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Beijing Craft Beer | The Breweries Driving The Craft Beer Boom

Things have changed in recent years in Beijing, during my first visit here back in 2008. Back then you would only see green bottles from Tsingtao or the yellow bottles from Harbin beer that people were cheering and clinking their beer together within the bar.

But oh how things has changed in recent years, these days are there are almost more locals enjoying IPA´s, Stouts and other Beijing craft beer that don’t stand back when it comes to quality and taste for any European or American made craft beers.

complete Guide to Find the best Craft beer in Beijing the capital of China
Are you planning to visit Beijing and wondering where the best local Beijing Craft beer can be found?

There´s now six different microbreweries in Beijing, plus tons of craft beer bars and shops selling imported craft beer.

Two of the local microbreweries opened up in small historical hutong neighbourhoods a few years ago, but have now gotten so popular that they have opened up in new huge locations in the more popular parts of Beijing.

With one of them having up to 3 different brewing locations and another one just opened a section located in the most popular nightlife area of Beijing.

Some of the craft beers made are also offered in various bars around Beijing, and another city´s around China on bottle and draft these days.

And should´t be suprised if you soon will bee seing some of the local Beijing Craft beer for sale in your local shop or bar in your hometown around the world

The Beijing craft beer scene has seen a remarkable boom with several breweries racing to grab the crown of best craft brewers in town.

There are several breweries producing craft beers for you to choose from, each with its own distinct flavors and techniques. But, rest assured they all have a decent range that won’t disappoint you.

There’s a reason these crafty companies have been a part of, and some even creating, the craft beer boom in Beijing. 

Whether you’re a beer lover or someone who doesn’t know hops from malts, read further to get in the know about Beijing’s best breweries.

History of Craft Beer in Beijing

While there are several conflicting opinions on the origin of craft beer in Beijing, there’s no denying that it started bubbling in the 2000s.

More precisely, most people point to the American expats, Carl Setzer and Dane Vanden Berg, behind Great Leap Brewing as the pioneers of craft beer brewers.

Great Leap Brewing opened its doors in 2010, earlier than any other brewer on this list. The duo did so after feeling unsatisfied with Chinese beer and seeing that there was no craft beer being produced and sold in Beijing.

And they grabbed the opportunity with both hands and capitalized on it, opening the floodgates for other craft beer brewers.

Before they took Beijing by storm there were some attempts at bringing craft to other parts of China.

The most notable one being Texan Gary Heyne opening a brewery in Shanghai – so it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say he inspired the Great Leap duo.

Where to Get Craft Beer in Beijing

As you already know from the above, there are several breweries with craft beer on the menu.
They have a selection of pilsners, ales, IPAs and more – available on tap or in cans and bottles.

The following are Beijing’s finest places to get craft beer.

Jing-A

Jing-A started as a home brewing operation between two friends who were unhappy with then-Beijing beer.

Their first beer was such a success that it propelled them to where they are today – a firm part of the capital’s boozy buzz. The duo turned a converted factory compound into their premises.

beijing craft beer
Jing-A one of the original Beijing Craft Beer bars.

They now have three established bars, one located in Xingfucun, another near Dongsi, and a recently-opened pub in the CBD. Jing-A in Beijing has soared to popularity thanks to a great flavor and delightful aroma.

At their bar locations, you’ll find the beer on tap or in a bottle if you’re planning on taking the party home.

Their inventory includes many core, seasonal and collaborative brews, many of which have finished on a podium at several beer competitions around the world. 

beijing craft beer
Sampels of the local Jing-A craft beer
beijing craft beer
Enjoying small burgers and local Beijing craft beer at Jing-A
beijing craft beer
Jing-A also have a impressive selection of imported beer
beijing Craft beer
Jing-A BAR
beijing craft beer
Local Beijing Craft beer at Jing-A

Their most acclaimed beverage is the Worker’s Pale Ale. It’s an American ale with pronounced notes of grapefruit and pine resin balanced with moderate hop bitterness and pale and specialty malts. 

