Wednesday, 22.11.2017

Something’s Brewin’ A Guide to Hong Kong’s Craft Beer

[13/09/17] 

 (Note: This article originally appeared on Localiiz.com)

Are you finding yourself staggering about Lan Kwai Fong on a Friday night, clinging on to lukewarm pint of Carlsberg that skinned you for $75? Are you asking yourself why? Isn’t there more to life? Well, the answer is yes my friends. If we’d had this discussion a decade ago I would say you’re pretty much out of luck, drink your medicine, and stop moaning, but the tides have turned – ferociously – and we take beer very seriously in Hong Kong now. And it’s glorious.

How did this happen you ask? Well, there are many factors, big and small, but surely the biggest happened in 2006 with the elimination of taxes on low alcohol beverages – a measure that has been talked about much more in the context of wine. This created an opening for the import of craft beer, which just wasn’t possible with the bloated cost of duty. This flooded the city with some much needed variety in beer, whetting our collective palette, and from this the foundations were laid.

Now we have a borderline silly amount of bars that specialise in beer or at least, take care to have a selection of craft beers available. We brew our own, quite successfully as well, we have beer festivals, and we even have our own Craft Beer Association – with a logo and everything. Such progress deserves to be acknowledged and recorded for posterity. So here it is: Hong Kong’s craft beer breweries, bars, and the bonanzas. If we’ve forgotten something, which is extremely likely, let us know, and we’ll add it in. See you down the pub!

 

Local Breweries

 beer11

 Black Kite Brewery

Founded by brothers David and Daniel Gallie, and named after the familiar bird that is an iconic fixture of Hong Kong’s sky’s, Black Kite Brewery creates beers that are easy to drink, but are still packed with flavour. As it stands they have six core beers on the go and an ever-changing special. They don’t do official tours or tastings as such, but are very receptive and ingratiating to anyone looking to check their wares, so hit them up This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 The brewery: Black Kite Brewery, Derrick Industrial Building, 49 Wong Chuk Hang Rd, Wong Chuk Hang

The beers: Golden Ale (4.6%ABV) – biscuity malt, earthy and citrusy hops; Amber Ale (5.4%ABV) – fruits and spices complimenting a caramel-tinged malt; Pale Ale(5.2%ABV) – slightly bitter, aromas of citrus and passion fruit; IPA (5.7%ABV) – citrusy, fruity and slightly floral; Wheat (5.0%ABV) – cloudy, hints of banana
Click here to find out where to buy the beers


 

 beer9

Fat Rooster

On the scene since 2014, Fat Rooster is gaining a foothold with its tasty, artisanal, and small-batches of unpasteurised ales and lagers. These guys like to keep it small and interchangeable with just two year-round “headliners”, supplemented with a decent variety of oft-changing specials and seasonals.

The brewery: Fat Rooster Brewing Co., Tak On Street, Wong Chuk Hang

The beers: 
Hong Kong IPA (4.5 – 5%ABV) – full hop bitterness, citrusy, flowery aroma and flavour; Red Ale (4 – 4.5%ABV) – hoppy aroma, earthy, spicy and herbal notes
Click here to find out where to buy the beers


 

beer1

 Moonzen Brewery

Claiming to brew the “purest & tastiest all-grain beer in Hong Kong”, Moonzen Brewery don’t mince their words when it comes to their product – one that they are clearly very proud of. And with good reason. Around since 2014, Moonzen puts an emphasis on celebrating Chinese culture and craftsmanship in their beer and it shows, not just in their beautifully ornate label designs, but in the kinds of flavours they produce. Want to see how they do it? Hit them up on their Facebook page and book a spot on one of their Friday evening tours and tastings.

 The brewery: Moonzen Brewery, Kwun Tong (near MTR exit B)

The beers: Moonzen Jade Emperor IPA (7%ABV) – foundation of maltiness with citrus and floral hits; Moonzen Monkey King Amber Ale (5% ABV) – complex notes of caramel and peach; Moonzen Moon Goddess Chocolate Stout (5%ABV) – creamy and smooth with strong chocolate and vanilla flavours; Moonzen Thunder God Pale Ale (5% ABV) – fresh and light with tropical, citrus and hoppy flavours; Moonzen Yama Sichuan Porter (8%ABV) – distinctive flavours of malt, smoked caramel, and Sichuan peppers
Click here to find out where to buy the beers
 


 

 beer10

 Yardley Brothers Brewery

Founded by brothers Duncan and Luke Yardley, the Lamma Island-based brewery have built a fairy rabid following on Lamma Island, and despite starting out small and intimate at first, have moved onwards and upwards by opening a brewery in Kwai Hing. Here they offer tours and tastings if you give them a shout at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. They always throw amazing events with beer, live music – and more beer. Top-quality beer, paired with some loud, live music? A match made in heaven.

