Malt Musings: Hong Kong Beers: The Lightning Round

Ok, so after doing notes on Cereusly I decided to do a tasters rack to try as many beers as I could, since I only had a few nights in Hong Kong. I quickly realised that Hong Kong had a far better beer scene than I expected – I had done quick googling before heading out and found that even the best beers from HK didn’t seem to have too much buzz, or high scores in review aggregators. By now I really should know not to put too much faith in those. Anyway, I decided that I needed to do some quick notes just to help illustrate what good stuff is coming out of Hong Kong, even if I couldn’t do full notes for each. So, here we have a few quick overviews of some great beers.

1st in rack: Hong Kong Beer Co: Big Wave Bay IPA: 7% ABV

This one is citrusy and creamy with green fruit notes in kiwi and grapes style. The hop character is smooth and generally with restrained bitterness until the finish, where a solid hit comes out. The use of green fruit and bitterness reminds me of 8 Wired’s Hopwired. It isn’t as good as that masterpiece, but even the comparison is a high complement and it is still is a very dangerously easy to drink IPA.

2nd in rack. Yardley Brothers: Quit Your Job! 6% ABV. 28 IBU. Is this a wit beer? Googling on getting home says Saison, and I guess I can see that, but it definitely has wit beer influences. The description given by the bar really got this one spot on – Banana split sweetness with black pepper backing. This is bloody lovely. It is smooth as can be, wheaty and lightly bitter with a tasty pepper finish. Genuinely a gorgeous beer – the spice notes are well used, and the light bitterness gives an offset from the brilliantly done dessert like banana notes. Reminds me of “Not Just Another Wit” but, as it turns out, a saison. Which is a seriously high complement – if you like wits or saisons, and you see this, it is a must try in my opinion.

3rd in rack. Yardley Brothers: Mum’s Rhubarb and Orange Crumble Sour: 6% ABV. This is fairly gentle as a sour – Still rather than fizzy with only light acidity and sourness, instead concentrating on the flavour – pushing lots of fruit character – I am very impressed in that the rhubarb comes across very well – which I think is the first time I have seen that in a beer. With low sharpness and sourness it ends up feeling pretty full bodied for a sour- which could be because of its higher than average abv. Tasty in itself, it worked very well to use as a refresher between the other beers on the rack.

4th: Hero Beers: Black IPA : 6.8% abv 55 IBU. A smooth beer with chocolate, roasted notes and slight sour dough before a bitter chocolate finish. It has bitter hop character, but comparatively low for a black IPA. Not super aggressive like Cereusly but a solid BIPA. Quality wise this feels in line with the best beers of mainland China, so a very competent example of the style, but nothing stand out. Good use of cocoa and bitter chocolate notes, but feels like it needs more hop use with it. Still, if the weakest of the four tasters is this, then it is a great rack.