A good reason to go to Songdo, Korea: Beer, pizza at the CAVE
Another month, another craft beer shop opens in Korea. However, CAVE in Songdo, Incheon stands out from the masses with its simplicity and quality.
The new bar offers up a short but varied list of craft beers that CAVE’s in-house brewer crafts himself in Ansan. On any given night, CAVE has a pale ale, hefeweizen, IPA, and porter on tap (6,000 to 7,000 won).
Their pilsner is light, crisp, and perfectly fine. The pale ale is slightly tart and even piquant, if one can use that word in a straight context. The pale ale’s bitterness is contrasted by complementary fruit and citrus flavors that don’t overwhelm the drinker. The hefeweizen is full yet feathery with lovely notes of banana and vanilla (although honestly, like a feather, a little too light). A good hefeweizen should be light and sweet but can still be full-flavored; regrettably, this one falls a little short. Lastly, their IPA doesn’t differentiate itself from many of its peers here in Korea; not bad, just unoriginal and thus uninteresting.
Best for last, right? The porter is the real reason to come to CAVE. The head alone has more flavor than half the porters in the domestic craft scene. This one is top notch and everything you want in a porter. Here, there’s no mocha, fake vanilla or chocolate used to mask a substandard brewing. Instead, it’s straight aged malt, lightly carbonated with deep notes of coffee and a gentle note of vanilla. It’s a perfect beer for any time but goes down especially well in the cold months.
The food available is satiating if a bit narrow range in choice. Your options are: pizza and the limited topping choices of pepperoni, salami, or cheese. These pies (13,000 -15,000 won) easily serve two people and are perfectly baked and use quality cheese. While satisfying and probably the best pizza in Incheon, I would hesitate to draw comparisons to some of the better pizza spots in Seoul.
CAVE’s atmosphere puts you inside a sort of destroyed bomb shelter, The decor lives up to the bar’s name. The artificially broken and worn interior is definitely at odds with the location. The bar is situated on the ground floor of a massive luxury apartment building adjacent to Central Park, one of the country’s wealthiest areas. The staff help make up for any discomfort with their attentiveness, and friendly attitude. When the brewer is in, you can expect top notch beer guidance.
Overall, CAVE is worth a visit out to Songdo. Keep warm with a porter and pizza. Or wait till it warms up, take both to go, and find a spot in Central Park for a picnic.
Subway: Incheon 1 Line, Univ. of Incheon Station, Exit 4. Walk straight and cross the intersection at the corner of Central Park. It’s in Songdo Central Park Prugio Apartment 103, around the back-side from Central Park.