The Best Beer To Pair With Kimbap For Maximum Flavor

Whether it's the meal prep kimbap you made earlier in the week or the frozen kimbap you snagged from Trader Joe's before they sold out, the Korean seaweed and rice rolls are simply delicious. Served alongside a bowl of japchae and tteokbokki, you'll be looking forward to it all day. The only thing that could make it better is the perfect beer. Beer and Korean food are known to go hand-in-hand — a report from the Korean Alcohol and Liquor Industry even listed beer — or "maekju" as it's known in Korean — higher in popularity than soju, although there are drinks like somaek that combine them both.

Popular Korean beers include Hite, Cass, and Kloud, most of which are on the lighter side. But, when it comes to which beer you should pair with your kimbap, Chef Judy Joo — Celebrity Chef & Owner of Seoul Bird, with locations in London, Las Vegas and now CitiField & Barclays Center — recommends a style relatively newer in the Korean craft beer scene, but long loved and brewed at home: Sour beer. As Joo told Tasting Table, "A refreshing sour beer could work well here, especially if there's some kimchi in the roll to complement the tang." If not, a kimchi sour beer from the Bay Area's Dokkaebier sounds pretty perfect with your kimbap.

Sour beers and kimbap are the perfect match

Sour beers have been gaining popularity domestically for years, and while they might just be starting to take off abroad, they bring the perfect fruity tartness to counter and complement your favorite Korean foods. Veggie kimbap features marinated tofu and nicely julienned cucumbers, carrots, and daikon radish, however the ingredients can vary. The main components include a protein, an egg omelet, and a combination of cooked and pickled vegetables (hence Chef Joo's kimchi recommendation), although you can spot them rolled with everything from glass noodles to beef bulgogi.

Any and all kimbap styles will welcome a sour beer pairing. Although Joo makes a point that the inclusion of the kimchi will complement the sour flavors, so will any pickled vegetable. A unique component that kimchi does usually bring is spice, which a beer can wash down flawlessly. Cold, fruit-forward, and just slightly tart, sour beers bring the ideal counterbalance to the spicy kimchi. Still, a sour beer will be just as good without the kimchi in your kimbap because pickled radish, burdock root, or carrots will all provide that same tang.

Aside from the tartness in sour beers is the characteristic fruitiness. From apple to pear and pineapple to orange, there's no going wrong. Any fruit flavor will bring a complementary sweetness which, served chilled, will make the perfect refreshment between bites of savory kimbap.