Happy times for people who prefer humble drinks at the local hole-in-the-wall. Lots of interesting new brewpubs have opened up recently, ideal for people looking for niche beers in a no-pressure environment.
Cheers to keepin' on, keepin' on!
GOOD GOOD BEER
Not just an extremely snappy name, Good Good Beer is a good good place to grab a pint, particularly if you're looking to explore Chinese craft beer coming from around the country. It's run by this guy called King, who you've definitely seen in a dance club or bar if you've been in Shanghai for more than 10 minutes. King has a background in fashion design and had a streetwear boutique in this area before opening this place. Maybe this is him embracing an early semi-retirement and a simpler life as a hole-in-the-wall beer bar proprietor. It's an easier existence with ready access to booze if you need it.
They do two main things: coffee during the day, with their own roast, and then 7 rotating taps of Chinese craft beer. It changes a lot on a blackboard menu, with guests choosing their general preference — lager, IPA, wheat beer — and then trying out whichever China-based craft beer might be in that slot on a given day. Could be from Beijing, Chengdu, or wherever else fine beer is brewed in the PRC.
Prices are 30rmb-45rmb for a 360mL and 45rmb to 69rmb for a 470mL. Exceedingly fair.
So, given the owner's background, the crowd is kids who all know each other from the fashion/underground nightlife scene, having a more chill night out with Chinese craft beer in a one-roomer on Julu Lu. They stay open laaaaaaate — like 5 or 6 in the morning on Friday and Saturday — catering to a clubbing crowd looking for a nightcap and maybe a drunken game of chess. It's dive-y. It's hip. It's a thumbs up.
Fresh BEer 30KM
Definitely kind of a weird one. Here's Fresh Beer 30km, a delivery-focused craft beer brand from a brewing equipment manufacturing company out in Ningbo. The parent company actually makes the factory equipment for brewing beer and this is them getting into the game themselves with a line of their own product. They have a new brick-and-mortar bar on the second floor of that United Valley place — the thing Heim is in. Beer is available by the half pint, pint, can, pitcher, and bag.
Yeah, you can order a bag of beer. 1.5-liter bags, from 145rmb to 310rmb and 2.5-liter bags from 225rmb to 490rmb. Huh.
Fresh Beer 30km: It's a look. It's really yellow. But then again beer is yellow so... okay? It's small. It's scalable. And it's infinitely reproducible, which is what's been happening in the past year all over China; Fresh Beer 30Km stores have been opening en mass, with five in Shanghai alone.
They cover a lot of categories — IPAs, stouts, pilsners, witbier, and more — tilting hard into the fruiter end of the spectrum. They have a strawberry, waxberry, a blackcurrant weissber, and a white peach ale, among other things. The menu is geared towards a newer audience, introducing general categories of beer to people who might not have the background. They have "American IPA" for example.
One to check out... if you enjoy your craft beer by the bag-load. Delivered freshly to your door.
Beer Temple has been open for a minute already but they started during the Covid days, so we figure they're still allowed to be called a "new bar" for a little while. If you opened up during lockdown, or thereabouts, there's a grace period.
But don't sleep on this craft beer and bottle shop; it's a labor of love and easily one of the better bottle shops in Shanghai. Beer Temple is serving up 8 taps of craft beer sourced from around the world and hundreds and hundreds of labels in multiple fridges. It's almost daunting how much choice there is, from indie beer labels to those expensive wine bottle-looking ones that come in limited releases from Belgian monasteries.
The owner spent a lot of time in New Zealand and has translated that experience into a full fridge of beers just from that island nation alone. He's a chill dude and can do the craft beer bro convo with you if you want but seems not overly fussed about it.
Lots of low-key reverence for craft beer here at Beer Temple with basically every bit of wall space occupied by a craft beer can of arcane origins. It's actually really impressive.
They have rotating tap specials, guest beers, and tap take-over events, as well, if you're looking to get more involved.
For the Spanish beer drinkers, and coming from the "Spanish Craft Beer Association of China", no less, here's Lupulo, "cerveza sin tonterias" -- "no-nonsense beer." They're serving a few taps of craft beer but it's mostly a bottle shop, with unique labels from Spain, of course, and beyond. The main order here -- or at least the one to get started on -- is Er Boqueron, a Spanish beer made from Mediterranean Sea water from an area near Valencia known for its level of purity.
"Beer with seawater."
Doesn't sound all that appetizing but it's actually really light and refreshing.
Very "crushable" as they say.
Moving on to other Spanish labels, they've got tons and tons from Dawat a brewery out of Cuenca, Spain, Rosita Bomba, Arriaca, and more. Deep cuts for fans of Spanish craft beer, manifesting in varied flavor profiles.
The space itself is low-key and approachable; Euro-ish and decorated in original art. If you get hungry, they have a food share deal on with Zup Pizza Bar across the street.The Spanish expat crowd keeps things lively, busting out the acoustic instruments for an impromptu jam from time to time.
Or so we heard. When we went they were listening to a Spanish radio station playing Queen, the Grease Soundtrack, and the Backstreet Boys. (Classic Spanish stuff.)
One to check out if your love for Spanish people intersects with a love of bottle shops. If you're Spanish, hey it's just down the block from Tres Perros, you might as well stick your head in.