Asia Brewers Network

Special Ingredient: Kimchi


[This article first appeared in Craft Beer & Brewing, 15th April 2024]

It can be a polarizing dish for those who didn’t grow up with it, but there are some affinities between certain styles of beer and this fermented Korean favorite. Can you brew with it? Of course you can.

Can you brew a beer with kimchi? Of course. Should you brew a beer with kimchi? That is not a question we ask at the Special Ingredient laboratories. As a brewer you must first consider the ingredient, its flavors, and the potential … and then look deep within your own dark heart.

For the most part, there are three kinds of people in this world: People who don’t know kimchi, people who’ve had kimchi and think they know something but don’t realize how little they actually know (hi, it’s me), and people from Korea.

Personally, I love the stuff. It’s fermented, spicy, sour, salty, versatile, and it’s even kind of healthy—what’s not to like? Sure, it’s an acquired taste, but all the best ones are. So, I’ll be ignoring all of you who’ve decided you hate it because it’s got cabbage or it smells funny, or whatever. Get with the program.

Cans of Gorilla Brewing Kimchi Beer

Gorilla Brewing Kimchi Beer is fermented with kimchi Lactobacillus and all the regular ingredients of kimchi

To review the basics, for those who didn’t grow up with it: Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish often made with chopped-up cabbage, radish, garlic, chili powder, ginger, and some brined seafood or salty fish sauce, and all of it fermented together—however, there are many variations that leave out some of those ingredients or add in various others.

In Korean restaurants, it’ll typically appear as a small dish alongside many others to enjoy with a main course. It’s often salty, sourish, spicy, and crunchy-firm in texture. You can eat it as-is or add it to anything you want. It works great as a condiment—think tacos, bratwurst, sandwiches, and so on—and it works beautifully as a flavorful ingredient in fried rice. The possibilities, in fact, are endless…

To continue reading the full article in Craft Beer & Brewing CLICK HERE

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Asia Brewers Network

Asia Brewers Network

Dedicated to delivering brewing news from around the region, insights and analysis of industry trends and educational opportunities to brewers across Asia.

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