The Brews are Back: Second Annual Beijing Autumn Craft Beer Festival Set for September


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Breweries from eight cities in China, and possibly more, will gather at East Hotel on September 25 and 26 for the second annual Beijing Autumn Craft Beer Festival. Last year’s event was most excellent due to the venue, the layout, the range of beers (Hefei’s Calvin–these guys–was a big hit) and bites (good to see Palms LA and Biteapitta). And possibly because I had come straight from the airport after 18 hours of flights and was jonesing for some beer and grub (thanks to the NB beer guys for storing my luggage in their tent). I’d rank it as one of my top two-beer festival experiences in Beijing.

According to a press kit from Becky Lane, marketing director for Slow Boat, this year’s festival will be even better given an earlier date (and likely warmer weather), easier accessibility (due to a new subway stop near East Hotel) and fancier toilets (thus allowing one to recycle one’s beer in style).

Here are the confirmed breweries: Arrow Factory, Great Leap, Jing-A, NB and Slow Boat from Beijing, Bad Monkey from Dali, Calvin from Hefei, Nanjing Craft from Nanjing, Strong Ale Works from Qingdao, Boxing Cat from Shanghai, Bionic Brew and PRC from Shenzhen and Amoy Brau from Xiamen. Plus, the Beijing Homebrewing Society.

The food vendors will include Andy’s Sausages, Biteapitta, Hagaki, Home Plate and Palms LA. Here’s hoping Jing-A brings its chili, Traitor Zhou’s jumps on board with its bagels, and Windy City somehow gets involved with its massive nacho platters. Who doesn’t want to share a nacho platter big enough to feed six people when you’re knocking back beer? (Those fancy toilets would surely come in handy for those reeling from the effects of going solo on such a platter.)

Anyway, entrance to the festival is free. You simply pay for your beer / food at each vendor’s tent. Again, the second annual Beijing Autumn Craft Beer Festival: Friday, September 25, from 5 PM to 10 PM, and Saturday, September 26, from noon to 10 PM.

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Funderbar! Zeit Berlin to hold Saturday Bazaar on July 25

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Zeit Berlin will host a Saturday Bazaar on July 25 that looks like it will be a lot of fun. I don’t visit this sprawling German venue, with its dining areas and multiple bars and pool table and private rooms and more, very often simply because I spend most of my time in the Workers Stadium area. But whether enjoying a huge lunch with former Home Plate host Seth Grossman just before he left Beijing or simply grabbing a few German brews while watching sports, I’ve enjoyed my time there.

The bazaar is from noon to 9 PM, entry is free, and there will be a flea market, face painting, sausages, chuanr, pretzels, beer and a DJ, with ‘open-air theater‘ a bit later. Hopefully, there are some nice German wines, too, since they are highly underrated here in China.

You can find Zeit Berlin in the Royal Palace Hotel just off Xiaoyun Road, not all that far from the original Home Plate and the newest Palms LA. Check this site for more details. The address is 城堡饭馆 — 三元桥霄云里南街6号 and the phone number is 6461-8842 .

Dustin’s Dogs | Beijing to Soon Have New Sausage Supply

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Look for the city to have a new sausage supply once Dustin Merrett of Windy City fine-tunes his links for market. Merrett gave me some samples on Friday: the photo above shows, from left to right, rabbit followed by spicy beef followed by pork with sage and dried apple, the latter used as a natural sweetener. You might wonder why there is only one spicy beef sausage. Because Merrett was short? Nah, because I already ate the rest.

I’ve been testing them out in a variety of ways, from grilling them straight up in my cast iron fry pan, to mincing them with garlic, chili peppers, onion and tomato and spreading it on crackers, to adding them to scrambled eggs and noodle dishes for some extra punch.

Merrett says customer response has been good at Windy City. I generally like them, especially as the casings aren’t as rubbery as with some sausages, though the pork links are a bit soft.

Anyway, I will give a few to friends to get their reactions and will update once these links are for sale beyond Windy City. Which reminds me I also need to post about my two visits there.

Coming soon.

Finally, here’s a really blurry photo of all three kinds of sausages sizzling in butter in my frying pan. I blame the steam.

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CHEERS to beers: Wine shop chain to sell Shangri-La craft brew

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Look for the more than a dozen outlets of wine shop chain CHEERS in Beijing to soon carry beer from craft brewery Shangri-La in Yunnan.

The brewery, operated by a team of Swiss-Chinese, officially launched its new facilities two weeks ago and, as you can tell by the photos, it includes a nifty tasting room and plenty of fancy equipment.

A few months ago, I met a couple of guys involved in this project, and they didn’t seem overly impressed with what the craft brewers in our fair city had to offer. Now I guess we’ll see how their brew stacks up!

CHEERS has been diversifying over the last few years and will now include these beers along with its new spirits additions. It has also been boosting its event schedule, with everything from cocktail-making sessions to comedy nights.

(Thanks to Fundue for the photos)


Crazy Canucks: Canada Day capers at Hockey Bar Beijing

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I Screeched, I Nanaimo’d, I watched The Moose get loose for the last time. Good times on Wednesday night as Hockey Bar teamed with CCYA to hold a Canada Day keg party.

This was the last dance for The Stipp–The Moose–as a Beijing resident. He is off for Singapore. Over the past few years, The Stipp has risen to the Canada Day challenge in ways many:

  • He joined a joint Canada Day-Fourth of July pub crawl that included Home Plate, Great Leap and The Box, and led our nation to a rousing come-from-behind flip cup victory against Team USA. “There is no way we are losing!” bellowed Stipp.
  • He spent another Canada Day impersonating a competitive eater, first going all-out for brunch at The Fairmont Hotel, then following it with a dozen oysters at the former Starfish, several orders of ribs at the former Switch, and a heaping plate of poutine at 4corners. That’s some serious eating.
  • And on yet another Canada Day, he helped lead a “kiss the poutine” event. (It was supposed to be “kiss the cod” but the fish in question arrived sans head.) That involved attendees getting intimate with fries, drinking shots of Moosehead and Spicebox Whisky, and reciting the works of noted Canadian poets such as Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, Bryan Adams and Gordon Lightfoot.

Also, he has about 247 terabytes of Canadian music.

As the end is nigh, The Stipp took it down a notch this year, simply showing up in his Canadian Idol shirt and with a bottle of weird Calgary whisky.

Anyway, a large crowd was on hand for the festivities at the Hockey Bar. There was live music, a beer pong tournament and corn-toss action.

There were two bottles of Screech, including one secured in 2013 thanks to The Telegram reporter James McLeod and the fine people at the Newfoundland Labrador Liquor Corporation–see this story–and safely held by Tom Bailey since then.

There was Hockey Bar’s Curtis Dracz setting up a table outside, loading it with 50 shot glasses, and making sure everyone got a taste of that Screech.

And there was Dustin Merrett, a Beijing-based chef from Nanaimo, who arrived with about 100 servings of the bars for which his city is famous. A truly rich and delicious treat.

All in all, a good party. And Stipp, it won’t be Canada Day without you, eh?

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