Beijing Craft Beer festival preview

Guzzle your way through 15 tasters and 2 glasses

Great Leap Brewing
has scored another bold advance in fostering the local ale scene. On Saturday 2, The Beijing Craft Beer Festival will gather produce from the trailblazing microbrewery alongside other brewers from the capital and – even more excitingly – further afield.

With Great Leap tinkering with the fest’s line-up as Time Out went to press, names were still being finalised. But drinkers at the event were promised beer from Strong Ale Works in Qingdao and Boxing Cat Brewery in Shanghai. The organisers listed Beijing’s Slow BoatHopfenstube, Drei Kronen and Westin Kronenbrau breweries as all having a liquid presence, plus (of course) Great Leap. Meanwhile, Shanghai-based The Brew had ‘tentatively’ signed on.

With members of the Beijing Homebrewing Society also showing off their amateur – but tasty – work, the stage is set for a mouthwatering showcase. Such a coming-together of independent, smaller players on the Chinese beer scene is rare. Qingdao hosts a big annual beer festival, as does Dalian, but these corporate shindigs are usually dominated by the likes of Tsingtao and mass-market international brands.

More ambitious China-based suppers have needed to look to their passports and international travel budgets to find multiple craft-brewers under one roof. That looks set to change, though, with the fest arriving in Beijing this month following in the footsteps of May’s Shanghai Beer Week. Microbreweries along the east coast are increasingly coordinating to give drinkers access to beer from outside their own cities.

The Beijing Craft Beer Festival and its small collective of Chinese brewers arrives early this month. But, in case you miss out, don’t fear. The signs are that we’ll see more draught craft from outside Beijing in our fair city before too long.