Showing posts from December, 2017

Great Leap Brewing 大跃啤酒 - Beijing, China

On my recent quick trip to Beijing I made time to visit two craft breweries. One of them was Great Leap Brewing (大跃啤酒). There are three Great Leap locations in the city but my schedule only allowed me to choose one. Great Leap #45, a pizzeria in the Chaoyang District, was on my way to the airport, so that's the one I selected.

The #45 Building The taxi driver dropped me on a street corner near the brewery and it took several minutes of desperately walking around and employing the help of an English speaking stranger to help me find the brewery entrance; it was off a side-street and not highly visible. The brown building was utilitarian looking. It appeared that the brewery consumed the entire ground floor, with apartments on the upper floors.

Since I wasn't able to visit the other Great Leap locations, I can't say if they have a similar aesthetic. The dining room at #45 had an industrial feel with concrete, exposed ductwork and large, heavy, communal tables. There were fer…

Wooly Pig Farm Brewery - Fresno, Ohio, USA

Another weekend, another microbrewery opening. The craft beer explosion shows no signs of slowing down as new, small breweries continue to open and fill in gaps on the map. I had the pleasure of visiting Wooly Pig Farm Brewery (Fresno, Ohio, USA) during its grand opening weekend.

The Farm Fresno, Ohio was unknown to me until I visited Wooly Pig. It's a township east of Columbus and south of Cleveland, with a fair amount of farmland and more animals than people. And now it's home to a farm-based craft brewery named for the fuzzy porcine residents of the farm. In fact, as I concluded my 90-minute drive from Columbus, I was greeted by the wooly (mangalitsa) pigs who were grazing in the pasture adjacent to the gravel parking lot. The pigs were curious as I walked up to the fence (it's electric, so don't touch!) to say hello and to photograph them. I didn't get too close to the cute piglets, as their mothers were vocally protective of them.

My first glimpse of the farm…

Fifth Street Brewpub - Dayton, Ohio, USA

Dayton, Ohio, USA has some breweries with unusual concepts. My next featured brewery is Fifth Street Brewpub, which operates with a co-op model. Customers do not need to join the co-op, but if they do, they become member-owners with a share of the business for only $125. My friend Shelly and I don't live in Dayton, so we chose not to join, but we did enjoy our visit to the brewery.

Atmosphere Driving up to Fifth Street, the brewery is easy to find. It's a set of two green buildings on a street corner in the St. Anne's Hill neighborhood. The main building might have been a house or a corner store when it was new; it contains the bar, the dining room and the kitchen. The smaller building is the brewhouse, and in between the two buildings is a beer garden that would have been a wonderful setting for sipping beer had the weather been warmer on our visit. It was too cold to drink outside, so Shelly and I sat down at the bar and were greeted by Mary.

The first thing I noti…

LazyLeisure Beer House 懒马舍 - Hefei, Anhui, China

My recent visit to Hefei, China was for purposes other than touring breweries, but I still managed to visit one local brewpub. Many thanks to my hosts in Hefei for giving me the opportunity to meet the team at LazyLeisure Beer House (懒马舍), something I would not have been able to do on my own.

My first experience with LazyLeisure Beer House (LBH) brews was two days before my brewery visit. I was at a party with my fellow traveling companions. Five of us from Columbus, Ohio, USA went to Hefei, China as part of a sister city marathon exchange. The night before the marathon, our host Echo invited us to meet with runners and English club members from the city. Echo's friend Francesca had learned that one of the party attendees (me) was a craft beer fan, and she brought two different LBH beers to the party. The evening included some party games, discussion of cultural differences and holidays in China and the US, and the making of homemade dumplings and moon cakes. And for me and a few …