Busan Bites: Abnormal Taphouse and Cantina Brings San Diego Craft Beer and More to Haeundae Beach


It’s not abnormal for people to head out to Haeundae during beach season. The folks behind Abnormal Taphouse and Cantina hope that trend continues with their official grand opening celebration, starting at 4 p.m. Friday and running through the weekend at their Pale de Cz location, minutes from the sand.

Grand Opening specials include discounts on Abnormal Beer Company beers and the release of their full food menu, which includes nachos and several varieties of tacos.

For Andrew Frank, co-owner of Abnormal Taphouse and owner of Tilt Bar & Grill in Pohang, the “Abnormal” branding on this business venture was a natural evolution in his relationship with the young brewery that began when he sought craft beer that could be brought directly to Korea at a better price than what he was being quoted by importers.  

“In Pohang, at that time, craft beer was just emerging,” he says when he sought to bring Abnormal to Tilt. “Prices were out of control for imports.”

Frank, a native of Wisconsin who has lived in Korea 10 years, began importing from an east coast brewery. However, those beers needed to travel five weeks to reach The Land of Morning Calm, a long time to travel for a product where success is hinged on freshness. By contrast, beers from the west coast would only take two weeks.

He got in touch with Abnormal Beer Company through a friend and quickly set to building a relationship. “I flew down there and asked, ‘hey what do you think about shipping to Korea?’ and they were all on board,” Frank says.

That partnership has prospered, ultimately heading south to Busan and the new taphouse, which was created on the site of a former Bongu Beer location.

The “cantina” part of the taphouse’s name will take on additional meaning when later this summer Abnormal introduces on-site canning of their beers for people to enjoy on the beach.

Besides the beer—which includes a pair of IPAs, the 5PM Session IPA and the Boss Pour IPA, as well as the Mostra Mocha Stout and O’Brien’s English Pale Ale—everyone involved knew having good food to pair alongside all those suds was critical.

“It’s really hard to get good tacos around here,” says co-owner Sara Park. “We wanted to not only offer great craft beer near the beach, but great food, as well.”

To that end, the taphouse has partnered with The Cork & Craft, Abnormal Beer Company’s sister restaurant in their San Diego, CA, home, to create a menu of favorites like tacos with shredded pork, fried fish and steak, as well as loaded nachos. Abnormal’s beers will not only pair well with the food, they will be part of their creation, as several varieties are being used to enhance the flavor of things like the fish batter and the braised pork. All those will be available for the grand opening weekend.

Besides Abnormal beers, others on tap this weekend will include popular selections from Galmegi Brewing Company, Magner’s, a monster 13 percent alcohol-by-volume imperial stout from Prarie Artisan of Oklahoma, and two beers from The Table, an up-and-coming craft brewer out of Ilsan.

Looking ahead, the “cantina” part of the taphouse’s name will take on additional meaning when later this summer Abnormal introduces on-site canning of their beers for people to enjoy on the beach, at home, and wherever else cans can be consumed responsibly.

Local artists are expected to be commissioned to help provide special edition eye-catching art for the cans, some of which will be displayed on Abnormal’s wall in the future.

Frank says he is excited to welcome everyone to Abnormal Taphouse and Cantina, and hopes this is the start of an abnormally successful relationship.

“The location is absolutely fantastic. You can literally walk from our store and be on the beach in minutes,” he says. “Check out the food, check out the beers.”


Abnormal Taphouse and Cantina is located on the first floor of Pale de Cz on Haeundae Beach on the left side of the complex if you’re facing the beach –right next to the enormous skyscraper construction.

For more information about their grand opening weekend, visit them on Facebook.

Click to enlarge

Photos by Sara Park

John Dunphyhttp://jpdunphy.wordpress.com/
John Dunphy is a writer and editor based in Busan. He has previously been an English teacher in Busan and nearby Gimhae. Before coming to Korea, he was a reporter and editor at several newspapers and websites in his native New Jersey, USA. Read more of his work at jpdunphy.wordpress.com.

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