Last Updated : 01/12/09
ark has recently been on his "Axis of Evil" tour again and sends this report...
"So on to Pyongyang by an ancient Ilyushin with an air conditioning system which filled the cabin with vapour. The in-flight service provided my first taste of DRPK beer – Pyongyang Beer ... a gloopy malty brew which wasn’t very promising. Fortunately I was only served a mouthful as the stewardesses only managed to serve this despite serving through takeoff and landing!
Because of the poor state of Pyongyang beer, the Ushers brewplant was bought and set up as Taedongang and this was certainly producing much better beer. However, all bottled beer seemed to be standard light lagers of varying strengths (ABV and degrees Plato) didn’t always agree and some of the “stronger” ones tasted just as weak as the others. For the record I came across the following ...
Taedongang (Pyongyang) 5% and 5.5% plus a draft version
Pyongyang (Pyongyang) 5%/12 degee and also a 11 degree
Ponghak (Ponghak) 4.5%/11 degree and 5%/12 degree
Ryongsong (Ryongsong) 3.9% and 4.5%/15 degree (sic)
All, apart from the Pyongyang, were reasonably refreshing. There were also 2 “Western” brands ... Heineken and Quilmes! Presumably both imported.
The main interest are the 2 micros which inhabit the 2 major international hotels – Kyoro and Yanggakdo. A What’s Brewing article from some years ago claimed the former brewed a dark porter and the latter an ESB-like beer. We stayed at the latter and the beer was very cloudy, with medium strength, bitterness and hop. The former is now not the favoured hotel so we didn’t get there – the Yanggakdo is on an island so makes tourist control much easier! – however, it looks like dark beers are on the wane as, while the guide new of their existence, she couldn’t track any down.
During this trip he also visited China and Hong Kong.