Craft Beer Immigrates from Pennsylvania to Wuhan
Compared with traditional beer, craft beer is a new arrival in the beer community of China. Brewed with stronger ingredients and created by the brewer on their own, the craft beer industry is distinguished from the large-scale industrialized breweries. The spectrum of various colors, flavors, and textures makes craft beer pleasing to the palate, which is glorified by the unique artistic brewing style of each brewer. Recent years have witnessed the rise of craft beer in Wuhan.
Integration of the Western and the Eastern
No sooner had we got to Devil’s Brewery than the tantalizing aroma of malt reached our nose. Walking into the brewpub, we found there stood a row of brewing facilities with equipment taller than a person on the left, and hand drawings on the wall. Taylor Armstrong was discussing when to add the hops to the next barrel with his brewmasters Li Min and Yang Boxu. There was a rumbling noise from upstairs —Taylor said they were having the bar redecorated for a second time and anticipated it to be fulfilled as conceived. “May I put the hops now?” asked Taylor.
“In a minute,” replied Li Min, the brewmaster.
When the time was up, the brewmasters poured a bag of hops into the fermentation barrel. The fermentation of wort takes two weeks after the process such as crushing, feeding, saccharification, filtration, boiling, stirring, and inoculation with yeast. 300 liters of craft beer will follow in two or three weeks.
Hardly had the hops been added when Dawn, one of the customers, loudly greeted a lady who just entered. Hearing this exclamation, Taylor turned around and encircled her with
his arms; it is Taylor’s girlfriend, Li Mei. She welcomed us in a friendly manner.
Taylor Armstrong, a 30-year-old American, graduated from The University of Memphis in Tennessee, with a degree in Seismology. The first time that Taylor visited China was to conduct a post-earthquake geological study in Yushu after the 2010 quake. He later travelled to Sichuan, Qinghai, and Yunnan to further study the effects of earthquakes. In 2012, Taylor continued to pursue a doctorate at the University of Memphis, during which he came to China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, in 2014.
There he met Li Mei, a lady from Hunan. Taylor then embarked on a more fruitful life, as they started up a brewery together in Wuhan.
After graduating from Wuhan Conservatory of Music with a degree in Drums, Li Mei, a native of Hengyang Hunan, worked reluctantly in a bank, where she quickly grew tired of the nine-to-five routine work. Subsequently, she resigned and partnered
啤酒。“当时有个念头一闪而过，我能不能在武汉开一家这样的酒吧？”2015年 10月，李梅一个人去美国加利福尼亚大学洛杉矶分校学了三个月语言，其间特意去参观了洛杉矶的很多酒吧，并阅读大量酿酒方面的书籍。回国后，她和泰勒一起去采购小型设备，参考美国酿酒达人们分享的视频，加上泰勒的家人们累积多年的酿酒经验，开始了创业之路。在美国，精酿啤酒已有数百年历史，连国父华盛顿都写过自酿啤酒的手稿。现代精酿啤酒是源于1970年代英国和美国的精酿啤酒运动（ The Craft Beer Movement）的产物，是啤酒从超大规模工业化生产，回归小型、独立、传统、多元化、个性化，乃至迸发出无限创新活力的一场运动。过去20年里，美国小型酿酒商数量正以每年约20%的速度增长。泰勒的家乡宾夕法尼亚州正是北美精酿重镇之一，最为啤酒爱好者熟知的Golden Monkey 和 Hopdevil 就出自宾夕法尼亚。“我小时候，妈妈会自酿葡萄酒，让我们姐弟四人帮忙踩葡萄，这是件快乐的事。”五六年前，泰勒帮妈妈挑选生日礼物时，发现有一种小型酿酒工具。“容量大概30升，很好玩，可以让妈妈在家里试试。”泰勒买回家送给妈妈，他自己也开始在家里研究酿酒，“我觉得味道不错。”精酿啤酒只使用麦芽、啤酒花、酵母和水，用传统方式进行酿造，原则上不添加任何人工添加剂，加的其他辅
with friends to work in financial consultation. Meanwhile, she took advantage of her professionalism to launch a training course on drums. At present, Li Mei doesn’t get involved in financial consultation any more. Except for that training course, she devotes most of her efforts to Devil’s Brewery.
In June of 2015, Taylor invited Li Mei back to the United States where she had her first access to the craft beer industry. “Although I love drinking, I knew nothing about craft beer or Taylor’s brewing capabilities.” said Li Mei. Taylor headed to a favorite brewery with Li Mei. She had never seen such a place. “It is amazing that there exists almost three-storey fermentation barrels with more
than thirty pour spots in a row.” What astonished Li Mei more were the malty beers with coffee and chocolate flavors.
