Finding Craft Beer in Shanghai
We know our updates have been quite infrequent over the last six months or so, but there are (some) valid excuses!
The most time-consuming venture for some of us has been the development of Shanghai Beer Week’s website. Mike, the brewer at Boxing Cat Brewery, asked us to design a website for this month’s first annual Shanghai Beer Week. Several bars, restaurants and organizations will be taking part in this inaugural event.
Two, count ‘em, two homebrew booths will be represented at the Sinan Mansions Beer Festival which finishes off SHBW. Jackie of Jackie’s Beernest and Leaderstyles Home Brew will be on hand to make homebrewing known to the millions of Shanghai.
We have plans to re-launch the site very soon so that we can once again focus on creating a home brewing community in Shanghai.
So the first stop on our Tour de Homebrew in Shanghai is at the hardware store.
Like so many places in the world, entire neighborhoods are often devoted to the sale certain types of products. Shanghai is no different. The best place to start collecting homebrewing equipment is in the hardware and laboratory supply area in the Huangpu District of Puxi.
Most of the area north of East Nanjing Road (南京东路） to the Suzhou Creek （苏州南路） and west of Henan Road （河南中路）to Xizang Road （西藏路）is an ideal place to buy hardare supplies. There are several hardware malls as well as small shops.
It’s a wide swath of land, we know, but the intersection of Shanxi Nan Lu and Beijing Dong Lu （山西南路／北京东路), which is only a 5-minute walk from the East Nanjing Road Line 2/10 subway station. It’s a great place to start looking a few basic brewing supplies.
We were able to find a hydrometer at a random hardware store for under 20RMB. It hasn’t been tested in the field, but the man at the counter appeared to have several in stock.
A map of the area can be found after the jump:
Being a fan of Rudy Wimmer and his Belgian beer bar Kaiba, I was excited to hear that there would be another addition to the family with the Kaiba Tap House, located in Taikong Terrace near Tianzifang.
Kaiba has always been the place to find something new to try while in Shanghai with its great assortment of bottled Belgian beers. The newest location is no exception, with a great list of tripels, lambics, and other greats from breweries like Delirium and Chimay.
In addition to the bottle collection, the Tap House has the most beers on tap of all its locations. Three of those craft beers on draft are my favorites available in Shanghai: Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Rogue Chocolate Stout, and Brew Dog’s 5AM Saint. While none of these beers are Belgian in origin, they are some of the best beers on tap in Shanghai.
Along with the beer selection, Kaiba’s food has been upgraded as well. The large menu of entrees and finger foods range from an assorted Greek plate to varying varieties of grilled cheese sandwiches. Only having time to try a few of the items, I would highly recommend the apple and bacon grilled cheese.
Kaiba Tap House is a great example of the growing beer and food culture of China. Wimmer has again has created a wonderful space for craft brew lovers to gather and enjoy the finest brews.
Another week, another new bar opens in Shanghai. This time it’s an 8-bit inspired lounge (complete with a single indie gaming cabinet) called Arcade.
Occupying the former home of Tara 57, Arcade is located near Yongfu Lu and Fuxing Xi Lu in the French Concession, only a stone’s throw away from the Boxing Cat Brewery.
While the bar is mostly oriented towards pricey cocktails, cool tunez and a handful of macrolager mainstays, they do manage to have Portland-based Rogue Brewery’s Dead Guy Ale on draft. Dead Guy has been available in China for quite some time in bottle form, but it has only recently been making its rounds as a fresh pour.
At 70RMB, Arcade’s pint takes a bit more out of your wallet than other imported drafts found around town. However, it’s still cheaper than the majority of the cocktails on its menu.
Not all of us at Homebrew Shanghai visited Arcade at the same time. Some report that the intense quantity of cigarette smoke in such a tiny bar made it near impossible to enjoy a drink while others managed to stumble in on a quiet (somewhat smoke-free) night.
The ink jet printed drink list gives us the impression Arcade is still working out the kinks. SmartShanghai has a few photos for those wanting to scope out the digitized decor.
Normally we here at HBS strive to focus on savoring home brewed and craft beer, but every once in a while we also like to promote the absurd binge drinking of those same wonderful beers. For those of you that have not heard, The Boxing Cat Brewery has a drinking challenge aptly named “The Twelve Round Challenge”. Each contestant, read victim, must drink twelve pub pints of beer in under two hours. The rules are slightly altered for the female gender, but are still as daunting, twelve “generous” half pints again in two hours or less. This Saturday was the largest group of alcoholics yet, seven brave souls sat down at 4pm Saturday, said good bye to their dignity and sobriety and began an epic quest towards drunken fame.
Each contestant seemed to have their own theories on how to win, some brought beer blenders, hoping to stave off carbonation, others had chants or musical inspiration, the most interesting of all was, one contestant’s thought that somehow taking off an article of clothing with every beer would bring him closer to his prize.
I am going to spare you the complete play by play, but I will do a quick rundown of how the afternoon’s events transpired. Each contestant came out of the gate strong, confident in their abilities to drink copious amounts of delicious craft beer. In the first 30 minute many contestants were well on their way with multiple beers in their stomachs. Most of us can handle three beers, but not many of us have drank three beers in 30 minutes and still had nine more to drink. With that in mind they kept on pounding. Large gulps of Boxing Cat Helles streaming down their throats, counting the minutes and trying to fend off, not only the feelings of fullness, but the ever present feeling drunkenness creeping up on them.
As the hour mark quickly approached and sobriety quickly exited the building the tables had turned. The contestants no longer had the upper hand, the glorious powers of craft brew was winning out. As the 8 beer threshold approached for one contestant it proved too much for his body to hold and thus made its second appearance to the crowd in a stream of frothy foam and his pre-game breakfast, now only 6 remained. At this point the girls were pulling ahead keeping strong and focused on the prize, a tee shirt that now, after an hour of drinking did not seem an appropriate reward for the bodily abuse. The hour and 8 beer mark proved to be a tipping point. It weeded out the weak taking with it two more victims.
As the vomit began to pile up in the bathrooms the competition became fierce. Two men, two women, and only three pairs of pants remained intact. With twenty minutes left one of the girls pulled ahead of the pack becoming the first to finish. Roars came from the crowd as she gulped down those last painful drops of beer. Three still had to tackle their remaining beers. The glasses seemed bigger now, as if they kept refilling themselves, each sip was more painful than the last. No matter how hard the beer fought against them they did not give up. In the end another girl danced in victory taking her last beer down while perched atop a table. One of the men, in only his boxers and undershirt, choked down his twelfth beer only to have it reappear from his stomach with only 5 seconds left to go. Last, was the one man that fully conquered his goal, with drool on his face he ushered in his win. The challenge was over, craft beer had taken many victims and the ones it couldn’t claim would pay dearly for their battle.
For a full gallery of our photo coverage of the event check out our Facebook fan page here.