It seems like only yesterday (rather than a month ago) that your favourite blogger headed for the 4th edition of the Beijing Craft Beer Festival. And avid readers of this column will know I discovered another craft brewery in the Chinese capital … NBeer.
So it didn’t take long before I decided I really ought to check out the actual brewpub itself. Unlike the other taprooms in BJ that are located (in the main) in the east and northeast – near the business district or the dreadful Sanlitun area (so beloved of foreigners who are too dumb to know when they are being ripped off with overinflated prices and bad service), NBeer is located towards the west of central BJ in Pinganli. In fact if you take the subway there (lines 4 and 6) and leave from exit B, it is just a three minute walk to Huguosi Street with its bright lights.
Walk down it, past the Huguosi hotel on your left and you see a tiny mall on your left (blink and you might miss it!). NBeer is on the ground floor at the back.
Like the other tap rooms in BJ, this one has around 20-25 running taps of craft beer; but unlike them they not only include their own brews, but a good selection from other craft breweries around China.
I wrote about NBeer’s Raspberry Berlinerweisse when I covered the beer festival. According to the season, you can also get to try out their own brews of American Real Ale, Apple Cider, Beijinger Weisse, Coffee Rye Stout, English Bitter, Galaxy Rice IPA, Imperial Stout, Milk Stout, Oyster Stout, Pumpkin Ale and a whole lot more besides.
They also have taps from Harvest Brewing, Master Gao, Great Leap, Panda Brew and JingA, as well as other home-brew labels from around China. And in case you are spoiled for choice, they – like other taprooms – offer tasting sampler trays; but unlike the others, the price for six sampler glasses is half price (68RMB) if you get there before 7pm.
Another unique (?) service offered is the ability to come and brew your own beer. If you think you can do better than what’s on offer, you can sign up for a 1,780RMB (~£200) class to brew two 20-litre kegs of your own, with custom designed labels included in the cost. NBeer provides all the equipment, ingredients and technical support you need.
Hold on… that’s 44.5 RMB per litre – a lot less than the brews they sell over the counter. Problem is, how long would it take to drink all 40 litres? Hmmm. There’s some further research needed here I think! ;)
NBeer’s Huguosi location also has another USP – it’s known for its massive glass door beer fridge, containing some 500 imported craft beers. There’s a great selection of bottled British, Belgian, New Zealand, Californian… with a clear focus on the Californian and Belgian beers.
Yet another difference here is to be found on each of the tables – video screens which show rolling adverts, but which I am led to believe you can use to order your next round of drinks. Certainly the friendly ‘fuwuyuan’ were busy bringing drinks to the tables with no sign of anyone having ordered anything.
But at the end of the day it’s all about the beer. I have a Galaxy Rice IPA, which is one of their most expensive brews, but I have to say it is no better than most of the other IPAs I have downed in Beijing. But after a “long hard day at work” it still hits just the right corners of your favourite blogger, where other brews have been known not to reach.