Of course, these come with food to match; each location serves something different.

For instance, at Xingfucun you can combine your beer with a delightful Texas BBQ.

Location: 57 Xingfucun Zhong Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing

38 Qianliang Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing

Kerry Center, 1 Guanghua Lu, Beijing

Opening Time: Sunday-Thursday: 11:00-Midnight

Friday-Saturday: 11:00 – 2:00

Weekdays: 8:00 – Late & Weekends: 11:00 – Late at The CBD taproom

Great Leap Brewing

Established in 2010, Great Leap Brewing was around when the scene started picking up and is officially the first Beijing Craft beer place to open up and is still around to reap the benefits.

It has four taphouses where visitors are spoiled with unique craft beers on tap or in a can.

Part of their popularity comes from the fact that some brews are named after Chinese military generals and idols.

beijing craft beer
Enjoying a local Beijing Craft beer at The Great Leap

They have 8 beers which are a mixture of ales, IPAs, and pilsners, meaning there’s something for just about anyone. The brews offer some interesting tastes that will please your palate in addition to giving you a buzz.

The Hidden General IPA has a citrus aroma thanks to it being brewed with grungiest and cashmere hops and dried sweet chrysanthemum flowers.

You’ll find their staple New York-style pizza on the menu alongside other dishes like burgers.

The exception is GLB Original #6, where you’re encouraged to buy food from nearby diners. This bar is one of the most popular Beijing Craft beer bars, and especially with expat teachers.

Location: #6 Doujiao Hutong, Di’anmenwai Avenue, Dongcheng Dist, Beijing (GLB Original #6)

Room 101, Ziming Mansion, B12 Xinzhong Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing

(GLB #12)

#45-1 Xinyuan Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing (GLB #45)

Room 103, Nuo Center, A2 Jiangtai Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing (GLB 100)

Opening Time: At GLB #6 & #12 Sun-Thu: 12:00 – 11:00

Fri-Sat: 12:00 – 00:00

At GLB #45 & 100 Sun-Thu: 11:00 – 1:00

Fri-Sat: 11:00 – 2:00

Slow Boat Brewery

Founded in 2011 by two American friends, these brewers wanted to bring North American brewing techniques while keeping an authentic Chinese feel to the beers.

And they’ve been very successful in their pursuit, standing today as one of Beijing’s most popular brewers.

The American-style pub has three establishments, one being in lively Sanlitun while the others are found in Dengshikou and Maizidian.

beijing craft beer
Slow Boat another of the original Beijing Craft beer brewery

Slow Boat Brewery in Beijing has produced around 54 core and seasonal brews and is one of the most popular Beijing Craft beer bars.

They are constantly being rotated in and out of the menu.

However, customers often find delight in the Monkey’s Fist IPA, characterized by its hop flavors. If you happen to go once and find a favorite, it’s best to contact the pub to ensure your preferred drink will be on sale.

beijing craft beer
Local Beijing Craft beers on tap
Beijing craft beer
Slow boat local Beijing Craft beer
slow boat beer beijing
beijing craft beer
Local Slow Boat beer

As an ode to their American roots, they are responsible for several delicious burgers. Having even won awards for their burgers, including 4 titles in 5 years for best burger at the Beijing Burger Cup. It´s good, I had it myself a few times.

Location: 6 Nan Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing

157 Dongsi Nan Dajie, Dongchang, Beijing

78 Maizidian Jie, Chaoyang District, Beijing

Contact the brewery for times at: +86 10 6592 5388

+86 13 5218 83051

+86 10 6592 6362

Arrow Factory in Beijing

Another brewery started by an expat is the Arrow Factory, the product of a British bloke. It was initially nestled in an alleyway that it quickly outgrew as more people got a taste of its local Beijing craft beer.

