A brief introduction to the history of Hong Kong's love for beer
Spend any amount of time in Hong Kong and you’ll quickly notice that it is a city in love with its booze, specifically beer.
This has been true since Hong Kong’s first days as a British colony, back then the British soldiers would mix porter and ginger beer in an effort to fight the heat. The local commanders encouraged their soldiers to consume beer in Hong Kong, in order to keep them away from the local rice spirits that left them far rowdier and prone to chaotic behaviour. By the 1860’s Hong Kong was importing over 12,000 barrels of beer every year from the UK alone. Fast-forwarding even further to the end of the 19th Century and Hong Kong was being flooded by pale lager from Denmark, Germany, the USA and Japan. Glancing at supermarket shelves you may think that’s where the story ended, but in fact, Hong Kong has a rich history of local brewing too.
Hong Kong’s first brewery Imperial Brewery opened and started production in 1907 by a pair of Portuguese entrepreneurs that never gained any major notoriety but did kick-start the potential for brewing in Hong Kong. In 1933 a merchant by the name of Jehangir Ruttonjee opened a brewery in the (then) rural town of Sham Tseng, on the shores of Rambler Channel in the New Territories. The beer was branded ‘HB’ for ‘Hong Kong Brewery’ and through the course of its life it overcame undercutting by foreign merchants, military occupation and even American bombing strikes. In 1948 Ruttonjee sold the brewery to the San Miguel Corporation who continued brewing beer there until 1996.
Hong Kong’s beer market had been firmly established and today there are nearly 20 breweries in the Hong Kong area, producing stouts, pale ales, lagers, IPAs and every variety of craft beers imaginable!
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most exciting brewers keeping this scene going:
Here's our recommended list of local breweries to try in Hong Kong
- Carbon Brews
- Hong Kong Beer Co.
- Moonzen Brewery
- Yardley Brothers Beer
- Young Master Brewery
- Black Kite
- HK Yau
- Seven Brews
- Mak’s Brewery
One of the more recent breweries in town and quickly causing a stir Carbon Brews has exploded onto the Hong Kong craft beer scene. Their funky fruity flavours are complemented by eye-catching design and innovative approaches to their blends. ‘Earth People’ is an excellent year-rounder and a fantastic place to start for anyone getting bored with mainstream lager and finding themselves in need of more flavor. If you’re after something with a bit more punch check out ‘Crazy Rich Lupins’, it’s tropical notes of mango and papaya are perfect for summer but be careful in the heat – it’s 8.4%!
Order For Delivery Here: http://bit.ly/BHCBREWS
Location: Unit A1, G/F, Union Industrial Center, 27-31 Au Pui Wan Street, Fo Tan
Contact: 2620 0095
A playful riff on the expat moniker, Gwei.Lo have quickly established themselves as one of the most exciting, innovative and forward-thinking breweries on the Hong Kong scene 2015. Gwei.Lo was started by Ian Jebbit and his wife Emily, and Joesph Gould who share a simple dream: to create fun, fresh, natural, unpasteurised beers for the people of Hong Kong and Asia to enjoy. Gwei.Lo produce a broad range of Session Ales between 4% and 6%, ensuring they have something for everyone from first timer to enthusiast. They have a core range including Pilsner, Pale Ale, Session IPA, Hoppy Wheat, Citrus Crusher and American IPA. All their range is very enjoyable, their IPA is particularly delicious and a must try for any serious ale-lover. It is brewed with a secret blend of European Malt and South Pacific and American Hops.
Order For Delivery Here: http://bit.ly/BHGWEILO
Location: Fo Tan
Heroes Beer Co.
While all these breweries made this list for their delicious beers, it’s worth pointing out that Heroes isn’t just about delicious beers – they’re also about beautiful beers. Their designs have become well known for their eye-catching and vivid aesthetics and you may recognize them from their adornment of you local alcohol aisle. Their flavours are equally impressive, make sure you check out ‘Hangry Donut’ their American wheat beer.
Order For Delivery Here: https://bit.ly/2T4Dbxq
Location: Room 1411, Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road
Contact: 3996 9740
Hong Kong Beer Co.
Hong Kong Beer Co. was established in 1995 and became Asia’s first craft brewery to sell beer in bottles and kegs exclusively. From there they have gone from strength to strength, first becoming a nationally recognized brand and now a global one that is quickly putting Hong Kong on the map for ale-lovers worldwide. Every beer is intrinsically influenced by Hong Kong in taste, tone and recipe. ‘Dragon’s Back’ is an absolute must for lovers of Pale Ale!
Order For Delivery Here: https://bit.ly/2yNF6jg
Location: Unit 5A, Ground Floor, Wah Shing Centre, 5 Fung Yip Street, Chai Wan
Contact: 2580 2360
As a brand Moonzen are obsessed with the respectful celebration of Hong Kong culture and Chinese folklore. They draw inspiration from Chinese mythology when creating their brews and use distinctly Chinese flavours. Their beers are hand-crafted and presented in beautifully illustrated bottles or signature golden gourd glasses. You can even head on over to their brewery to see how these exquisite beers come together! Their flagship ale ‘Thunder God’ is a definite crowdpleaser, more experienced ale-heads may want to check out their ‘Moon Goddess’ chocolate stout.
