3 (제주시 탑동로2길 3)
Magpie Itaewon: Yongsan-gu, Noksapyeong-daero 244-1 (용산구 녹사평대로 244-1)
Magpie Hongdae: Mapo-gu, Wausan-ro 19-gil 6-15 (마포구 와우산로19길 6-15)
How to Get to Magpie Brewing Company Locations
The Magpie Brewing Co. Seoul locations are easily accessible from Seoul’s subway network. The Jeju Magpie Brewing Co. Tapdong pub is easily reachable by taxi from throughout Jeju City. The Magpie Brewery and taproom are difficult to reach by public bus, but if you provide the address in Korean to a taxi driver they should be able to locate it with their GPS.
If you are traveling on Jeju Island, we highly recommend renting a car as Jeju is quite big, and the bus can be slow and tedious (it can take up to 2 hours to go from one side of the island to the other when taking the bus). Find the cheapest Jeju rental cars!
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What’s your favorite kind of craft beer?
Have you tried any from Magpie Brewing Co. ? Let us know in a comment below!