Though easy-drinking lagers like Tsing Tao still dominate the market, Beijing is home to a burgeoning craft brew scene slowly but surely gaining steam among locals. Here are five of the best places to sip the good stuff.
Arrow Factory Brewing: From hefeweizens to helles, Arrow Factory Brewing pours a wide range of beer styles at its cosy Dongcheng taproom, located near the 14th-century Confucius Temple and part of a cutting-edge arts complex.
Great Leap Brewing: Co-founded by an American brewmaster, Great Leap Brewing kick-started Beijing’s pivot to craft beer when it debuted its somewhat hidden hutong (winding alleyways) taproom in 2010. Great Leap has since spun off two more outlets, and is known for an exceptional selection of beers brewed with local ingredients like Chinese rock candy and Sichuan peppercorns.
Jing-A Brewing Co: A Belgian-style farmhouse ale, a stout aged in bourbon barrels, and a red ale brewed with wasabi root, ginger, and Koji sake rice are among Jing-A Brewing’s flagship small-batch beers. Tasty pub grub and weekend brunch is served at the taproom, as well.
NBeer Pub: Nearly 40 beers flow from taps at the original branch of this fantastic brewpub, co-founded by the head of the Chinese Homebrewer’s Association. Expect a well-curated tap list that includes Nbeer’s own brews, like a blueberry ale, as well as guest beers from around Beijing and China.
Slow Boat Brewery: Like Great Leap, Slow Boat Brewery is another hutong brewery ahead of the curve. Launched in 2011 by two American expats, Slow Boat pours up to 20 beers, many of which are American-style ales, at its wildly popular taproom. The kitchen cranks out burgers and sandwiches during the week and brunch on weekends.