When you think of great beer nations, what comes to mind? Belgium, Germany... North Korea?
Apparently, Pyongyang produces one of the finest beers on the peninsula: the state-brewed Taedonggang. The New York Times says it's a "full-bodied lager a little on the sweet side, with a slightly bitter aftertaste" that is considered "highly respectable" by critics.
So when did North Korea become a bastion of bubbles? According to GlobalPost, the state acquired a British brewery in 2000, taking it apart and shipping it to be reassembled along the Taedong River. The Taedonggang Brewing Company opened for business in 2002, assuaging the fears of the brewery's seller that the factory would be used to produce nuclear weapons.
One might see the irony of an impoverished country managing to produce a high-quality beer. After all, the UN reported back in March that one in four North Korean children suffers from malnutrition and the world body approved an additional $200 million in food aid to Pyongyang just a few weeks ago.
"Famine aside, beer seemed to be quite readily available," said Josh Thomas, an amateur microbrewer who did a beer tasting tour of North Korea and relayed his experiences to Wired UK. "Even when driving around the street you would notice people drinking local beer, indicating that the food shortages don't seem to limit the beer production much in the country."