Beer in China traces its origins to breweries set up by Russian and German settlers at the turn of the 20th century. Tsingtao from Shandong Province is a global trademark – light, low-alcohol, industrially brewed lager for the masses. Then there’s Yanjing, Beijing’s own cheap and cheerful brew of near indistinguishable similarity.
In 2010 America’s craft beer scene touched down lightly in China’s capital with the opening of Great Leap Brewing, an equal parts American and Chinese operation in an old courtyard home deep in the ‘fishbone’ hutongs of Nanluoguxiang. Mighty oaks from little acorns grow, and after three years of success pedalling their craft creations infused with locally sourced ingredients like Sichuan peppercorns and Fujian tea, Beijing’s first craft brewery has leapt up in the world.
Behold ‘Great Leap Brewing No. 12’, a high-class, refined and darned good fun brewpub in a beautifully designed space close to the Sanlitun area.
A changing roster of a dozen or so beers includes stouts, porters, IPAs and more boutique styles like Kolsch and Trippels, all made on site in an impressive glassed-off brew house and ranging in price from 25-60 RMB. Bespoke tip: try the Honey Ma Gold, an amber ale made with mouth-tingling Sichuan peppercorn and honey sourced from owner Liu Fang’s family apiary in Shandong Province!
The kitchen is under the stewardship of Bespoke favourite Kin from the excellent Taco Bar. His is an unashamedly Stars ‘n Stripes menu with some playful nods to China, like the delicious nuggets of pork belly lurking in the Caesar salad, or the Inner-Mongolian lamb burger. Everything is made fresh, the meat ground in-house, and served in diner-style baskets – perfect beer food.
Great Leap has just completed its first weekend of soft opening and promises to be fully up and running by the middle of May. Cheers!
Great Leap Brewing No. 12, 12 Shizipo Jie, Chaoyang District