Cass Fresh – A Beer Journey
It was International Beer Day and I was in the holiday spirit. I scoured the beer section of my local liquor store for something new, something fresh, that I have never seen before. It would have been easy to go for the German or Czech beers as they were famous for their grand quality. Too easy for me, I needed to explore the exotic flavours of foreign beers that never touched my taste buds before.
That’s when I saw it: Cass Fresh, Korea’s number one beer. It had to be it, no question. “Fresh” was right there in the title, how wrong could an advertisement on a beer label be?
Up until now I didn’t even think of Korea as a viable option for beer. It was time to change that. What better beer to show me a new world, than the number one in the whole country?
I grabbed the bottle, eager to find out what type of beer this was. Would this be a pilsner or a lager? Maybe the Koreans preferred hoppy IPA’s instead, or maybe their wheat was so different that it would be a style we here in North America would never be able to replicate. I checked out the label for some more information.
“Beer”, it said. Well, that was reassuring. As long as they get that part right, how bad could it really be? The percentage wasn’t too much help either. With 4.5 % alcohol this could be a lager as well as an ISA. But if I wasn’t going to get much out of the bottle from the label, than I would have to get my answers literally out of the bottle.
I looked at the cashier who was swiping right on his phone every two seconds. Damn kid wasn’t very picky. I kept my eye on him as I pulled the bottle opener attached to my keychain out of my pocket. The jingling noise awoke the cashier who looked up and, when he recognized the beer in my hand, turned as pale as foam.
“No!” He yelled and charged toward me.
“Too late, kid. I have to know.”
I cracked open the Cass. Before the lid could touch the ground, I already had my first gulp. The liquor store and the frightened cashier vanished around me. I was transported into a vastness of black.
“This is new”, I said and listened to the echo.
The world I was in was empty. A void of nothingness, much like the beer. It tried to smell like something, but there was no scent. It tried to taste like something, but there was no flavour. I drowned in the empty blandness.
But wait, what was that? Something in the background; faint but present, just out of reach. I had to draw it closer, had to find its source. Maybe that would be the redemption that Korea needed. Which one was it by the way? North or South? I checked the bottle and all it said was “Korea”. That couldn’t be right. I took out my phone and searched for “Cass Fresh Korea”. The internet connection in the void was awful. It took almost twenty seconds to load the first page that popped up.
It didn’t say anything about the country, but it mentioned Gordon Ramsay, the British chef that cooked his food by yelling at it. Apparently he endorsed Cass Fresh. That must have been it. Ramsay must have used his calm and subtle negotiation tactics to unite North and South Korea. And to celebrate that union, they created this “beer”. World peace had its price.
I took another, less enthusiastic sip. There it was again. Some faint promise of flavour in the background. Was it yeast? That would have been a good ingredient in any other beer, but here it just tasted like the Cass had gone bad. As if it turned vial mere seconds after I opened the bottle. “Fresh”, it said. The label couldn’t even get that right.
That was enough adventure for one International Beer Day. Now I had to find a way out of here. I checked my surroundings, but there was still only, you know, nothing.
Maybe if I finished the beer? I checked my jacket pocket and found my emergency tulip glass. After I blew off a piece of lint and checked the glass to make sure it sparkled, I started pouring the Cass. The beer was practically see-through when it filled my cup.
“Guess, I’ll be here awhile”, I said, hesitating to drink another sip of disappointment.