Yep, I’m on another trip to China. As someone that likes to collects things (stamps, bottle tops, @Untappd uniques), I get a little obsessed. Ever since I visited China in 2009, I’ve been working my way through the 34 provinces. After my last trip I calculated I was 13 short. With airfares being low and flush with Hilton Honours points, it was a great opportunity to knock off a few more. So, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hunan, Yunnan, Sichuan and Chongqing here we come. First though I to fly intow Xiamen in Fujian province (cheap direct airfare takes priority). What a fortuitous decision. Xiamen provides the best of everything – a cool beer drinking experience, some ferries and a combination of natural and man made attractions.
It is also the closest place to Taiwan (considered one of the 34) and it is possible to do a day trip to Kinmen Island by ferry and experience some ROC along with PRC life. Xiamen is a large city on the ocean and the bulk of the attractions are on the eponymous Xiamen Island. The Chinese are the best bridge builders in the world and Xiamen is joined at the north to the mainland by the 3280m(!) Jimei Bridge.
I arrived pretty late and needed to find a venue to watch the Australia V Peru World Cup game. Fortunately, I’d discovered a venue to satisfy two of my great needs – Fat Fat Beer Horse. A craft brewery with multiple screens. They are an accommodating bunch and even though every screen was showing France v Denmark – they switched one screen over to the Aussies. As the game wore on, my focus understandably switched away from the inevitable heartbreak and moved towards an amazing diverse range of tap beers.
Fat Fat Beer Horse has 14 taps. Probably about 10 were going and the breadth of variety would rival any brewery. Probably the only gap was a lager or Pilsner. Imperial Stout,a gin sour, two IPAs, an outstanding Amber, a German Alt and a refreshing Berliner Weisse were all pouring. Overall the quality was very high. The Amber in particular was rich, malty and deeply satisfying. FatFat Beer House also offers food – a burger, a couple of pizzas, house fries and a fantastic spicy sausage that I couldn’t go past. There’s three levels to drink on, including a large rooftop. Just a fabulous place to visit and drink. Can be tricky to find. Where Daxue Lu ends and becomes Shapowei, you’ll see a little sign for FatFat Beer Horse. Take a photo and then go into the Shapowei courtyard. Show people the photo and they’ll guide you.
Normally I leave the brewery to the end of my visit to a town as a reward for being cultural. Other way round on this trip. Gulangyu is a great place to visit at sunset. Again trick to get there (read Trip Advisor) – but the view looking over the old European houses on the island, across the water to the gleaming new skyscrapers from Gulangyu’s highest point is a must do. Walking the old streets after dark is also a buzz and the ferry back ain’t bad either.
Good start to the trip.
FatFat Beer Horse: Type 60 Shapowei, Xiamen into Google Maps and you’ll be in the vicinity. If you see the sign below – you are close.