Bionic Brew | Electric Craft Beer Born in Shenzhen

Hong Kong

By in Brewery, Hong Kong, News, Shenzhen, Tap Room Comments Off on French Chamber Hong Kong explains craft beer in Shenzhen

French Chamber Hong Kong explains craft beer in Shenzhen

Read the full article about craft beer in Shenzhen on FCCIHK.

Bionic Brew delivering craft beer in Shenzhen

Bionic Brew delivering craft beer in Shenzhen

The French Chamber of Hong Kong sits down with Joe for a pint and a discussion on how he’s survived two forced police closures to mold the city’s beer scene with the first brewery and founding the Shenzhen craft beer festival.

When the first incarnation of Bionic Brew’s bar & microbrewery was ordered to close by the local Shenzhen authorities, its founder Joe Finkenbinder blacked out the windows and carried on brewing in secret from the late evenings until sunrise. By day he would distribute his creation to bars around the city.

The move to a second location lasted only a couple of months before being shut down in similar fashion. Joe still isn’t sure why, but he has his guesses. Setting up your bar behind an unmarked door down an alleyway in a non-typical F&B location might be functional and hip in Brooklyn or Hong Kong. But in China, this creates problems.

“The location was not entirely on purpose. Part of it was because we wanted to test the market. Could the product stand on its own?” he says, “A lot of places get away with a mediocre product because of location. We were just about the beer. The reality is that we wouldn’t have been shut down if we were in a more mainstream shopping mall location. Here it’s a bit more old-school China, you can’t just set up wherever you like.”

We join Joe for a pint – obviously – at his third taproom in as many years in the gritty Baishizhou village in Shenzhen. A handful of outdoor tables are slowly filling up with the Friday after-work crowd when we arrive. There’s a tranquillity to it, at least for now, that you don’t expect from a city like Shenzhen. This restaurant-lined strip, he explains, was shown to him by the police as an apparently acceptable location to set up.

Read the full article about craft beer in Shenzhen on FCCIHK.

By in Hong Kong, Ingredients, Updates 1

HK Brew Craft – a hops run to Hong Kong

Last weekend it was decided we needed to make some of our Bionic Pale Ale and Wild Yin & Yang Wheat beers for the upcoming Startup Grind Shenzhen. Originally we didn’t have a brew space but then Hoss from Pearl River Craft Brewing allowed us to take over the top floor of his personal brewery. Thanks Hoss! Fortunately he had some ingredients on hand but not the special hops we need to make these beers taste the way we like. So we did what every Shenzhener does when they need something of high quality. Head to Hong Kong!

Before making the trip we contacted Chris from HK Brew Craft (HKBC) in Central HK to make sure they had all of the five different types of hops we wanted to use for these beers. Unfortunately they only had three but we were able to calculate some hop substitutions and get a similar beer to what we wanted. We were able to buy enough to make the beer but due to limited supplies we were rationed quite a bit, so in order to make this beer again we’ll need to resupply soon (if you’re going to HK and can carry some stuff back please let us know). However, since HKBC had such an amazing selection of craft singles to buy on site it won’t take too much arm pulling to get us across the water again.

After finishing an early workday on Friday, Joe raced down to Shekou Port in a bus driven by the Chinese cousin of Michael Shumacher (at least the bus driver attempted to drive like him), bought a ferry ticket, and waited. He had the pleasure of making some new friends along the way from Raleigh, NC, USA, and they chatted the entire way. (Thanks Francisco for the beer!)

Chris from HKBC had everything packaged, labeled, and boxed upon arrival so the only thing left for Joe to do was sit in this nice, air conditioned beer mecca and drink a few brews while waiting for a friend to get off work and meet up at Blackstar bar.

Blackstar was a pretty decent spot and the fact that they had Young Master Ale on tap at happy hour make it a definite place to stop in again. The bar is in Sheung Wan without much signage but easy to spot by the heaps of HK-type suits being rowdy near the entrance. A definitely good spot for booze, food, and people watching.

To finish off the night Joe stopped by Azure bar in Lan Kwai Fong with his friend Moodie Younis to crash an architect party for free booze and food before catching a subway back to Luo hu in Shenzhen and then a long taxi back to Shekou. It was a long day and a bit of a pain lugging 10kg of hops, grains, and other goodies around HK and Shenzhen but well worth it. The Pale Ale was brewed 24 hours later and now we’ve got a stellar Bionic Pale Ale on the way.