Pint-sized wonders: There is beer in China

Pint-sized wonders: There is beer in China

Stop complaining there’s no good beer in this town, you just need to know where to look
Beer in China
Move over REEB and Tsingtao, craft beers and microbrews are making headway in the Shanghai beer marker.

Laying your hands on good beer in Shanghai is an age-old concern. UB beer, popular with British soldiershere in the ’30s, may no longer be available, but thankfully there are now a host of places offering great alternatives to that can of warm REEB. Herewith, the very best.

Beer in China

Beer in China: Microbreweries

1. Bund Brewery
With a hard-to-beat location inside a grand old building just back from the Huangpu, the Bund Brewery is more a relaxed gastro-pub than venue for serious beer specialists -- it attracts a similar crowd to Paulaner Brauhaus (150 Fenyang Lu, near Fuxing Lu 汾阳路150路, 近复兴路, +86 21 6474 5700). At Bund Brewery, like Paulaner, the beer is a small part of the night’s entertainment and gastro-enjoyment. Beers are brewed on-site, and come in three different varieties (lager, wheat and dark) and three different sizes.
11 Hankou Lu, near Sichuan Lu 汉口路11号, 近四川路, +86 21 6321 8447

2. Boxing Cat Brewery
There are always at least four beers brewing at the beloved Cat. On any given day that possibly includes the Right Hook Helles, the Donkey Punch Dunkel,brewmaster Gary Heyne’s award-winning Wild Mild, or a Brewer’s Choice -- whatever Heyne feels like making that week. Right now the featured brew is a cranberry stout perfect for Christmas.
82 Fuxing Lu, near Yongfu Lu 复兴路82号, 近永福路, +86 21 6431 2091; 453 Jinfeng Lu, near Baole Lu 金丰路453号, 近保乐路, +86 21 6221 9661

3. Ganlanba
There are a couple of small microbreweries tucked away in Gubei for the Korean community, but head east across the river and there’s one hiding in plain sight. In addition to some fantastic Dai food, Ganlanba, out by Century Park, brews a nice sideline of “Rainforest” beer. The restaurant only offers light and dark ales, but it’s a great place to bring friends, dare them to eat deep-fried honey bees, then treat them to what one regular says “could be the best beer in town.”
1025 Meihua Lu, near Yinxiao Lu 梅花路1025号, 近银霄路, +86 21 5059 6282

Beer in China

Beer in China: Bars and Restaurants

1. Southern Barbarian
Southern Barbarian is a great restaurant in its own right, but their beer selection -- numbering 73 at last count, from abbey ales to Australian wheat beers -- is what keeps people talking. “I’ve tried more than 300 myself,” says owner Feng Jianwen, “and beer just goes so well with our Yunnanese food.”
2/F, Area E, Ju'Roshine Life Art Space, 56 Maoming Nan Lu, near Changle Lu 茂名南路56号生活艺术空间E区2楼, 近长乐路, +86 21 5157 5510

2. Beernest
A tiny storefront south of People’s Square hides a three-seater bar at which you can sample an impressive array of imported beers sold at unbeatably low prices. The opening hours are a little unpredictable, but time it right and owner Jackie will be on hand to guide you through the sixty-something brands in stock.
82 Zhaozhou Lu, near Dongtai Lu 肇周82号, 近东台路, +86 138 1650 2260

3. Kaiba
In the absence of a place to go “for quiet conversation and fine Belgian beers,” owner Rudy Wimmer decided to build one himself. At either of Wimmer’s two Kaiba locations (the first of which is appropriately housed beside an old monastery) you’ll find upward of sixty different beers -- featuring a mixture of strong trappist ales, light fruit lambics, and even English and American imports.
Kaiba -- The Belgian Beer Bar, 528 Kangding Lu, near Xikang Lu 康定路528号, 近西康路, +86 21 5059 6066; Kaiba -- The Belgian Beer Garden 739 Ding Xi Lu, near Yanan Xi Lu 定西路739号, 近延安西路, +86 139 1820 5170

Beer in China: Retail

Beer in China

1. Real Beer
American Craft Beer Partners import some of the States’ finest beers into Shanghai, with pale ales being their current bestseller. The company represents a growing number of breweries and, according to Director of Operations Jon Raiti, are on a mission to “really blow away the consumer.” You can order their beers directly, through either their distributor, Dxcel (, +86 21 5150 4850), or Sherpa’s (, +86 21 6209 6209). Their website also has details on where you can find them around town, the pick of which is almost certainly The Beaver (28 Yueyang Lu, near Dongping Lu 岳阳路28号, 近东平路, +86 21 6474 3216).

2. Just Beer
“Sick of the two-day hangover I got after drinking local beer,” Aussie Mat Ryan helped found Just Beer two years ago, bringing affordable, easy-drinking, antipodean beers to bars around the country. Their Victoria Bitter ganbei glasses are sadly only available to the hardcore drinkers of northern China, but Shanghai residents can order cases of eight different beers directly from the website.

3. City Shop
According to Dxcel’s chairman, Deane Lin, the best way to judge the popularity of a product is to “look at how much supermarket shelf space it’s assigned.” Judging by the half-dozen twenty-foot shelves stacked with imported beers at City Shop’s Huaihai Lu location, it’s clear that City Shop has one of the best all-round best selections in town.
B1, New World Department Store, 939 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu 淮海中路939号巴黎春天B1楼, 近陕西南路, +86 21 6215 0418 (for home delivery). For other locations around town, see map here.