“An idea crossed my mind: could I open such a kind of brewpub in Wuhan? ” In October of 2015, Li Mei spent three months studying English at the University of California, Los Angeles, on her own, during which she visited a number of bars there and browsed the guidelines on brewing. When Li Mei returned from America, she and Taylor, with the Armstrongs’ years of experience in brewing, were ready for the business after purchasing mini brewing devices and referring to the videos shared by American brewmasters.
Craft beer (also homebrewing or microbrewing) has existed in the United States for hundreds of years, which was even included in the manuscript of George Washington, the Founding Father of the United States. The modern Craft Beer Movement in the United Kingdom and the United States began in 1970, and is characterized by a shift in preference from large-scale corporate breweries to small, independentlyowned, traditional, diversified, individualized and infinitely innovative breweries. The number of microbreweries has been increasing by 20% annually in the United States over the past two decades.
Pennsylvania, the home state of Taylor, is one of the most renowned places for craft beer in North America, whose top draws are Golden Monkey and Hopdevil, known to the beer enthusiasts/lovers all across America.
“As far as I can remember, my mom made our own wine at home. It was a pleasure for us four siblings to help trample grapes during my childhood.” Around five or six years ago, Taylor found a mini wine kit when picking up a birthday gift for his mother. “It looks very cool and has a volume of about 30 liters.” Taylor bought it as a gift to his mother and he
Don of the Devil。
also became immersed in brewing at home. “It tasted great!”
Craft beer remains faithful to traditional brewing methods, which use malt, hops, yeast, and water only—and in principal, is free of artificial preservatives. Additional ingredients are added just to please the palate.
With all sorts of natural ingredients in season available, Taylor is able to create more than thirty different flavors of beer, such as strawberry, orange, chocolate, and lemon. These flavors are concocted to bring out distinctive aromas and textures. It is difficult to have complicated microbrews materialize in a production line.
The spectrum of various colors and textures in each craft beer is quite fantastic and artistic. “I never stop creating new tastes; and I am inspired by high end cuisine to satisfy my customers with updates.” said Taylor.
It took Taylor and Li Mei almost one year to prepare for the business. They launched Devil’s Brewery on August 27, 2016—the 2nd anniversary of the day they met. They have gained much reputation since the brewery was unveiled six months ago.
“I left Shanghai for Wuhan by tracking the aroma of Devils’ Brewery.” Dawn, an Indian, joked. “Well, craft beer is also available in Shanghai, but the recipes at Devils’ Brewery are more attractive; the aroma pervades the bar. I want to hang out here every day for authentic craft beer; it is somehow like walking on air.” Engaged in the R& D of artificial intelligence products in Optics Valley, Wuhan, Dawn haunts the Devils’ Brewery at leisure, eager for a fresh glass of craft beer. One type of craft beer, named Dawn of the Devil, was named after Dawn.
Besides the craft beer, the American snacks there are also widely recognized. Take for example, their Pulled Pork Sandwich, with pork slowly grilled over apple charcoal for more than 10 hours so that the
fragrance of the fruit-tree wood is infused into the pork. It tastes tender and juicy with a roasted burnt flavor. The French Fries and the Sandwich’s mate are sliced by hand and fried twice for an intense flavor. Other favorites include BBQ Pork Nachos, Chips & Salsa, and Grilled Pork served with Mexican Chutney go well with beer.
All these snacks have been exclusively developed by Taylor. “I’ve put on quite a bit of weight since Devils’ Brewery was opened. It is hard for me to lose weight with all this good food and beer.” Said Taylor with a smile.
Li Mei prefers to enjoy the Chinese cuisine created by Taylor. “All his family ate the Chinese food cooked by him when we were in America.” Likewise, Taylor finds his stomach happier with Chinese cuisine.
When it comes to the future, Taylor hopes to stay on Campus as a teacher after graduation. Now their first priority is to set up some branches in the second half of the year to promote genuine American craft beer in Wuhan, said Li Mei.
Compared with traditional beer, craft beer tastes more strong and sticky, with higher alcohol and a higher price tag, which makes it difficult for Chinese to generally accept the craft beer. According to Taylor, coffee, when first introduced to China, was not popular with the Chinese, either. “People disliked the bitter coffee then; now various coffee bars have spread across China.” Taylor said the traditional beer is lighter, but in the U.S., the more bitter the craft beer is, the more popular it will be among customers. It will take some time to incorporate craft beer into the community of Wuhan. Only if someone has a try will he or she find its magnetism.
According to Li Mei, it is less proper to assume craft beer must be better than the traditional one. Some are more prone than others to be partial to craft beer.
“I am his brains as he is my hands.” Li Mei said with a smile. It is Taylor that makes her dream come true.