Back of the Ferry was delighted when HKBeerGuy offered a couple of tips about where to try some good beers in response to one of the recent missives from Hong Kong. Both tips were followed with some gusto and both tips proved to be on the money. I’ve already written about Young Master Ales. By the time I left Hong Kong, I tried three of their range – the Classic, Hong Kong Black and Rye Old Fashioned. The latter two beers were part of the Robust Series and both weighed in at a hefty 6.5%. Stunning beers, with the Rye Old Fashioned, being particularly meaty. I tried the Rye Old Fashioned at the sibling establishment of Black Bird, which is the Black Star on 81 Win Lock Street, Shueng Wan. Not only did they serve the Young Master on tap – there were bottles and branded glasses of two varieties of 961 Beer from Lebanon. Globalisation at full pitch and a smart little joint.
HKBeerGuy’s second tip was the one that I followed up on the most. In the end, I visited the Roundhouse Taproom on three separate occasions and thoroughly enjoyed each time. It claims to be Hong Kong’s first ever taproom, and even though Tipping Point has a nice collection of taps – there’s no doubt that the Roundhouse is Hong Kong’s largest taproom. There’s a staggering 25 taps available and the range and quality of the beer is stunning. It’s staggering because the Roundhouse is not a big venue. The Roundhouse is in a cul-de-sac at 62 Peel Street, Central and patrons can spill outside on to the road with much more safety than some of the bars on Staunton or Elgin Streets. But, gees, if it was raining it wouldn’t take much to fill the joint. I had a quiet dinner on the Sunday night after the Sevens – and I think most of the action was down in Lan Kwai Fong or the lower reaches of Central or Wanchai. The food is Texas Barbecue style and the Combo is the sensible order. There’s a choice of 3 meats – brisket, pulled port and the third escapes me, whilst there’s a choice of sides including cheesy squash and beans. It’s filling and hearty – though for mine the pork needed longer.
I’d missed the visit to Hong Kong by Beijing’s Great Leap Brewing by a couple of days. As a result, the taps had no shortage of varieties from Beijing’s first and most prodigious craft brewer. There was everything from the flagship Pale Ale #6 to a Chai Masala Stout. American Brewers and the ubiquitous Mikkeller are also well represented on the tap range as well. In addition to a Chai Masala Stout, there’s also the weird and wonderful from Lost Coast Brewery with their Watermelon Wheat. The whole experience is very slick with the waitresses carrying iPads with the beer selection on them, but I prefer to read the lovingly maintained chalkboard and look at the tapheads. The Roundhouse will always be on my list if I visit Hong Kong. They do need to think about their merchandising approach. The t-shirts look great – but the XXL would have been tight on Kylie Minogue and $120HKD for a souvenir glass is a little ridiculous – particularly as you are paying $88HKD for a pint.
Just down the road is on the few alternatives to 7-11 for buying takeaway beers. The Q Club, which is on the same side of Peel Street as the Roundhouse sells a range of US beer including Kona and Gordon Biersch. Open ’til late also.