Words by Milgem Rabanera, shots by Philippe Teston
Nestled in the quickly gentrifying neighborhood of Gyeongridan lies a small, unassuming microbrewery called Magpie Brewing Co. The likes of watered-down Cass won’t be found here. Instead, customers can enjoy unique brews like goguma (sweet potato) brown ale, raspberry pale ale, makgeolli-made ale, and even spicy dark chocolate stout made with dried habanero and chipotle peppers. If you’re lucky, you’ll come during an impromptu food pairing with neighboring store The Baker’s Table. Visitors are educated about the finer side of beers and learn that it’s not just wine that can go well with a nice cheese.
In line with their DIY ethic, Magpie also provides classes in both English and Korean to those interested in making their own home brews. According to member Erik Moynihan, Magpie operates “as a tasting bar for people to come and try the beers we are producing, a bottle shop to encourage customers to pick up beer to share with others, a classroom for teaching beer appreciation and the brewing process, and a laboratory where we can work on developing new recipes.” In essence the store acts as a haven, a hangout, and a learning space for lovers of craft beer.
Each of the Magpie crew contributes their fair share in the multi-purpose business, notes Moynihan, “from cleaning to recipe creation – we try to make sure that no one gets stuck with the ‘work’ while everyone else gets to do the fun stuff.” There’s no doubt that there’s plenty of the fun stuff to go around. You name the happening event in Seoul — from baseball games to festivals to trendy Loose Union and VLUF parties — and chances are that Magpie will be there, serving their latest creative concoction.
Plans for seasonal beer are in the works and Magpie will be serving their three main beers in the coming summer months: a Pale Ale (citrusy and a little bitter) Copper Ale (full body with caramel notes) and Porter (dark with coffee and chocolate richness). Check out their Facebook page for updates: