It’s as if a mouse has given birth to an elephant.
Slow Boat – the tiny but beloved craft brewery hidden in a hutong near Zhangzizhong Lu – has always been a humble affair. With no windows and just a handful of tables, its popularity often meant having to stand to enjoy your pint of Monkey’s Fist IPA.
Now the American owners have lurched to the other extreme with the taproom’s second branch – a three-story behemoth on Sanlitun South Street opposite the shiny new Intercontinental Hotel.
With half of the space given over to drinkers and the remainder to enormous brewing vats, you’re in no doubt where the beer’s being made. Now the mainframe of the whole operation, the pub has a respectable 20 fresh-brewed beers drawn from the on-site kegs and taps – around 8 of which are only available in this location.
We’re pretty excited about the Chocolate Sea Salt Stout – one of the new additions. And then there’s the collab with local company iF Juice (a Raspberry Pale Ale) – and of course the food menu, which has extended beyond the original taproom’s award winning burgers into other, classier options.
And while we’ll always have a soft spot for scrappy hutong hole in the wall brewery, there’s no denying that when it comes to catering to Beijing’s thirsty, craft beer obsessives, bigger is most definitely better.
Slow Boat Sanlitun Brewpub No.6 Nan Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang district (6592 5388; www.slowboatbrewery.com). Open 11am-Midnight daily (and till 2am Fridays and Saturdays).