Drinking in Jingdezhen – Southern Sloth

Quite simply, last night was one of the great beer experiences of my life. Perhaps influenced by the journey to get here, perhaps the brewery’s name, perhaps the company, perhaps the beer – or all of the above. My night at Southern Sloth will live in the memory for a long time.Southern Sloth is a brewery in Jingdezhen, run by Kai and his father who is the brewer. It is a three story building down an alley off another alley in amongst one of the many ceramic districts for which Jingdezhen is famous. Rather than try and provide the address, I’ve taken a photo of the directions provided to me. The cabbie almost found it, but then phoned Kai who came down the alley to greet me. When he realised my brother had visited months earlier, I was treated like an old friend.Kai is a graduate of ceramics from a Jingdezhen University. He still practices that but the Southern Sloth has now become his full time gig, with his father and they are doing wonderful things. Over the course of the evening people poured in to be greeted warmly by Kai and his father. A family business at its best. Dad is an engineer – “a genius” according to Kai who turned his mind to brewing a couple of years ago and quite frankly has become bloody good at it.The breadth of the range is amazing. I started with a fresh Summer Ale, but over the course of the evening tried Vienna lager, sour wheat, IPA and Mulberry beer. Two beers stood out. I’m a sucker for a Hefeweizen and Southern Sloth’s version was supreme. Beer of the trip for mine and hard to see it being beaten. The second standout was called Schisandra. The back story to Schisandra is that Kai and his came from Yichun, which is a city in the far, far north of China (further north than Harbin). The Schisandra berry is specific to that part of China and neighbouring Russia and is used for all sorts of things. Why not beer?There’s plenty of expat support for Kai. The porcelain and ceramic community is strong in Jingdezhen and Southern Sloth is a happy gathering place. Great chatting about baseball to Dryden and Andrea also.Interestingly on my hotel there were posters on the wall advertising a Craft Beer restaurant – which looked massive. I showed a photo to Kai who told me they went broke pretty quickly. “It was all about money – not the beer”. He explained that Southern Sloth cares about their beer “It comes from our heart. We don’t make shitty beer”. They should be proud for they have created something truly wonderful. I truly hope it won’t be my last visit.Southern Sloth: Jingdezhen. Use the instructions below or call 15879985039