Thursday, December 11, 2014

Revolution Brewing Among the Masses

I was provided with fresh evidence of the scale and scope of the craft beer revolution last month while on a business trip in Asia. On previous trips to the region, it was difficult to find good beer alternatives to the ubiquitous mass produced offerings like Asahi, Tiger, Tsingtao, etc. You might be able to find Guinness or Paulaner or if you looked hard enough other decent British, German or Belgian imports, but it was a long way from the craft beer cornucopia that we've come to enjoy in these here United States.

While there still is a long way to go in this regard, there definitely have been some great leaps forward. In Shanghai, the hotel I stayed in had an onsite craft brewery called The Brew. While they had a bit of a problem with naming redundancy, most of their offerings were decent and their double IPA was very solid.

Like "ATM machine"

Delicious Double IPA

I was also able to find another local craft brewer in Shanghai called Reberg. I sampled a few of their styles at a grocery store and picked up a bottle of hefeweizen. The beer itself was pretty average. The aluminum bottle with a peel off cap however was rather unique. It reminded me of the old reusable bottles that milk was delivered in.

Craft beer’s continuing creep in China was also on display in Nanjing where I found a convenience store in a tourist area touting it.

This advert naturally drew me in to investigate and I found that they indeed had a selection of craft beers, including some American favorites.

In case you don't recognize the labels, the bottles are brown and summer ales straight out of Brooklyn. They also had a few styles from California's North Coast Brewing and Red Hook in addition to quality craft selections from other countries.

The last stop of my trip was in Singapore. I was able to brew pub within walking distance of my hotel. While the prices were steep (three beers and a calamari app cost $62), the beer was quite good (especially the English style double IPA).

The craft beer revolution is here. And there. Let's hope it soon spreads everywhere.