A few years ago when I first arrived in South Korea you could not find cider (the alcoholic beverage) anywhere and for someone who does not drink beer this was very disappointing. About six or seven years ago in New Zealand cider underwent something of a renaissance and I for one was very grateful. I have mentioned before what a picky eater I am and this is seen through in my drinks as well. It is nice to have something that you can drink when others are drinking beer e.g. at BBQs or for an after work drink. I like spirits and cocktails but for the casual drink they don't really work as well. Cider is a great alternative in this instance.
While I like cider I don't like all cider, I find many of them too dry. However through trial and error and many a tasting of my friends beverages I finally found one that I liked and could drink more than a few sips of. This delicious drink is of course Monteith's Crushed Apple Cider, it is quite a sweet tasting one and has a fresh crisp taste which I really enjoy. The other one that is OK if I can't get Monteith's is from Mac's Brewery and is 'Isaac's Cider' but I don't like that one as much and I prefer the Berry one in their range which I discovered when I was home this time last year. Monteith's also has a 'Crushed Pear' flavor which I did not like as much being that I am not a fan of pears but my friends really liked it and since I have been in Korea they have also come out with a berry 'Crushed Summer Berries Cider' one as well but I have yet to try this.
Monteith's Brewing Company is a New Zealand company that originally started with beer and has gradually expanded it's product line over the years to include many different types of beers and ciders. The brewing company in some form or another has been around for about 150 years on the West Coast of New Zealand. The brewery today is located in Greymouth and the label is currently owned by DB Breweries - the name Monteith's came about in 1990 named for one of the original founders.
Now, I have seen Monteith's beer in Home Plus (owned by UK Supermarket chain Tesco's) here in Korea and at the end of last year I found the Apple Cider and the Berry Cider in the Itaewon foreign store 'High Street Market' but it was a bit pricey. Recently I have been making a point to go down the beer isle in the supermarket just to check what is there and a few months ago I noticed that there were a lot of ciders on offer and also the range of beer has increased; I noticed the 'NZ Pure' beer is there. So I've been checking regularly to see what is available and tonight to my surprise and delight I found Monteith's Cider is now in stock here too. All three options, Apple, Pear and Berries are available and I also noticed Bulmers which was new too, I know lots of people love that brand but it was one I found to dry for my tastes.
Of course my Homeplus is in Ilsan but I am sure that a lot of them will stock it as it is a chain, so if you enjoy cider go and check it out. It's not a bad price at 4,100 won. Now just to get my local pubs to stock it and I will be right.
Note: In Korea 'cider' is the word for a 'Sprite' like soda drink, it's clear and carbonated and has a lemon/lime flavor. In Korean it is 사이다 (pronounced si-ee-da) so if you see this on a menu it will mean the soda. I actually really like it, I think it's better than Sprite. The main brand is Chilsung Cider and is of course made by Lotte (what don't they make). Also another tidbit - in New Zealand we call this kind of lemon soda 'Lemonade' which is really confusing for others.
If you are looking for further information on cider and a review of some of the brands available in Korea go to this blog - A Fat Girl's Guide to Eating in Korea. She has a great article here.