The Beijing Beer Geeks Festival.
Enough said. Well, maybe not enough since I’m going to write more about it.
This was the first annual (if it is the first, is it really annual?) Beer Geeks Festival. I showed up as it opened and found a lot of very friendly people and people ready to try some fantastic beers. Maybe that isn’t a surprise since I doubt most go to beer fests in bad moods and are not excited about drinking a lot of home brews and craft brews.
I have been a big fan of craft brews for a long time. I grew up in Healdsburg, CA, which is in the heart of the wine country and have always loved wine and beer. Especially when tied together with food, it is wonderful.
This brew fest had about 10 or 12 breweries and a collection of home brews from people who wanted to enter into a competition. I ended up talking to Kris at Jing A brewery. He grew up in Toronto and moved here about 11 years ago. He and his partner, Alex, who is from Vermont if I remember correctly, started brewing here recently and their Flying Fist Ale was superb. Kris gave me a lot of information and was very friendly. http://www.capitalbrew.com/
I then met a few other foreigners living here in Beijing and hung out with them. Two worked for China Daily and another one worked for Gawker. There were other people just traveling through and a number of people who worked for internet start ups. This is a pretty common occurrence here in Beijing as it seems to pull a lot of younger people who want to work on the internet and lead a different life than in Silicon Valley or San Francisco. Most of the people I met were mid 20s to early 30s. I was definitely the older one in the crowd. However, I’m used to that as I tend to hang with younger crowds because of my personality and the way I view the world. I’m not settling down at this point and want to continue traveling, learning new things, and being amazed by what is out there. I don’t want to take anything for granted.
But, back to the beer! There were a lot of excellent breweries and I can see Beijing becoming an excellent stop for people who are traveling around the world, trying new and smaller breweries and brew pubs, and really putting itself on the “beer map” in the near future. Shanghai may be much bigger and have the massive breweries but Beijing has the best.