Mutianyu has graced the pages of BotF on at least one other occasion. It is simply a great escape from the metropolis and just perfect for a casual Sunday lunch at The Schoolhouse that also has a wonderful glass blowing exhibition.
This north Asia correspondent actually took the wrong exit that enabled a bit of further exploring of the surrounding locality. On the edge of quite large and well know city of Hairou still within the municipality of Beijing we happened across what appeared to be a special development zone complete with new office buildings, apartments, shopping centres, a new highway in other words another fine example of China growth or dare I say possible excess-capacity. I attempted to Google “Light and Shadow Town of Fame in China” but surprisingly found not a single search result. I guess they haven’t started promotional initiatives as yet.
The short sojourn to Mutianyu is via narrow country roads that are littered with small stalls selling stone fruits and mellons from the surrounding locality. The people have a happiness about them that is rare to find in the big cities of China. On our way back we stopped and bought some fruit. My Mandarin is now at a level that I could explain to the local fruit stall business owner the concept of BotF as a growing Global NGO, the progressive attempts of its members to review the beers of world and all that encapsulates what it is to love and be loved about BotF. Actually that is crap (about my Mandarin) – he was totally confused and the young BotF’s kept reminding me how bad my accent is. Having said that Mr. Zhao (his alias) was happy to assist in a photographic escapade but only after I had paid for the fruit.
Old Bobby Ale is another Jenny Wang’s newby and I was surprised to learn is owned by the large Russian Brewer Baltika based in St Petersburg. Baltika describe Old Bobby a special beer brewed fermentation method with the use of English malt, Pale Ale Malt. It is dried at high temperatures and has a slightly roasted malt aroma, ideal for light ales. Horse’s yeast, used traditionally in the production of British ales, fruit beers imparts essential tones. To be honest it was a little too fruity for me but nonetheless was good to wet the whistle with after the day’s escapades.