Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Prime Max -- Taste Test

With great food you need great beer. Thus reads the translated slogan (courtesy of yours truly) to the left, heralding THE HITE's -- which by the way, despite their unremarkable brews, is in this writer's opinion the best name seen on a beer not labeled Colt 45 or La Fin du Monde -- new lager, ostensibly* Hite Prime turned, in the immortal words of Nigel Tufnel, up to eleven**.

Now, I'm not a beer snob; you won't hear me scoff at Labatt's Blue or Budweiser. I appreciate a spectacular ale, pilsner, lager, etc. (mouthwash, eau du toilet...) as much as the next person***, but any old beer, as long as it's not a light beer, will do me fine on most occasions. [Insert name of your favorite beer here] is undoubtedly one of the most sublime potables on god's red Mars, but OB, Cass, and Hite, the Holy Triumverate of South Korean brewing, like dating a mildly-attractive girl with a snaggle tooth and horn-rimmed glasses, works just fine in a pinch (the pinch being that one finds himself or herself living in South Korea; the rest of you lucky bags, please appreciate your libations and don't leave a drop undrunk, for there are children thirstily starving on the penninsula).

Yes, Korean beers don't pack much...anything. They're weak and watery; a handicapped prostitute gives better head; their sole defining features are their prosaicness and the silly English copy found on their labels (Prime Max's reads: Delicious idea, Rich & full-bodied taste beer made from all malt and fine cascade hop. Delicious idea, indeed). So, why do I find myself, in the immortal words of Common Sense, again and again going back to get some more, asking, like the titular character in Dickens's Oliver Twist, "Please, Sir, can I have some more?" Because I'm an alcoholic? Arguably. Because I'm cheap? Perhaps. I could sell a kidney on the black market for roughly what an imported beer in Korea costs, and while I'm usually enthusiastic to pony up for a quality beer, the sad fact is that the selection here is criminally minimal.

It's ironic in a nation where teetotaller's are looked upon as outcasts that Korea has yet to develop a worthy beer, or open its market for a wide variety of such candidates, priced reasonably. I could cry 'till my poor heart is bereft. Or, as I've always done, I can make due with what resources the Good Lord hath provideth, and thank my lucky stars the Republic of Korea isn't governed by Islamic Fundamentalism: the most deceptive word next to "funeral" in the English language with "fun" as a prefix. Korean beers suck like the portal that swallows Ash at the end of Evil Dead II, make no mistake; but, as is my nature, and assuredly my downfall, I perpetually try to find beauty in the subject. Point blank, Korean beer is Sam, and I'm MC Lyte, forever cramming to understand him****.

So how is Prime Max? Besides sounding like an Image comic released in the early-nineties, pencilled by Rob Liefeld and inked by Danny Miki, it's the best So-Ko beer I've ever tasted, though that's akin to stating that sex with a panda is preferable to sex with a grizzly bear: both are wrong, though the the former feels a little righter.

Prime Max tastes like every other Korean beer tastes, only with a little extra oomph, namely its aftertaste, which is reminiscent of Flintstone Vitamins and Drakkar Noir Cologne. It's definitely fuller-bodied than its domestic peers, as the label in fact claims; but that body, sorry to say, is to quality beer what Nicole Ritchie is to Claudia Cardinale. Nice try, Prime Max. Better luck next time. I'm sure you'll master a good brew someday; it's just a shame I won't live to see the year 3037.

Rating: 2/5 *_*

PS - I did have fun drinking 1.6 litres of you on an empty stomach, however.

PPS - You're better than the latest Outkast atrocity. I hope that consoles your fragile ego.

PPPS - I can think of no better beverage to wash down dried squid with than you. Even though the dried squid cut the inside of my left cheek and you reliably break my heart, I truly mean that.

* In September, I will donate 500 won to my favorite charity (People for the Ethical Treatment of English, PETE for short) each time I use the word ostensibly. This is retroactive for August, too. By my estimation, PETE is getting a fat check, in my name, to the sum of 2500 won. I hope that helps them build the shelter for battered English they've long dreamt of.

** still 4.5% alcohol content, though.

*** for even more political correctness, stay tuned for tomorrow's Psychedelic Kimochi entry.

**** multiple rounds courtesy of me for anyone who catches that reference.


Moldy Rutabaga said...

Hehe.. great post. You didn't mention Cafri, which is essentially a bottle of Corona with a new label stuck on.

Moldy Rutabaga said...

But come on, post a beer advertisement with a pretty girl on it!:>

JZ said...

This is perhaps the greatest post ever about the plight of us poor alcoholics in Seoul. Thank you.

Sparkles*_* said...

"But come on, post a beer advertisement with a pretty girl on it!:>"

Peep my next Psychedelic Kimochi post. It's a dandy.

Jay Lee said...

Great analysis of Korean beers. Not only beers are watery, but everything else including milk and even toilet bowls.

Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Stop dissing Korean beer. You're just as Orientalistic as all those poor expatriate slobs who dismiss the Dae Han truth about fan death.

And if you don't believe in fan death, then I suggest that you read my recent blog entry on the subject, which proves beyond the penumbra of a shadow of a doubt that fan death is real!

Um ... anyway, so you say that Prime Max is the best domestic beer that Korea has to offer? Okay, I'll break away from my Bud and try some.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

Anonymous said...

And as for that girl, miss c, oh well
I was shocked as hell when I heard, Samuel
When your homeboys told me I almost went wack
That the girl you was addicted to, her name was crack

In time for those rounds? Wait, those would be rounds of ... I'll pass.