I recently received a message from my friend, Emily, who is living in Indonesia, about a Volcono-beering excursion she recently had. While waiting for her to send me the adventure (she’s obviously been busy)
I decided to take matters into my own hands. I jetted down to Jeju Island, an island off the south coast of South Korea, which is known for its beaches, sex museums, and namely Hallasan! Hallasan is the highest peak in South Korea. It’s a volcano. It hasn’t erupted since the year 1007. With a long weekend ahead of me, it was a no-brainer to get down to Jeju and get up this mountain!
Not only was I pumped to do some hiking, but I also found a microbrewery on the island. I thought to myself “finally a craft beer to hike with in Korea!”. However, when I went to the brewery the night before the hike I discovered that they do not bottle their beer. Bummer. That said, I did try their boris and their stout while I had dinner.
The stout was the better of the two. Unfortunately they didn’t have the pale on tap, I was pumped to taste a pale ale. If you’re ever in Jeju, head to Modern Time Brewery and let me know how it is!!
Unlike the brew, the hike did not disappoint. I began before sunrise, around 6am, in hopes to catch a cool sunrise on the 2.5 hour journey to the summit.
The entire journey was a trek through tons of snow (awesome) and the beginning was completely pitch black, which made for a fun start!
About a quarter of the way up, I finally got some rays of light as the sun started to crest. So pretty I almost stopped for a beer right then.
With the sun lighting the way, I decided it was time to kick it up a notch, running up any decent pitches and only stopping when something really caught my eye. One example being some deer tracks I happened upon. Normally this wouldn’t be that exciting, but evidence of wildlife in Korea is a pretty big deal!
One last shot of an awesome rock face before the summit and that beer was all mine…
At the top, I cracked open an OB Lager (another Korean convenience store delight…) and soaked up some rays with a couple other Koreans that made the sunrise journey as well!
After a couple beers, it was time to venture down the other side of the volcano. Wouldn’t you know, look who I ran into half way down…!
Me: Hey there Snowman, what are you doing in Jeju?
Snowman: Just taking it in, sucking back a few, you know.
Me: Right on. Well…see you later!
I stopped midway down for some kimbap (kind of like Korean sushi) and another brew before making the final decent.
I pretty much slid/skied with my boots the rest of the way down, which was super fun. I high-tailed it back to town for some hot soup and a night at a Korean jjimjilbang (sauna-bath-house) which was a great ending to one of the best outdoor adventures I’ve had in Korea thus far. I never expected a volcano-beering to be in the snow, but then again Korea constantly continues to surprise me!