Still drinking Chiang, TsingDao, or Heineken while you’re travelling around Asia? When in Taiwan, do as the Taiwanese do! This vibrant little Asian nation has not only performed outstandingly in distilling their own award-winning Whiskey, winning numerous international awards, they also have a booming Craft Beer culture!
If you are a traveler that likes a drink or two, Taiwan is the hidden jewel in Asia you just can’t miss. With the brewing ban lifted in 2002, Taiwanese breweries have sure caught up fast. In about a decade, there are at least 20 microbreweries producing more than a hundred different beers all over Taiwan. The first breweries founded in Taiwan after the prohibition started out with a German brewing style, heavy on pilsners and bocks. Since then, they’ve adapted techniques from all over the world to create an abundance of craft beer varieties. Besides the standard ales and lagers, pilsners and stouts, they have also taken full advantage of the tropical climate and blended in local materials such as longan, wheat tea, dark plum, or even cucumber to create craft beers perfectly suited to Taiwan. Here are a few Craft Beer breweries that you can easily find in the metropolitan capital Taipei!
Long Sun Brewing was the first registered microbrewery in Taiwan, and they run a restaurant Le Ble d'Or where one can enjoy their craft beers alongside Bavarian German foods. Their well-loved Longan Honey Beer has won numerous international beer awards, including a Bronze in the 2016 World Beer Cup’s Honey Beer category. The longan honey used in this Munich Dunkel Lager carries a distinct fragrance from the longan flower, which is not altered by fermentation, allowing the original honey flavors to present cleanly at the end without any overwhelming sweetness that is sometimes found in beers with honey additions at the end. Their Buckwheat Lager also won a Silver award in the 2018 World Beer Cup. Long Sun recently split their beer brand off to SUNMAI, so if you want just a drink and no food, look for a SUNMAI bar! But if you’re looking for a meal, visit one of their seven Le Ble d’Or locations in Taiwan, each of which carries this first-rate set of beers.
In Mandarin, Zhangmen means “the leader of a martial arts gang”, and this brewery definitely matches up with their ambitious name. Established in 2014, Zhangmen has created more than 20 different beers over those four short years, and their stouts are particularly great, being both flavorful and exceptionally potent. In 2016, their Professor X Stout won a gold medal in the Australian International Beer Awards with its sophisticated scents from five different malts. Looking for a beer that’s aged in oak barrels? This is the one! Their Imperial Stout aslo comes in at a whopping 14 ABV. That alone is worth a visit.
The Solar Term Series is the most famous beer series from Taiwan Head Brewers. Following the 24 days that mark the season on the lunar calendar, they brew each day with a seasonal crops to seal the flavor of nature. In “Mid Spring” there is plum, in “Minor Heat” which marks the beginning of summer, they add Jasmine, and in “Grain Full”, the fullest day of Autumn, there is donggua melon. This series is usually sold in a bottle, but if you’d like to try the on tap draught, we’ve looked out for you and found The Tipsy Dragon, a that keeps it fresh for ya!