Boxing Cat Brewery

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  • Microbreweries
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20 Xinyuanli Xi, Xindong Lu
For Xinyuanli, the transformation from underserved 'hood to buzzing food hotspot has been brewing for a while now. The additions of Bottega Jinshang, Q Mex Taqueria and, recently, Peruvian outlet Pachapapi, alongside institutions such as Great Leap #45 and Arrow Factory, now sees Xinyuanli ready to stake a claim as a serious food and drink destination, a claim that's been further bolstered by the arrival of Shanghai heavyweights Boxing Cat Brewery.

While our rivals down south tend to claim ownership over cocktail culture, Beijing has always been more of a beer haven: we’re more likely to be found on a Friday afternoon cracking open a couple of cold ones than sipping on cocktails, and we're, admittedly, also fairly opinionated and tribal about the whole thing. Over the past year or so, Boxing Cat has been dipping its toes in Beijing's scene with its beers on tap at various venues – testing the waters, it seems, over whether there's room for an out-of-town invader in a city that's evangelical over local brews. As it happens, there is.

Handsomely appointed with gleaming metal hardware, burnished wood floors and sleek furniture, Boxing Cat Brewery follows the mould of industrial-chic brewpubs. Its sweeping open-plan layout and casual seating also easily caters to Beijing’s beer-swigging masses, from big-group boozing to chilled-out couples.

Brewing beers for over ten years – 'Since 2008, we’ve won 40 international awards and counting', boasts a wall mural – Boxing Cat's beer menu features an impressively diverse selection of IPAs, ales, stouts and more, all priced at flat rates (from 15RMB samplers to 50RMB pints). Thrilla in Manila, a Berliner Weisse-style of beer, is lip-smackingly sour – possibly too tart for most tastes, but worth giving a go for fans of fruity beers. The Ring Side Red, rich with hints of toffee and malt, is all too easily downed, while the robust Donkey Punch Porter smoulders with chocolate and pepper. For something a little heftier, cure your sobriety with the Scottish-style ale Glasgow Kiss. One of Boxing Cat's rare nitro brews, this heavyweight packs a knockout punch thanks to its fuller mouthfeel – and 6.4 percent ABV.

In a slightly unexpected twist, it’s Boxing Cat’s food that’s also been garnering plenty of buzz, with a menu that sees British, American and Southeast Asian flavours collide. The Scotch egg with Thai curry (48RMB) features a perfectly under-done egg encased in sausage and crisp batter that pairs surprisingly well with an aromatic Thai red curry. Likewise, the sautéed mussels (68RMB), served in a silky broth of lemongrass, chilli and coconut, are fragrant and well-balanced. Flatbreads (58-78RMB) topped with a range of gourmet ingredients are a refined, yet hearty take on pub-style pizzas, while generous slabs of roast meat – we opt for the Berkshire pork tomahawk (248RMB) – prevent any possibility of next-day hangovers.

With its top-notch brews and gourmet fare, Boxing Cat Brewery is that rare third option that satisfies both serious drinkers and teetotallers alike. Despite its southern origins, the Shanghai hopheads are a more than worthy addition to Beijing’s craft beer and dining scenes – it would be churlish to deny otherwise.

Dinner for two with drinks 350RMB

By Leanne Wong

Venue name: Boxing Cat Brewery
Contact:
Opening hours: 11.30am-1am, Sun-Thu; 11.30am-2am, Fri-Sat.
English address: 1F, Jinshang, 20 Xinyuanli Xi, Xindong Lu, Chaoyang district
Chinese address: 朝阳区新东路新源里西20号楼金尚首层1
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