Arrow Factory has an impressive selection of brews, ranging from APIs to lagers.

beijing craft beer
Arrow Factory

Much like their drinks menu, they have a vast list of food you can choose from.
Plus, they cater to special dietary needs for vegans and vegetarians. 

Location: 38 Jianchang Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing

Oepning Time: Mon-Thu: 11:30 – 11:30

Fri: 11:30 – 12:00

Sat: 10:30 – 12:00

Su: 10:30 – 11:30

NBeer

Unlike the craft breweries above, NBeer sees a Chinese national capitalize on the craft beer boom. The store’s establishment resembles a micro-museum for beer with a number of local and imported brews on its premises.

As a brewery, it has over 30 taps of crafty goodness for you to choose from – featuring both local and international beers.

nBEER beijing craft beer
Good selection of tap beer at Nbeer
Nbeer beijing craft beer
The bar at Nbeer

As a testament to the quality of the NBeer crafts, they’ve previously won a Brussels Beer Challenge gold award for their Beijing GOSE Modern.

The beer hotspot also features an impressive menu full of foods that go down well with beer.

beijing craft beer Nbeer
Nbeer also has a good selection of imported beer
beijing craft beer
Local beer at Nbeer

This includes burgers, sausages, nachos, fish and chips, and more. There’s even dessert on offer for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Location: Xicheng District, China

Opening Time: 3:00pm – 2:00 daily 

Peiping Machine

Peiping Machine Brewery is another all-Chinese crafter who has been a part of the craft beer boom since it first opened.

At their pub, there are over 30 taps that include some of their own brews and a number of local and international crafts.

That includes an American-type IPA, a wheat beer, and a delicious chocolate stout.

The elegant taproom practically invites you and your friends to enjoy a boozy stay thanks to the long tables at its Fangjia Hutong spot.

Peiping Machine is also renowned for its signature breakfast dish, the jianbing, which is like a chicken wrap.

Location: E101, 46 Fangjia Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing

Opening Time: 5:00pm – 2:00 am daily

Other Beer Shops in Beijing

While the above are some of the more renowned Beijing craft beer, there are also hidden gems you can explore. These are the best microbreweries in the Chinese capital.

Beersmith

Opened in 2017 as part of Hotel Jen, Beersmith is more than just a showcase of crafty deliciousness. It’s a taphouse that often has live music to entertain you when you’re feeling boozy. Their selections of beer are definitely worth a try.

Panda Brew

Another place that serves good craft beer and food is Panda Brew. The taproom sells locally brewed beer in an elegant setting that is full of Panda teddy bears.

They serve a whole range of beer including pilsners, stout, IPAs and more.

Find them at Dongsi N St, Dongzhimen, Dongcheng, Beijing.

Panda brew beijing
Panda Brew bar is full of Panda Teddy bears.
Panda Brew Beijing craft beer
Panda Brew
panda beer
local Panda beer on bottle
panda brew
Panda beer

Where to Get Craft Beer?

Instead of limiting your boozy plans to local craft beer made and sold in Beijing, you can go and try some international crafty goods.

There are several places to enjoy imports and give your tongue a taste of the unusual. Here’s a list of pubs with a wealth of craft beers available.

Beers 89

Beers 89 is home to numerous craft beers from various countries – all available to you. You can get pilsners, IPAs, and lager.

You’ll find them located on 89 Dashilan W St, Xicheng District, Beijing.

Big Smoke

Big Smoke sells great food and beer to its patrons. They have a range of craft beers to choose from, including IPAs, pilsners, ales, and more. Find them at 57 Xingfucun Middle Rd, Chaoyang, Beijing.

Which Beijing Craft Beer Will You Try First?

Now that you know where to go to drink craft beer in Beijing, which spot will you be visiting first? The original Beijing masters at Great Leap Brewing or the Chinese-led NBeer or maybe the lesser-known Panda Brew?

Whichever one you end up choosing, you’re in for a great time!

Afterward, perhaps you can work up the courage to eat some of the strange food China has to offer?

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