by Coconuts Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s nightlife and dining scenes are renowned around the world, with myriad options to suit all pockets and tastes. As the craft beer craze takes root across Asia, it’s only right that this cosmopolitan city sits at the centre of the region’s hoppy happenings. We check in with two of the city’s top brewers and introduce you to some of the best craft beer bars in the city. Bottoms up!
When Young Master first started brewing craft beer in Hong Kong in 2013, the scene was almost non-existent. Whether going to Seven-Eleven, a trendy bar or one of the city’s top restaurants, drinkers would only be offered a slim selection of beers from the world’s biggest manufacturers. Seven years later, “Asia’s world city” is awash with brilliant small-batch beer, boasting more than 35 microbreweries and several dedicated festivals.
Now a leader in the Asian craft movement, Young Master, which owns two brewing facilities in the city, sends its award-winning beer all over the region and runs best-in-class tap rooms in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shenzhen. Despite their increasingly international footprint, however, the small and tight team draws inspiration from a variety of local sources, be it the nuances of Hong Kong’s food and drink culture or exciting Asian ingredients, such as Sichuan peppercorns, goji berries, aged mandarin peel and kaffir lime leaves. But despite seeing more competition in recent years, the pioneering brewers are happy to share the space.
“Our competition primarily has been with the larger beer companies and our focus has been on nurturing the development of craft,” said founder Rohit Dugar. “It has been less about competing with other brands in the craft space and more about growing the pie for craft as a whole.”
One of the more recent additions to the scene is Heroes Beer Co, which launched its Hong Kong brewery in 2017 after several years of supplying and training home brewers through sister company HK Brewcraft. Heroes has taken a different approach to the trade, putting beer drinkers front and center of the creative process rather than employing a top-down system of brewing a few classic styles and pushing them out to the masses. So far, the team has collaborated with 23 local beer enthusiasts — AKA heroes — to create products specially tailored to their tastes.
“From day one, we made up our minds to invest in beer drinkers rather than follow the latest ‘beer trends’ like the other breweries,” said co-founder Jason Lowe. “Our beers will continue to grow with our heroes, so even the flavour of an existing beer can be altered if the hero wishes to do so.”
Now that’s whetted your appetite, it’s time to try some of Hong Kong’s homegrown beer. Craft-curious consumers should be sure to check out these five top watering holes for hop heads and take advantage of special offers on craft beer (and other drinks) available from our wine cellar.
22 Staunton Street, Central, Hong Kong Island, bigsur.com.hk, +852 2529 3001
This hip Staunton Street bar slings both local brews, including Heroes and Young Master, alongside international favourites. If you’re a fan of the globally popular sport of people-watching, take a chair on the alfresco patio (weather permitting). Otherwise, cosy-up in the bar and work your way through the various offerings on tap. They also serve lip-smacking California style barbecue, perfect for soaking up some suds.
8 Holland Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong Island, facebook.com/AlvysHK , +852 2312 2996
Among a wide selection of natural wines and craft whiskeys, Alvy’s is home to a whole host of rare and established beers from across the region and the world. Come for the beer, stay for the inventive locally-influenced pizzas and other foodie delights.
21 Tung Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island, bluesupreme.live, +852 5998 3088
While Blue Supreme holds a great selection of accessible local beers, what the crowds really come here for is the specialist and super rare Belgian-style brews. Whether fruity, sour or devilishly dark, the signature beers here will widen your hoppy horizons.
22-24A Tai Ping Shan St, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island, craftissimo.hk, +852 6274 3130
Half bottle shop, half bar, Craftissimo has local beers on tap as well as a huge range of cans and bottles from around the world in its fridges. And the offerings here go way beyond beer, branching out into ciders, hard seltzer and alcoholic ginger beer. What’s more, you can take your favourites home with you when you leave!
12a Johnston Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong Island, +852 2555 1838
Arguably the home of Hong Kong-brewed beer, Wan Chai’s Hoppy Junction stocks all the major local players as well as an amazing selection of pours from lesser-known breweries. If you’re not sure what pint to punt for, ask the super knowledgeable staff to give you a recommendation.