Restaurant Review: DamJu Brewery (담주브로이)

To learn that bamboo beers exists in this world and I didn’t know about it was a bit heartbreaking.  To learn said beer is being made locally and I’ve cycled within a 100 meters of the brewery at least a dozen times was absolutely soul crushing. What other bamboo themed treasures am I missing out on?

I ended up here with some of Damyang’s hardest working civil servants in order to celebrate both the end of the week and the end of our six-month long study group.  The “bamboo beer brewery” was casually mentioned as a place to host our celebration.  Mind blown.

The beer is made with actual bamboo leaves (or so says the owner), but let’s face it, it tastes nothing like bamboo.  The novelty factor is off the charts though so I was instantly sold on the concept.  You have your choice between a Weizen and a Dunkel.  I was partial to the Dunkel, but can definitely see myself enjoying a few thousand Weizens on the rooftop patio (!!!) next summer.

UPDATE:  I did in fact come back in the warmer months…the beer garden is indeed amazing!

Paragliders over the rice paddies

The food is the typical anju-ish stuff you would expect (don-katsu, salad bar, fried chicken, etc) except for two surprises: bamboo shoot sausage and bamboo shoot ddeok-galbi.  I’ve raved about the sausages before, not realizing where they came from.  The ddeok-galbi is so-so and the fried chicken was blasphemous.  I wouldn’t wander too far from the sausages and the don-katsu, by far the best two things on the menu.

As we were finishing up our meal I asked the owner if they offered take-out beers, like any good brewery does, and sure enough they do!  10,000won per bottle (1000ml).  They also sell the bamboo sausages and ddeok-galbi.

The biggest drawback to this place is the location.  It’s not really near anything notable and is just outside “downtown” Damyang.  You’ll certainly need to call a driver or get a taxi after your visit and it’s not cheap to get anyway from here.  Your best bet is to wait until spring, hop on your bike, and enjoy the countryside views to and from the brewery.

The owner’s wife is an absolute angel and deserves special recognition.  Turns out she is a childhood friend of the chairman of our village and immediately called him once she found out where we lived.  This small coincidence made us instant BFFs and translated into copious amounts of “service”!  Free sausages and booze for everyone.  She even sat down with us and had a couple of beers at the end of the night.  Pretty awesome.

UPDATE:  So we’ve been back a few times since this orginal post and the owners have been very generous every time.  Our last visit they even gave us a tour of the brewery.  It’s impressive for the middle of Damyang…lots of expensive imported German brewing equipment!

Don’t like beer?  Plenty of other restaurant suggestions can be found here.