I’ve recently gone beyond the usual craft beer suspects such as Arrow Factory, Jing-A, Great Leap, Slow Boat and Panda and posted about lesser-known ones like Bell Banger, Lark, Flow, River and Huxley. Last night, the owner of one such project introduced me to the latest member of the city’s craft community, BrewTong, a Gulou-area operation that aims to be “local and vocal” in both the beer and coffee scenes, says owner Mr Wong, who previously ran a chain of bottle shops.
Wong first got interested in coffee when he visited Vietnam in 2014 and tried the infamous Kopi Luwak that uses partially digested beans defecated by civets—get all the gross details here. For the past 18 months, he has experimented on a local version of this brew using hutong weasels, hence the company’s name. He says the best blend is 20 percent ‘Beijing Luwak‘ and 80 percent Yunnan dark roast and he recently used it for a coffee stout that will be released at a pop-up event in mid-April at Bungalow. Sounds like an ideal gig for folk band Hutong Yellow Weasels!
Speaking of pop-ups, you can’t say the guys at top home decoration shop Pop-Up Beijing don’t have a sense of adventure—or humour. On top of movie nights, North Korean poster exhibitions and baijiu tastings, they will soon show they truly give a crap and focus on one of the body’s most vital functions. In what is expected to become an annual event, Pop-Up will present Poop-Up Beijing, a historical look at the art of relieving oneself in our fair city. The exhibition will include antique toilets (both sitter and squatter), vanity mirrors and scrub brushes as well as talks on the history of Chinese toilets and how Beijing’s star system works for public facilities. It would also seem to offer opportunities for activities like an endurance squatting contest, live scat music and an origami class that shows you how to fold vintage curated paper into enchanting figures and then eat them as roughage. In any case, wine will be sold at happy hour prices during all Poop-Up Beijing festivities.
If you think the amount of Beijinger-inspired spam you get due to the Pizza Cup, Burger Cup, Restaurant Awards and Bar & Club Awards is out of control, then you and your data bill ain’t seen nothing yet, at least not if a mock-up of the next magazine cover is any indication. Word is the TBJ crew has a slew of campaigns ahead, including a Tex-Mex Cup that will address all your burrito needs, a Chuanr Cup focused on street eats, and, next in line, a Hic Cup for best happy hours. It’s only a matter of time before things get meta and there is a cup for the best Beijinger Cup. I’m not even going to attempt a quip for this particular news item because I fear all of these cups really will soon runneth over my weixin account.
Finally, you might soon be hearing “I got so wasted I forgot my parrot in a taxi”. Bungalow is marking its six-month anniversary by giving Beijing the bird: the first 20 people who buy a half-dozen drinks will receive a live parrot. “Tiki drinks and talking birds go hand in wing,” said one owner, in an attempt to appear amusing. He added that the first person to guzzle six of those massive Volcano Bowls gets a *pair* of parrots. Could this deal get any better? Of course! The birds are trained to utter inspiring messages like “Look who’s drunk. Again”, “Where’s your sense of self-worth?” and “Call Annie’s fart-face, I’m hungry.”
And unless you’re totally hungover or aren’t reading too closely, you’ll know these are all April Fool’s jokes. Except for Poop-Up Beijing. No, that’s a joke, too. A crappy one, but nevertheless a joke.
* * *Get regular Beijing updates via my Instagram and Twitter feeds. Also see my sibling sites Grape Wall of China, World Baijiu Day and World Marselan Day. Help cover the hosting and other costs of these sites with a WeChat, AliPay or PayPal donation.
* * *