 The brewery: Unit 10, Wah Tat Industrial Centre, Block C, 8 Wah Sing St, Kwai Chung

The beers: Lamma Island Pale Ale (5%ABV) – floral, citrus, hoppy, caramel, and malty in one glorious orgy of flavour; Quit Your Job (6%ABV) – Hazy and light with a strong head, slightly bitter to taste with a refreshing finish; Single Batch Double IPA(7.5%ABV) – Biscuity, malty, floral aroma with similar tasting notes; Hong Kong Bastard Imperial IPA (7.2%ABV) – Aroma of hops, grapefruit and light maltiness
Click here to find out where to buy the beers


 

beer2 

Gweilo Beer

A beer founded with an aim to create something fun, fresh, and unique. The team at Gweilo started by stripping the brewing process back to its bare-bones, benchmarking over 150 beers before settling on the formula that is now sweeping the city. It’s a philosophy that they’ve stringently stuck to, unlike many other breweries which arguably get ahead of themselves and start going a bit mad with the range of brews they produce after finding some initial success. Gweilo have kept things lean and mean, serving up three tentpole beers, all of which are really quite delicious.

The brewery: Wah Shing Centre, 5 Fung Yip Street, Chai Wan

The beers: 
Pale Ale (4.5 %ABV) – light with citrusy aromas and Asian fruits; IPA(4.8%ABV) – fresh and vibrant, tropical hops flavour with a crisp finish
Click here to find out where to buy the beers


 

 beer4

 Kowloon Bay Brewery

Beer lovers Mike Bardill and Ging Van, like many of the brewers on our list, were somewhat disillusioned with the lack of craft beer in Hong Kong and set out to change that. Collective epiphanies are a big theme throughout this article – the big takeaway is, when you step back, you can see the snowball effect taking place – and it’s a beautiful thing. Anyway, back to these guys. Kowloon Bay Brewery has a pretty tight arrangement – Bardill does the brewing and Van does the selling. It’s proven to be an effective way of working and the ambition of the brewery is clear with a whopping 14 beers available (five core, nine specials). Definitely more hits than misses, and if they keep producing brews at this rate, you might see them at every bar in the city before too long.

The brewery: Unit 12, Hi-tech Industrial Centre, 10/F, Block B, 491-501 Castle Peak Rd, Chai Wan Kok

The beers: 
Core: Pale Ale (5%ABV) – made using cascade hops to give a floral, grapefruit character; Weizen (4.8%ABV) – wheat beer with subtle spice banana flavours accentuated with vanilla; American Amber Ale (5.5%ABV) – malt base with an initial sweetness that gives way to caramel flavours; Nut Brown Ale (5.8%ABV) – toffee, nut and caramel notes, with a subtle addition of hazelnut; American IPA(7.4%ABV) – Intensely hoppy aroma with a citrusy, floral and fruity character. Special: Bohemian Pilsner (4.8%ABV) – straw-coloured beer that uses Saaz hops to provide a soft, hoppy profile; Steam Beer (5.4%ABV) – brewed with ale yeast and fermented at ale temperatures (18C – 20C); English IPA (5%ABV) – Hoppier and stronger than English pale ale with a grassy aroma; English ESB(4.9%ABV) – An IPA iterative that has less hop character and more pronounced malt flavours than its American cousins; Imperial Stout (8%ABV) – A Russian-inspired version of Guinness. Strong, with coffee and chocolate notes; Saison (6.4%ABV) – Uses a unique kind of yeast to give a dry, sour flavour; Strong Red Belgian Ale(8%ABV) – sweet, malty flavours. Could be used as a replacement for dessert wine; Pumpkin Ale (5%ABV) – malty ale with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and allspice in the mix
Click here to find out where to buy the beers


 

beer3

 Lion Rock Brewery

Creating recipes that pay homage to Hong Kongers’ industrious nature, perseverance, and spirit of solidarity, Lion Rock Brewery put out an impressive selection of 10 brews, each honing in a particular characteristic of the SAR. These beers are popping up all over the city at a rapid pace, as well as being available to buy through their website in bottled, small, and large keg varieties, so these guys are working hard to push their craft. If you fancy a nosey around their operation, shoot them an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">

The brewery: Unit 2, 14/F, Man Shing Industrial Building, 307-311 Castle Peak Road, Kwai Chung

The beers: Lion Rock Signature (pale ale, 5.2%ABV) – Complex fruity flavours with peach and gooseberries; Grandmaestro (IPA, 6.4%ABV) – balance of bitter and hoppy, with aromas of passionfruit, peach, gooseberries, citrus fruits, blackcurrant, and pine; Oriental Pearl (oatmeal stout, 5.9%ABV) – emphasises malty sweetness with liquorice, chocolate and coffee aromas; Wheat Lover (weizen, 5.9%ABV) – Subtle aromas of banana and vanilla with a uniquely malty flavour; Nineteen Ninety-Seven(IPA, 6%ABV) – bitter and spicy to taste with aromas of tangerine and grapefruit as well as grassy and magnolia floral tones; Icy Lotus (white IPA, 5.4%ABV) – fragrant blend of blueberry, orange peel, passion fruit, and lychee; Momento (saison, 4.3%ABV) – light body and dry finish flavoured with citrus, papaya, apple, and pepper; Differentation (IPL, 4.2%ABV) – aromas of passion fruit, geranium, grapefruit, and tangerine with a bitter initial taste giving way to sweetness; Metamoric (winter ale, 6.3%ABV) – slight citrus flavours with caramel sweetness; Expendables (imperial IPA, 8.1%) – fruity and citrus flavours complemented by a slightly spicy flavour with hints of herbs
Click here to find out where to buy the beers


