In 2010, Great Leap Brewing kicked off in Beijing as Beijing’s first craft brewer. Today, their beers are available in three wonderful bars/tap houses in Beijing and I’ve seen their beers in Hong Kong and Shanghai as well.
Thus far it is a wonderful success story, that compares much more favourably to the outcome of Mao’s same-named Great Leap Forward programme of 1959- 1961. (An absolute shocker of an economic programme, it aimed to accelerate transformation in China, but resulted in a massive famine amongst other things and saw 10s of millions of deaths through starvation and terror). I
n 2015, Greap Leap has 3 wonderful brew pubs scattered across the North East of Beijing. All three are worth visiting, though particular homage must be paid to the founding venue in Doujiao Hutong. Buried as deep as one can bury a brewpub in the hutongs of Dongcheng, this is a Beijing beer experience par excellence.
All three venues offer 20 taps today are naturally dominated by Great Leap offerings. There is good camaraderie between the Chinese craft brewers and Great Leap has guest taps, which variously supported Boxing Cat, Monkey Bar and Slow Boat. In the Xinyuan Lu outlet a huge laser cut steel map of Beijing shows the location of other craft brew outlets in Beijing.
The original venue is a compact classic. It has a courtyard and a small bar, but still manages to offer 20 taps. There’s no room for a kitchen, but they’ve done a terrific job of organising local restaurants to deliver all variety of cuisines. A unique twist on BYO food, which is a terrific concept.
The other two venues are monsters and would compete with similar venues in the US for fit-out, beer variety and food options. Both have polished concrete floors, exposed pipes, and steel and wood seating. Very industrial and modern. The punters seem to love it. Plenty of food options prepared onsite. #45 has gone for pizzas as its shtick and #12 has a broader menu of US style comfort food like burgers etc
The best t-shirts in Beijing are made by Plastered 8. Cleverly, Great Leap get Plastered 8 to make their t-shirts for them. Top quality and worth the 100RMB. That’s the kind of place Great Leap is. No expense spared.
Great Leap Original: 6 Doujiao Hutong, Dongcheng, Beijing
Great Leap #12: 12 Xinzhong Street, Dongcheng, Beijing
Great Leap #45: 45 Xinyuan Street, Chaoyang, Beijing (just off the street, look for the lit up iron logo)