Legend has it that the best pint of Guinness stout is poured at the public house nearest to the Guinness brewery gates and that the closer the location of the drinker to this sacred spot, the better their brew tastes. Whether Tsingtao or Yanjing beers possess the same quality is unclear.
Pilsners, stouts, weiss beers and pale ales: the types of beers are myriad and there really is a world of depth in beers that often go unappreciated in comparison to fine wines and whiskies. What’s more, many think that they have to check-in their love of fine beers at airport security before they depart for China, as they will no doubt get very little chance to sample lovingly crafted ales in Beijing.
If you are a beer acolyte and a strong believer in drinking at the source of your favourite tipple, then you will most likely be interested in Beijing’s microbrews. Beijing expat residents find solace in a number of Beijing bars and restaurants that serve home brewed beer. Here are some of the most popular and authentic ones.
1) Okhotsk Beer北京欧可啤酒
Okhotsk Beer is a German microbrewery with Japanese style that has a variety of light and dark beers likely to tickle the fancy of a great many hop based drinking fans. A refined atmosphere and range of bar food make it a great place to enjoy a glass of effervescent amber nectar with friends if you are in the northeast third ring road area. It is also popular with the many expat residents of Phoenix City, the complex in which it is located.
Okhotsk BeerView In Map
Add: 7 Shangye Jie, Phoenix City, 5 Shuguang Xili, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel：010 5866 8552
Opening Hours: 11:30-00:30
Getting There: closest subway station is Sanyuanqiao station on Line 10
Great Leap’s brews. Photo: cityweekend.com.cn
2) Great Leap Brewing
Great Leap Brewing may not have the finesse of some of the other locations offering microbrews; however, what they do have is great beer. Great Leap not only has local beer in spades but plenty of exotic beers in equal measures – pumpkin ale or chocolate stout, for example. Not only does Great Leap have a wide selection of beers, even more encouragingly, they have a Thursday night special, letting punters grab a tall cool one of whatever they please for just 25 RMB. With a variety of beer on rotation and nestled in a quiet hutong with a large outdoor space, Beijing’s beer heads in-the-know love Great Leap Brewing.
Great Leap BrewingView In Map
Add: 6 Doujiao Hutong (off Di'anmenwai Dajie), Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 187 1007 7331
Opening Hours: Thurs-Sat, 17:00-00:00
3) Saddle Cantina
There is little that can be said about the Saddle Cantina that has not been said before. With a great location in the little Mediterranean style oasis that is Sanlitun’s Nali Patio, decent Mexican food and a pleasant fiesta atmosphere, it really requires very little introduction. One thing that the restaurant gains less recognition for, though, is its microbrewery. The Saddle takes extra special care of their beers and even offer beer on ‘ice tap’, meaning their beers are served perfectly at sub-zero temperatures.
Saddle CantinaView In Map
Add: Nali Patio, 81 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 5208 6005
4) Drei Kronen 1308 Brauhaus
Drei Kronen 1308 Brauhaus is spot on in their creation of a German style beer for Beijing. The venue’s layout is centered around its magnificent brewery and the place has a distinctly warm Bavarian feel with wait staff even dressed in traditional, if not slightly incongruous to Beijing, German lederhosen. The venue has three signature beers and is definitely a favourite for lovers of German style beers in the Gongti area. The Brauhaus boasts an extra long 5-7pm happy hour, making it a great place to start before a night of alcohol fueled fun on the town.
Drei Kronen 1308 BrauhausView In Map
Add: 1/F, Bldg 5, China View, Gongti Donglu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6503 5555
Opening Hours: 11:00-02:00
5) Paulaner Brauhaus
Paulaner Brauhaus is one of Beijing’s more up-market German microbrewery restaurants. The beer on offer in the Paulaner Brauhuas is good quality and is enjoyed by many regulars with a basket of salty pretzels to sharpen the thirst. Although Paulaner Brauhaus is definitely not as easy on the pocket as some of its competitors and does not have the same range of choices, it is considered by many to be a great, classy German style haunt. Most evenings, the Paulaner features a ‘characteristically’ German-Filipino band, bringing great entertainment for those on a mission to drain as many large jugs of beer as possible before home time.
Paulaner BrauhuasView In Map
Add: Kempinski Hotel, 50 Liangmaqiao Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6465 3388 ext 5732
Opening Hours: 11:00-01:00
Getting There: Line 10 to Liangmaqiao station, Exit C.
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