The Top 5 Korean Beers

We hope you like our reviews! Just so you know, as an affiliate site, 52Brews may receive payment from some of the links on this page. We promise we'll use that money to keep trying new beer and posting more helpful reviews!

South Koreans love their booze. The country ranks at the top of the charts of alcohol consumption per capita. Alcohol is an entrenched part of their social customs in gatherings and meals, especially. Interestingly (for us beer lovers), beer has a huge 40 percent share of the alcohol market in the country.

The country’s maekju (beer, in Korean) tend toward “enjoyable” brews with lower alcohol content that go down easy. No beer on our list has above 5% ABV, even.

In this list, we explore five excellent Korean beers. These are our top picks to try, to get a taste of what Korean beer is all about, and also pretty easy to find abroad.


1. Hite

Hite Beer Korean BeerSince being launched in 1993, Hite beer has gone on to become the top-selling beer in South Korea and worldwide. Hite Brewery makes the beer in Seoul, the country’s capital.

This brewery prides itself on using pure underground spring water and premium cornstarch, malt, yeast, and hops, resulting in a beer with a heavy malt aroma with a hint of hops that’s light-bodied, yet buttery.

Hite beer has a light golden color and pours with a small white head. For most Koreans, it is a popular beverage to accompany meals, be it an elegant dinner or a casual Korean barbecue.

Photo Credit: Leotheme

Hite
 ABV 4.3%
 IBU
 Estimated Calories 129

2. OB Golden Lager

Oriental Brewery makes OB Golden Lager and introduced it in 1948. The brewery crafts the beer to produce a distinctive, deep taste, using German hops, premium malt, cornstarch, and rice.

This premium lager has a heavy hops aroma, is light-bodied, and has a deep, crispy malt taste, which is a result of using tower-malting and light corn. The pale golden lager pours with a small white head and is a smooth beer with which to complement meals.

Photo Credit: Beermenus

OB Golden Lager
ABV 4.8%
IBU
Estimated Calories per serving 144

3. Cass Fresh

Cass Fresh Korean BeerOriental Brewery acquired Cass in 1999 and has since been the brewery responsible for putting Cass Fresh on the market. Today, Cass Fresh sells well globally using premium ingredients like pure water, malt, hops, and cornstarch to give it its quality consistency.

The beer is light, refreshing, and has a grainy malt and hops aroma, with a sweet malt taste and crisp, bitter finish.

It pours pale golden with small white foam. Additionally, there are no identifiable “hard” tastes in the profile, which makes it a great beer to have with meals.

Photo Credit: Cass

Cass Fresh
 ABV 4.5%
 IBU
 Estimated Calories 135


4. Cafri

Cafri Korean BeerCafri is a well-stocked, popular beer in stores and bars across South Korea. Oriental Brewery has produced this premium beer since 1995. Core ingredients consist of water, malt, hops, and yeast.

It has a sweet, malt, and corn foretaste with a trace of fresh hops, but afterward, the aftertaste turns watery, finishing with a slightly bitter aftertaste. The beer is also highly carbonated, pouring light golden with a small white head.

The exceptionally light Cafri is an elegant accompaniment for spicy Korean foods, especially their famous barbecue.

Photo Credits: Cafri

Cafri
 ABV 4.2%
 IBU   –
 Estimated Calories 126

5. kloud

Kloud Korean BeerFor a beer to be launched and immediately command a demand that surpasses its supply is quite a feat. The launch of Kloud beer in 2014 got such a massive reception that it was soon short of supply, just shy of its launch. This situation caused the beer maker, Lotte Chilsung Beverage, to begin the construction of a new brewery to bridge the supply gap.

Lotte Chilsun brews Kloud beer from hops, malt, and yeast. Instead of water, the brewery uses fermented concentrates from the original gravity method.

The lager has an aroma of malt, bread, and hops. It has a sweet, malty taste with a light bitter finish.

The beer pours light golden, forming a fluffy white effervescence for its head.

Photo Credit: Lottechilsung

Kloud
 ABV 5%
 IBU 4
 Estimated Calories 150

Top 5 Korean Beers: Final Thoughts

Though South Korea is not internationally famous for its beer, the country’s love for brews is well documented. Remember that these beers reviewed here are exported (especially Hite) and can often be found in Korean restaurants (they’re a great complement to Korean barbecue!)

Also, if you like international beers, check out the International Beer Club by Microbrewed! They mail you a selection of great beers from around the world each month.

international beer club subscription box