[Editor's note: Panda Brew Pub closed for renovation last week, with no word yet on when it will reopen]. Only a few years ago, the craft brew scene in Beijing was reserved for a handful of homebrewers and even fewer hole-in-the-wall pubs. It was charming. The industry was simple, fueled by hobbyists who wanted an escape from the brutality that was a Tsingtao hangover. Then, remarkably just in time for a surge of craft brew trends back home, in came stainless steel fermenters, imported hops, festivals, and even craft sausages, and now, anyone who is anyone hasn’t been through Beijing without sampling a frothy one from one of the major brewpubs around town. Joining the ranks is one of the first Chinese representatives from the Beijing Homebrewing Society to go big while mainly brewing for a Chinese market: Panda Brew Pub.

You’ll recognize Panda Brew by the straight-faced panda on their label, but as with their venue – which in 2013 was one of the tiniest pubs in Beijing at just 15 square meters – their mascot has a new look, and it’s fierce. In the two-storey bar, a few accent walls are covered in no-nonsense, steampunk-inspired graffiti. The entryway is flanked by eight stainless steel fermenters. The space itself feels infinitely large, especially if you’ve called on either their first location or their miniscule former spot on Wudaoying. Summer months will see the opening of a terrace.

The intensities extend to the fluorescent lighting, which sorely stands out from the pub’s warm, rustic competition, but it’s a feature that can be overlooked after kicking back a few Panda Brew beers, which for owners Dinghao Pan and Kurt Xia, is the main focus. If there’s any doubt as to how much dedication and experience go into brews like the “Pure Red” Honey Ale (RMB 38), just ask Pan how many glasses of strong ales he taste tested while judging a Shanghai craft brewing competition. (Answer: 40).

As of publication, Panda Brew pub is closed for renovation, with no word on when it will reopen.

Panda Brew Pub
Daily 10am-2am. 14 Dongsi Bei Dajie, Dongcheng District (6408 7922)
东城区 东四北大街14号
50m south of Beixinqiao station (Line 5)


Photos by Mitchell Pe Masilun

Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog