Beijing’s craft beer scene has grown by hops and bounds over the past few years, with the likes of Great Leap, Slow Boat, Jing-A, Panda and Arrow Factory giving us a growing range of options. This week, a new establishment will open and take inspiration both from these pubs and from local cocktail bar BBC, which offers tasty drinks and straight-razor shaves.
Craft Beard is the brainchild of Max Serco, a native of Bend, Oregon, who moved to Beijing from Shanghai last fall. He says his Beixinqiao establishment will bring together two of his loves.
“I am a big fan of the Oregon craft brewing scene and the Renaissance of beards“, says Serco, who sports an Old Dutch of his own. “When I went to BBC and saw they have straight-razor shaves, I decided right then and there to create a place for people to care for their beards and to enjoy craft beer.”
Like Great Leap, which uses local ingredients such as Yunnan tea and Shandong honey in its beers, Craft Beard plans to feature some unique brews. Serco says the highlight will be what he calls The Neck Beer’d.
“I’m using yeast grown on my own neck beard hairs to make this one,” he says. “It’s like I’m drinking myself, which is sexy in a weird kind of way.”
Along with offering a dozen beers on tap, and a small selection of his favorite bottled brews, Serco says he plans to organize beard grooming seminars. And each season, he will pick one patron’s beard and make a beer with it.
The first candidate will be his best Beijing friend, Guo Weiwei.
“Guo’s name sounds like the character for dog, so we’ll call his neck beer ‘Hair of the Dog‘ because we are using his hair and his name sounds like the character for… it’s an idiom and… well, you know,” says Serco, drifting off.
He obviously had other things on his mind and he suddenly snapped to attention, without spilling a single drop of his beer.
“Do you know what my dream is? Do you?”
“My dream is to somehow get some DNA from Abraham Lincoln and regrow his beard and make a yeast from it,” he says. “Is that possible? I don’t know, I’m not a scientist.”
“But if I can do it, I’ll call it the IPAbe.”
Craft Beard is open yearly on April 1.