Another welcome addition to Beijing’s after-work scene is the new breed of craftale bars. Also within 1949 The Hidden City is Jing A (capitalbrew.com), which serves a wide range of brews. Among them are Worker’s Pale Ale, Flying Fist IPA and the extra-strong Airpocalypse Double IPA, dedicated to the city’s notoriously awful pollution; when the foul-air index rises, the price of the beer goes down.
The godfather of the city’s craft-ale scene is American Carl Setzer, who now has three branches of Great Leap Brewing (greatleapbrewing.com), where up to 20 options are on tap at any one time. The flagship offering is Honey Ma Gold, a beer made with Sichuan peppercorn. Other distinctively named ales are Liu the Brave Stout, Dubbel Happinessand Cinnamon Rock Ale, brewed with Vietnamese cinnamon and Chinese rock candy.
Two of the three Great Leap Brewing outlets are on the fringes of the Sanlitun nightlife zone, and serve hearty and tasty pub food. Another popular brewpub, Slowboat (slowboatbrewery.com), operates in a traditional leafy hutong (alleyway), not far from Lama Temple.
A guided tap-room tour is offered by Bespoke Travel Company. Founded by long-term resident Sarah Keenlyside, it specializes in quirky tours. Choose from motorbike-and-sidecar tours, electric scooter expeditions and Great Wall walks with historians, as well as unusual venues for meetings. There’s no shortage of ways to impress clients in Beijing these days.