Back in China. This time revisiting the Province of Hainan – China’s self proclaimed Hawaii. It is on the same latitude and has beaches and Palm Trees, but the similarities stop there. When I last visited 10 years ago, our family’s stay was limited to Sanya on Hainan’s Southern tip. This time my 11yo son and I are covering the east coast from Haikou in the North down to Sanya.
8 million people live in Hainan and 2 million live in Haikou. You can fly direct to Haikou from Sydney (9hrs 40 minutes) and there’s accomodation from Hostels to Hiltons.
After a day’s touristing in punishing heat my son demanded a big feed. Research indicates that Sharky’s Sports Bar would fit that bill and I was a chance at watching the State of Origin. Sharky delivered on both counts. It also threw up a couple of beer surprises. My bucket of Urbrau Holiday Wheat was delicious. It turns out Urbrau is a large craft brewery based in Handan, Hebei Province that’s been going since 2015. Read The Beijinger’s article for the background, but I’m surprised I haven’t seen it before now.
The other surprise was Sharky’s own IPA. Other than it was nicely bitter, I can’t tell you anything more about it other than “the boss makes it”. Not enough info to create an Untappd unique.
Thanks to the Great Hop Forward’s list of breweries in China, I knew that there was a craft brewery called “Drunk Bear” in Haikou. Fortunately for me (and more importantly my son), Drunk Bear was 500 metres from Sharky and Sharky’s staff pointed me in the right direction (first left on the same side of Sharky).
It was always going to be a short visit. The brewer was the barman. Using translate apps he explained that he had five beers on tap. He doesn’t have English names for his beers, but he really wanted me to try “Coco” beer. He offers a taster. Haikou is sometimes known as the Coconut City, given the number of trees that it has. This IPA has Reef tanning oil aroma, but a smooth coconut hued bitterness.
The language barrier and the time limited the visit, but Drunk Bear is definitely worthy of deeper investigation. If only they had a t-shirt.
Sharky: 16 Guamao Road, Longhua, Hainan, China
Drunk Bear: use the photo below