Summer bringing on a thirst? Don’t just drink any old beer, reach for the innovative brews of Hong Kong’s best craft breweries.
Hong Kong is home to many things – the most billionaires in Asia, street food fit for emperors, skyscrapers that put New York City to shame, and, perhaps a little less known, some incredible craft beer breweries.
Craft brewers are popping out the woodwork left and right nowadays, flooding the market with so many options that it can be hard to find the best brews. We’ve gallantly taken it upon ourselves to sample as many different craft beer selections as we could, guided by our selfless mission to provide our dear readers with priceless insider information.
Without further ago, here is our selection of Hong Kong’s best craft beer breweries.
Arguably the most innovative and ‘out there’ craft brewers in Hong Kong, Yardley Brothers are regularly blowing the local craft beer scene away with bold, imaginative brews – recent additions to their line up of seasonal forays include a cheesecake CBD beer, a mango sour, and new barrel-aged whisky wheat sour.
With its origins on bohemian Lamma Island (where brewing began in co-founder Luke’s living room), the brewery now produces 11,000 litres of the good stuff each month, with staples including the Lamma island IPA, Hong Kong Bastard Imperial IPA, and Machine Men Pale Ale. It also offers fascinating monthly tours of its brewery (reservations are a must), as well as sneak peek tastings.
Young Master Brewery
Young Master is a familiar name to anyone with a passing interest in tasty brewskies. Having opened in 2013, the brewery has since established itself as one of the pillars of the local craft beer community. Its success, which includes dozens of awards across various beer competitions, has led Young Master to expand operations to Mainland China and Singapore.
Its regular offerings include all the staples you’d expect from any brewery worth its hops. Its choice selection of IPAs, stouts, and pale ales is rounded off with more seasonal options which include collaborations with local bars and special limited editions. Its ever-rotating menu means it’s always worth keeping an eye out to see what’s new.
Young Master has always been daring with its use of ingredients and local additions such as chrysanthemum and chanpei make regular appearances in Young Master beers, lending the brews a unique, local twist.
Perhaps its most interesting recent release has been a new beer series named Hea, after the Cantonese slang which means “to kill time.” Why the name? Because not only is this Pale Ale a serious brew in itself but it’s also infused with all the ganja goodness of CBD, making it the perfect way to unwind, mun.
Hong Kong Beer Co.
Hong Kong Beer Co. prides itself as being the OG of craft breweries in the Fragrant Harbour. It initially launched under the name South China Brewing in 1995, meaning that it existed even before the term ‘craft beer’ entered the hipster lexicon.
Truth be told, South China Brewing was pretty much craft beer in name only until it was acquired and revamped in 2013. Today, the brewery is headed by Simon Pesch, who has over 20 years of experience in the brewing industry.
Hong Kong Beer Co has a creative selection of session IPAs, pale ales, and lagers, as well as seasonal collections that rotate throughout the year. Every beer pays homage to the effervescent city of Hong Kong, with each named after a certain aspect of the metropolis.
A standout in the brewery’s selection is the somewhat drably named “Hong Kong Beer.” An amber lager, it combines a caramel malt flavour with a citrusy-hop finish. It pairs perfectly with typical bar chow such as fries, pizzas, and burgers – and we’re not just saying that because we got the munchies while buzzed on it.
Gweilo takes all the hipster-cum-lumberjack pretence out of craft beer. Founded in 2015, this brewery prides itself on its fun and down-to-earth approach. The brand keeps a delicious core set of six beers while creating new collaborations and limited editions that allow it to “unleash its inner beer geek.”
Founders Ian and Emily Jebbit, along with their friend Joe Gould, are pioneers by nature, constantly exploring new flavours and concepts to keep things interesting. What binds all of their sometimes-wacky creations together is a commitment to a pure and high-quality product that is natural and unpasteurized.
While Gweilo is run by foreigners (the brand name is actually derived from the Cantonese word for white foreigner), the brewery pays its respects to Hong Kong (they even made a drop for Cathay Pacific) as its beers are created to be bright, exciting, and inviting, just like the city it calls home. The brewery has also just opened a new restaurant in Kennedy Town in collaboration with Woolly Pig Hong Kong.
Carbon Brews is a craft beer company that creates some seriously good draughts while committing itself towards making the world a better place. Naturally, beer is nothing but good for humanity, but this brewery goes the extra mile by being both equal-share employee-driven and environmentally sustainable. Thanks to them, you can now get drunk and know you did good.
These guys continuously push the boundaries of beer innovation, creating complex and unconventional brews. Seasonal beers such as the pina-colada-inspired Kokomo and the Momo Manga, a Milkshake IPA, showcase the brewery’s mastery of balancing whimsical flavours with a general likeability that even regular beer drinkers will enjoy.
A craft brewery in the truest sense of the world, Moonzen honours Chinese roots by creating signature beers made with ingredients such as Sichuan peppercorns, Yunnan fermented Pu-er Tea, Northern Hops, and many more. Even its brand name is a nod to Chinese traditions, as Moonzen translates to “door gods” (門神), which are ornaments at building entrances that protect from evil spirits and represent integrity and strength.
The brewers at Moonzen are committed to creating a premium-quality product, claiming to be the “purest and tastiest all-grain beer in Hong Kong.”
Its brews are said to be “pure beers.” This means that they are unpasteurised, unfiltered, all-natural, 100% grain, and without adjuncts and emulsifiers. They are also completely sustainable, creating compost from their spent grain and recycling their bottles. Magic.
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