 

beer6

 Mak’s Brewery

Beer that is made by Hong Kongers, for Hong Kongers. Mak’s Brewery comprises of three young locals who wish to challenge the notion that “all good beer is made by foreigners” and that a product made with local knowledge, by locals, can compete with the very best out there. From what we’ve tried, this humble brewery is well on its way to competing with the hypothetical “big boys”.

The brewery: Tak Fung Industrial Centre, 168 Texaco Rd, Yi Pei Chun

The beers: Mak’s Longan Pale Ale (5.5%ABV) – complex flavour with hints of wolf berries and preserved fruit; Mak’s Mint Beer (5.3%ABV) – A pale ale base with added flavours of dried mint leaves and wild winter honey; Mak’s Wheat Ale (5.5%ABV) – Multi-layered flavours of wheat and citrus with a spicy finish; Mak’s Yim Tin Beer(4.7%ABV) – Very fruity with delicate notes of malt and tangerine
Click here to find out where to buy the beers


 

beer5

 Young Master Ales

One of Hong Kong’s first ever microbreweries, Rohit Dugar launched Young Master Ales with a view to creating beers drawing on Hong Kong’s heritage; unique to our city and not another arbitrary, culturally agnostic product. Their beautiful Ap Lei Chau brewery, with its rustic tasting room boasting a view over the sea, is a joy to sample a beer in, and a pleasure we strongly suggest you partake in when the brewery opens its doors to the public on Saturdays.

The brewery: G/F, Sungib Industrial Centre, 53 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Ap Lei Chau

The beers: 
Captain’s Bar Beer (4.7%ABV) – German malt and European-style hops give this beer its crisp, clean, and refreshing finish; The Young Master Classic(5%ABV) – fruity, floral, and zesty, made with North American and Australian hops; The Rye on Wood (6%ABV) – aged with medium toasted new American oak to give it a distinct flavour; Island 1842 Imperial IPA (8%ABV) – Hoppy with a powerful nose of spicy, floral, and zesty hops
Click here to find out where to buy the beers


 

beer8

 Hong Kong Beer Co.

Originally established in 1995 as South China Brewing Company, and launched as Asia’s first craft brewery to sell beer exclusively in bottles and kegs, Hong Kong Beer Co took its current name in 2003. HKBC was acquired in 2013 by Devin Otto Kimble and Daniel Flores, the two founders of Singapore’s multiple award-winning Brewerkz Restaurant & Microbrewery. It could be argued that pre-2013, Hong Kong Beer Co was never really considered a true craft brewery – and was more interested in churning out pedestrian pours that are cheap and effective. All that has changed now. There’s a real sense of actual artisanal craft with Hong Kong Beer, and it’s transformed the company’s reputation.

The brewery: Hong Kong Beer Co. Ltd., Unit 5A, G/F, Wah Shing Centre, 5 Fung Yip Street, Chai Wan

The beers: Gambler’s Gold (golden ale, 4.6%ABV) – prominently aromatic nose with tropical fruit accents; Hong Kong Beer (amber ale, 5.1%ABV) – light caramel and malt profile with a prominent citrus aroma; Dragon’s Back (pale ale, 5.3%ABV) – medium-bodied, twist on the usual English formula with the addition of American hops, enhancing the refreshment and aroma; Big Wave Bay (IPA, 7%) – fresh and balanced with a robustly malt base, accentuated with bitterness, fragrant citrus, tropical fruits, and pine

Click here to find out where to buy the beers

 


Related-Articles

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Prev Next

Hand Rolled Davidoffs, Macau

From May 24 - 25, the Macallan Whisky Bar & Lounge, Maca...

Les Boules Café Petanque

Sport is like a social cohesive which brings men together is...

Cigar & Whisky night at Tr…

Learn Your Man Skills Few things are as manly as whisky and...

Bytox Patch Stops Hangovers

Bytox could be the future of drinking. It’s a small patch yo...

L'etage Bar & Cigar Lounge…

L’étage is a new bar on Staunton Street which is heavy on de...

Sugar at EAST

Hong Kong’s smoking ban has put an interesting twist on the ...

Armani/ Privé & Armani/Aqu…

Armani/Privé is the latest bar to open in Central, along wit...

Angel's Share

Back in the dark ages, when men were a little superstitious ...