Craft beers come to Hong Kong
The Globe, located in Hong Kong's Central neighbourhood, is one of many local bars that is diversifying its beer menu. (Courtesy of The Globe)
In a city more accustomed to wine (importing it is duty-free) and baiju (a potent Chinese liquor often drunk on special occasions), a small group of craft beer devotees is spreading the word that not all brews are created equal.
One of their first moves is a festival called Beertopia, taking place on 28 April in Hong Kong's Sheung Wan neighbourhood.
Along with the chance to sample more than 90 beers from microbreweries as far afield as New Zealand and Estonia, the festival offers lectures on home brewing and pairing beer with food. Live music, food and raffles are on offer, as well as the opportunity to play seminal college drinking games like beer pong and flip cup.
"Everything starts with education. For the craft beer scene to grow in Hong Kong, people need to get away from the idea that all beers are the same," said Jonathan So, Beertopia's founder. "Hopefully the beer festival can pique people’s interest (and taste buds) and curiosity will do the rest next time they find themselves at a bar or restaurant with craft beer on the menu."
So promises that Beertopia attendees will be spoiled for choice, with everything from fruity, light Belgian brews to a rich mocha porter and a chocolate stout on offer -- and there are even ciders for those that aren't wild about ale. Despite the fact that Hong Kong trails well behind other major cities in its number of microbreweries (it has two, a paltry sum compared with Japan's 200 and even Singapore's nine), So says that some local bars are starting to diversify their beer menus, including The Globe, Hong Kong Brew House and The Beer Bay in Central, Inn Side Out and Ruggers in Causeway Bay and Trafalgar in Wan Chai.
Beertopia runs from noon to 11 pm and will be held on the second floor of Western Market, a colonial building that dates back to the 19th Century. Tickets are available either online or at several local bars, and come in two varieties: $250 Hong Kong dollars for five tasting tokens, a glass and a raffle ticket or $300 Hong Kong dollars for 10 tasting tokens, a glass and a raffle ticket. Additional tokens can be purchased during the event.
Hana R Alberts is the Hong Kong Localite for BBC Travel