Nothing beats the summer heat better than having a nice chilled beer. Now Seoul welcomes a brand new craft beer tap house providing beers that are crafted from the finest grains and quality imported hops. Recently I was invited to Neighborhood, a New Zealand owned craft beer tap house located in Sinchon for beer tasting. Personally, I find craft beer tap houses are good alternatives to the tasteless Korean Cass.
Started their business for about a month ago, Neighborhood Sinchon carries a wide selection of unique beers from a Canadian owned brewery in Korea, the Galmegi Brewing Co. which is located in Busan.
Everything look fresh and new on the day we arrived. The pub is divided into the air-conditioned zone and non-a/c zone (usually for smoking). The outdoor area is in a clean and simple setting with a slight industrial touch. For Social media users and Instagram-ers, and if you don’t mind the cigarette smoke odour, I would suggest the outdoor seating for the perfect lighting to snap your shot. : )
Indoor. The yellow lighting created a warm, cosy and inviting atmosphere. It looks like a good place for late nights, Boy’s Night Out, or a good chill-out place with your favourite people while chatting over a few drinks.
Neighborhood has a rather simple menu with one page consisting of all the drinks and the other the food. Currently, they have 7 different craft beers and more to come in the future. Different from some of the craft beer tap houses that basically just repackage the exact same beer from the same brewery, most of the Neighborhood’s beers are exclusively available only in Seoul.
Here are the drinks currently available at Neighborhood:
Galmegi IPA 갈메기 IPA (KRW 6,500 a pint)
Moonlight Pale Ale 문라이즈 (KRW 5,500 a pint)
Campfire Amber 켐프파이어 엠버 (KRW 5,500 a pint)
Driftwood Porter 드리프트우드 포터(KRW 6,500 a pint)
Lighthouse Blonde 라이트하우스 블론드 (KRW 5,500 a pint)
Red Devil RyePA 레드데빌 다이피에이 (KRW 6,500 a pint)
Seouless Ginger Summer Ale 서울리스 진저 (KRW 5,000 a pint)
Too many choices or feeling clueless? You can always start off with their sampler (KRW 13,000) that comes with 4 mini glasses of craft beers at one go.
The sampler set comes in a wooden holder box that contains 4 different beers with different colour tones. The wooden beer glass holder matches well with the earth tone colours of their 4 popular beers. Look at the shades of light golden, old golden, copper and black! Beautiful!
One thing I don’t quite understand is they only provide 4 types of beer in their sampler set while having 7 beers on their current beer menu. It would be great if they could showcase all their beers together in the set, as I know there is another one very good beer of theirs (we will talk about it here in the blog somewhere below) is unfortunately not on the list. So, a more comprehensive sampler set please, Neighborhood! : )
Seouless Ginger Summer Ale: A summer edition with 5.0% of alcohol. This particular brew contains ginger, honey and fresh lemon. For those who don’t appreciate ginger, you may want to give this dude a chance. The fresh lemon and honey note cut the spicy and showy strength of ginger, leaving a refreshing, generally sweet after taste. It is indeed a pleasant beer to start with, but remember to finish it while chilled.
Lighthouse Blonde: Lighthouse Blonde comes in a beautiful shade of golden that contains only 4.5% of alcohol. A relatively lighter drink, with little hops and little bitterness. A very easy drink from my personal view.
Galmegi IPA: Added alot of hops, this IPA is the most well loved beer from Galmegi Brewery Co. Consist of 6.5% of alcohol, it is very popular at home (Busan). The copper colour Galmegi IPA comes with the right amount of bitterness, some “piney” and fruity end. It is not a “love at first sight” experience for me, but I find myself holding this drink most of the time after I have tasted all from the sampler.
Driftwood Porter: Nothing makes decent beer like brown malt. As a dark beer lover, my rating for Porter here among the 4 different beers could be a little biased. kkkkkk. I enjoy the distinct espresso notes, ending with a slight fruity touch of blackcurrent. A well-hopped beer with an alcohol level of 5.5%, but I was expecting a creamier and smoother texture. An enjoyable drink nonetheless. Calling all coffee lovers, try this!
Now, back to the beer that I mentioned earlier that is not included in the sampler set. The Red Devil RyePA. The batch that I had was actually in a darker shade of red. The Neighborhood team is expecting their upcoming batch of their RyePA to be in a delicious red colour.
RyePA is a kind of beer which rye is substituted for some portion of barley malt, usually this kind of speciality beer could be produced up to 60% of rye malt. I like the linger bitterness alongside the warming spicy note. Seriously a must try.
Neighborhood serves pizza, finger food (fries and beer battered squid) and ricotta salad at the moment. But efforts are spent — their french chef make almost everything — yes, almost everything– the tomato paste, the sauces, the cheese, the pizza dough all from scratch.
Mozzarella Pizza. Isn’t the pizza lovely? : ) Topped with homemade tomato paste, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil, this simple pizza was the highlight of the night. The gooey melted mozzarella is just right for me — moist and stretchy, full of milky flavour, a good pair up with the freshly homemade tomato base. The crust is very, very mildly burn at the end and softer towards the centre. The dough is fermented for 24 hours to achieve the chewy and airy texture at the same time, with the perfect crispness. It taste great with the garlic cheese dip.
Ricotta and Apple Salad. There was a “Ricotta Salad Wave” in the cafes and brunch places last year when a brunch cafe introduced their ricotta salad served with bread and it got so popular that every other brunch cafe began to serve this particular dish. However this one at Neighborhood is quite different from the standard version.
Their ricotta cheese is not as heavy as the ricottas from other places, which made the dish alot lighter. It mixes up the crunchiness of cucumber, zingy apple, and a spicy touch from the red onion. The salty and sweet ingredients, all pleasingly blended together in harmony, making it a wonderfully refreshing salad.
The garlic butter bread that comes with the salad smells deliciously wonderful. The crust is thin, crispy at the outside and fluffy at the inside — Think a garlic naan with a crispy outer layer. Light and full of garlicky flavour, it is already perfect on it’s own.
More pictures of the interior of Neighborhood Sinchon:
Craft beers or microbreweries are nothing new to Seoul — one of the Asian’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan city. In fact, more and more similar business are sprucing up in every single district here in Seoul. I must say I am not an expert in craft beer, nor I know much about craft brewing in Korea. As a consumer, what I value is the taste of the beers and food, the presentation, and the environment. Basically what we are talking about here is about the overall experience.
At Neighborhood we got good food (especially the wonderful pizzas and the bread) pairing up with a solid selection of brews. Be it the stylish ones with interesting flavours, or the classic, timeless brews, you can easily settle down with one that fits your taste.
Another good thing about Neighborhood is that there is no need to compulsorily ordering Anju (side dishes) like most Korean bars do. This is great as sometimes I am really done with anything solid and just wanted to get a couple of drinks, ended up having no place to go, especially when we are at Gangnam. If you are having the same problem as me here in Korea, then this place is your type of place for a drink.
Neighborhood Gastropub Sinchon (Click name to link to their Facebook Page)
53-14, Level 1. Chang Cheon Dong, Seodaemun-Gu,
Seoul, South Korea.
서울특별시, 서대문구 창천동 53-24 1층, 네이버후드.
Operating Time: 5pm- 1am daily.
How to get there?
1. Take exit 1 from Sinchon Station Line No. 2 (신촌역)
2. Walk straight. You’ll pass by Hyundai Department store, then KFC, and IBK bank and Paris Baguette. Turn to your right once you reach Paris Baguette.
3. Walk down the street and turn right into the 4th junction. Go straight down and you’ll see their signboard.