Everyone’s favourite food and lifestyle destination, Yu, has recently become home to Aussie brewers Little Creatures’ first bricks-and-mortar venue in Beijing. Like the bar’s upstairs neighbour, Canvas
, its space seems beholden to a thoroughly concrete set-up, but it’s warmed up nicely with retro white tiles, strings of bulbous fairy lights and a big fat baby angel staring down on you from above the bar, neon wings and all.
Little Creatures call themselves ‘certified hopheads’, and have been brewing ales of the palest kind for over a decade. The Beijing branch has a refreshingly limited menu of brews, with eight ales and one cider all coming in at a now-reasonable 50RMB a pint. You can also get a flavoured pour from the Randall for the same price (the infusion changes daily), and there is also a tasting paddle of six types of beer for 158RMB.
Of a strong bunch, the LC Pale Ale comes out on top, with a fruity, complex flavour that goes down slow but still feels light. We’re also impressed by the Dog Days, which is light and malty but still has a gentle hint of peach to keep things interesting.
Just as limited and just as good is the food menu, with reasonably-priced surf and/or turf mains such as a pale ale battered fish 'n' chips. While the pop-up feeling of the venue doesn't exactly feel like a dinner destination, the offerings are as good as any elsewhere in Yu, and smaller bites, such as Cajun-spiced chips (28RMB), are done as well as any in the city.
The atmosphere at Yu can sometimes be lacking, but with a dedication to brewing and a strong concept, Little Creatures has managed to create a buzz all of its own.
By Amy Hawkins