Order For Delivery Here: https://bit.ly/2AsYdPZ
Location: 2A New East Sun Building, 18 Shing Yip Street, Kwun Tong
Contact: 3709 2829
Yardley Brothers Beer
Many of you Hong Kong beer-lovers will immediately recognize the Yardley Brothers Beer label. It’s quickly become a mainstay of Hong Kong boozing – and rightfully so! Their brews are playfully named like ‘Hong Kong Bastard’ and ‘Quit Your Job’ but back up their humor with robust and refreshing flavours that have kept Hong Kong coming back for more. Yardley are very quickly gaining a reputation as some of the most innovative craft brewers in Hong Kong and definitely worth your time and ‘research’. We wouldn’t judge you if you ‘researched’ their entire range. Strictly for scientific purposes of course.
Order For Delivery Here: https://bit.ly/2WYPoou
Location: Unit 10, 5th floor, Block A, Wah Tat Industrial Centre, 8 Wah Sing Street, Kwai Hing
Contact: 9543 4963
Young Master Brewery
Young Master Brewery is perhaps not quite as well equipped for hospitality as some of the other brewers on this list but it does allow customers to tour it’s premises on Saturdays (and sample all of their delicious ales). Young Master are well known influencers of the craft beer movement in Hong Kong and their local-inspired ales are well worth a visit. All of their beers are phenomenal but hop lovers should make sure to check out the 1842 Island Imperial IPA for a potent hoppy character and robust malt backbone.
Order For Delivery Here: http://bit.ly/BHYMAST
Location: G/F, Sungib Industrial Centre, 53 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang
Contact: 2783 8907
Lovecraft is one of the more recent craft breweries to come to the scene and is already popular, available at a lot of popular bars and enjoyed by many. The founder Perry Lam enjoys alcohol as much as any other person and has a large amount of experience and knowledge in brewing. Being schooled in brewing at Siebel Institute of Technology, Chicago and Doemens Academy, Munich, completing the Master Brewer Program in Germany, he is one of the few master brewers in Hong Kong. Lovecraft are specialists in some very tasty German-style lagers, such as the Helles lager, a bright, golden lager with a little hoppiness and light bitter finish. For people interested in hoppier beers, you can try the IPA, an Indian Pale Lager, crisp, light-bodied, citrusy, and fruity flavours and very easy to drink. Check out Lovecraft beers on Beerhound.
Order For Delivery Here: COMING SOON
Location: Unit 52, G/F, Blk E, Tsing Yi Industrial Centre, Ph 2, 1 33 Cheung Tat Road, Tsing Yi, Hong Kong
Contact: 2199 0077
Black Kite brewery is one of Hong Kong's more established breweries that was started by two brothers David and Daniel Gallie in 2015. They left their office jobs at the same time and decided it would be a good time to make 'good' beer in Hong Kong, being fed up with the boring beer available. The brand name comes from the big birds that sour Hong Kong's skyline which they saw regularly from their office buildings. Their head brewer Johannes Lux has designed all their recipies with malts from Germany and UK and hops from America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Black Kite have a golden ale, porter and a delicious IPA that is fresh, citrusy and fruity and slightly flora. Check them out on Beerhound.
Order For Delivery Here: https://bit.ly/2WVe4y9
Location: 11B Derrick Industrial Building, 49 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Hong Kong
Carlsberg has collaborated with Brooklyn Brewery from New York to create a series of flavourful beers to capture the multiplicity of cultures that is Hong Kong. HK Yau is crafted with true artisanship with a blend of local flavours and unique recipes to bring the vibrant spirit of yau, or friends. Yau means sharing the spirit of 'friendship' in Chinese. Currently, HK YAU offers a series of three flavourful beers, including wheat beer, a lager, and a tasty pale ale that is dry hopped with American and New Zealand hops.
Order For Delivery Here: COMING SOON
Location: Part of Carlsberg Brewery
Seven Brews is a a product of true thirst, passion and obsession. It was their seventh batch of home brew that was drunk in one sitting in Hong Kong that really hit the spot…. as far as they can recollect, Seven Brews was born then and there. Too Easy! Seven Brews launched in the seventh month of 2016 with a debaucherous street party, to date they continue to provide brilliant range of beers that have craved a nice corner in the craft beer scnene. These include a Pale Ale, Golden Ale and a very nicely balanced IPA that has tropical fruit notes and a generous hop aroma. They'll be listed on Beerhound soon so stand by.
Order For Delivery Here: COMING SOON
While actually a Japanese import, COEDO deserve special mention here as their Hong Kong location is their first and only overseas venture. You can sample all of their year-round ales, plus limited and seasonal beers that are not available for mainstream purchase. While you’re there why not have a nibble on some authentic Saitama-style yakitori!
Order Here: http://bit.ly/BHCOEDO
Location: Shop C, G/F, 50-56 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay
Contact: 2619 9011
Mak’s brewery is often described as ‘beer made by locals for locals’. This is certainly true, three local guys named Ken, Ball and Mark that had their own vision of Hong Kong Cantonese beer. But in truth it’s become a lot more than that, this is ‘beer made by locals for the world’. A flavored glimpse of life in Hong Kong, exclusive craft beers made with local ingredients like dried longan and goji berries, dried mint leaves and local honey. Mak’s brewery aim to capture Hong Kong in a brew so the whole world can taste it. Make sure you try their Mint Beer if you’re feeling adventurous, alternatively you can’t go wrong with their Longan Pale Ale!
Order For Delivery Here: COMING SOON
Location: 12C, Jing Ho Industrial Building, 78-84 Wang Lung Street, Tsuen Wan
Contact: 6174 7740
Hopefully this article has given you some amazing ideas for beers to try in Hong Kong this summer, not only are they a great way to stay refreshed they’re also a great way to support your local craft ale scene. And whether you’re at the beach, the boat, your private party or corporate function - make sure you order them from Beerhound. We sniff out all the best beers and deliver them direct to you, just head on over to beerhound.com.hk and start ordering!