Friday, November 5, 2010

Nov 5 2010 | Beijing: drinking, smoking, what's next?

Enjoying the brews at Okhotsk
Spent the morning online researching brewpubs, trying to figure out the Beijing microbrew scene. Based on phone calls, defunct websites, and scattered blogosphere reports of closures, we determined that more brewpubs have come and gone in the past 5 years in Beijing than have ever existed in most cities: Hof Brauhaus, Uhland Bier Salon, Great Wall Restaurant, Shuttinger & Tamm, Toper Beer House, Tai Yang Palace, The Brewery Tap, and even the San Francisco Brewing Company to name a few of the deceased brewpubs in Beijing.

Randomly passed by a Russian restaurant
Walking to the post office (which is perhaps the most efficient in all of our global travels), passed one of the famous Chinese smoking babies sitting with his mom on a sidewalk bench. He was puffing away at an unlit cigarette - perhaps she is trying to ween him off it. Old habits die hard.

Made it to what seems to be the only microbrewpub in Beijing (I don't consider Paulaner "micro"): Beijing Okhotsk Beer at Sanyuanqiao subway station. The cuisine was varied with some Japanese and mostly European and American influences. The Hefeweizen and Mild Stout were good, better than I remember having at the two brewpubs in Shanghai.

First Apple Store in Beijing (second
in China) for you Apple fanboys
Subjected ourselves to some torture this afternoon as we returned to the "scene of the crime" (touristy shopping area) to pick up gifts and some requested knock-off goods for a few folks. Took the subway to Dongzhimen and had dinner at an upscale local restaurant - no English signage and no other westerners in the place. The extensive menu offered us modernized traditional Chinese cuisine: perch with pumpkin sauce cooked in aluminum foil, shrimp with kimchee (ok that one was Korean), chocolate-covered yam strips, and the like. After dinner, walked through the Sanlitun bar area, but found it too Western and trendy for our tastes. It's becoming difficult to find any China in China :)

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