HK Magazine - - NIGHTLIFE -

The buzz: Those who have been to craft beer bar The Ale Project in Mong Kok will know just how pop­u­lar (well, cramped) it can get on any given night. The team be­hind it has brought the same win­ning for­mula of ex­cel­lent craft beers and awe­some bar bites to a much big­ger space in Tai Hang—the sec­ond draft, if you will.

The dé­cor: You’d think it couldn’t get more charm­ing than the brown brick ex­te­rior in the sleepy nabe of Tai Hang—it does: The spa­cious in­te­rior has the old-school feel of a 50s style cha chaan teng, mak­ing lib­eral use of that dis­tinct melon green color scheme. Although it does verge on the in­sti­tu­tional some­times, with rules like “no smok­ing” in vin­tage let­ter­ing spray-painted onto the walls. But all is warmed up by a smooth dark wooden bar and match­ing ta­bles.

The drinks: There are 26 taps on ro­ta­tion, of which more than half are Hong Kong brews. Beers are served at three dif­fer­ent tem­per­a­tures, de­pend­ing on the brew and its fla­vor profile, and there are plenty of un­usual beers here to taste-test. Young Mas­ter Ales take cen­ter stage here, and hot on the menu at the moment is the Lui Sun IPA ($67 for 330ml), a man­goey beer with an easy bit­ter­ness, thanks to a new type of Ger­man hop. For a more hard­core palate, the Hel & Ver­doe­me­nis (“hell and damna­tion”) Im­pe­rial Stout by De Molen brew­ery in the Nether­lands, is served at 14-16 de­grees, warmer than the usual 3-6 de­grees to let more of those heavy malt and bit­ter fla­vors out. At 11-13 de­grees, you get the “real ales,” drawn with a hand pump that al­lows ox­i­da­tion into the beer as it’s served. The Young Mas­ter Bit­ter Oak ($60 for 330ml) is one such ale, earthy with a sweet tof­fee note. For some­thing re­ally out of the or­di­nary, try the Boon Oude Lam­biek ($87 for 330ml)—a “lam­bic-style” Bel­gian beer in which wild yeast and bac­te­ria of­fer a unique tart­ness, be­fore be­ing bar­rel-aged to mel­low it out. This par­tic­u­lar one’s been aged two years, giv­ing it a great fizz and a slight sa­vory tart­ness. If you’re more of a spir­its per­son, Sec­ond Draft also has your back with a list of boil­er­mak­ers—liquors paired with se­lect beers. The Old Kraken ($120) is a won­der­ful way to cap off a heavy meal: Kraken dark spiced rum with North Coast Old Rasputin stout, a choco­latey brew that’s poured from a ni­tro tap to in­fuse it with ex­tra creami­ness.

Why you’ll be back: Whether you’re al­ready a beer geek or just a be­gin­ner, you’ll come here to dig deep into the world of craft beer knowl­edge— and leave im­pressed. And while you’re at it, a food menu de­signed by May Chow of Lit­tle Bao will give you enough fu­sion fuel to drink through the night.

Cheers! Eve­lyn Lok G/F, 98 Tung Lo Wan Rd., Tai Hang, 2656-0232.

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