Joongang Daily staff writer Cho Jae-eun examines the history of Korean beer and gives his own take on each of the major Korean brews:

Cass (OB Corporation)
In the 1990s, Cass was synonymous with youth and vigor because of its crisp taste. Even compared to other offerings under the Cass label, including Cass Red and Ice Light, the original, with a sharp, clean aftertaste, outdoes all other local beer by having the most bite. It is one of the strongest sellers in Korea.
Alcohol Content: 4.5 percent
Cafri (OB Corporation)
With its sleek design and lemony flavor, Cafri is a fresh, elegant summer beer for ladies. In fact, when it was launched, it was marketed heavily as a beer for women. It is almost like the salad of beers, without the nutty flavor of barley. It has a crystal-like lightness and a zingy, citrus aftertaste.
Alcohol Content: 4.2 percent
Hite (Hite Corporation)
The signature brand of Hite beer, this original has the most balanced taste “• not too fragrant nor too smoot or crispy.
It is known as a standard beer.
It is the plain Jane among domestic beer varieties. Those who prefer the more distinctive taste of dark beer might find this offering to be a bit bland.
Alcohol Content: 4.5 percent

Max (Hite Corporation)
The most recent addition to Hite’s range, this is wildly popular, with its sales going up on an average of 11 to 13 percent monthly. It is the only Korean beer which uses 100 percent barley and has a strong aroma and taste based on this ingredient. A smooth tasting brew, it goes well with food.
Alcohol Content: 4.5 percent
OB Blue (OB Corporation)
This brew is matured and fermented at a low temperature and has a smooth but rich flavor. Although not as pungent as Max, OB Blue is a good choice for those of you looking for a flavorful yet light beer. OB Blue’s aftertaste lingers for a long time but it is not as strong as the aftertaste of Cass Red.
Alcohol Content: 4.4 percent
Cass Ice Light (OB Corporation)
This is Cass’s “light” version, with 50 percent less carbohydrates than the original version. This brew tastes watery and flat, without any layers of taste. However, it is easy on the stomach. Amazingly, even after three full cans, my stomach didn’t feel like it was going to explode.
Alcohol Content: 4.2 percent

Stout (Hite Corporation)
As the only dark beer in Korea, Stout has merit as a quality beer that costs less than imported dark beers such as Guinness or Beck’s Dark. Stout is lighter than Guinness in both alcohol content and taste, but still has a full bouquet of flavor while being smooth in texture.
Alcohol Content: 4.5 percent
Cass Red (OB Corporation)
Cass Red has the highest alcohol content among domestic brands. The company said that this brew was made for those who get too full when drinking regular beer. Cass Red has a crisp texture and a distinct aftertaste, akin to cherries. This brew reminded me of Dr. Pepper.
Alcohol Content: 6.9 percent

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