It may be so, at least between 2pm to 8pm on weekdays and 4pm to 8pm on weekends. Located on Hongmei Lu’s Laowai Street, Shanghai Brewery has an almost mindbogglingly well-priced happy hour price – their homemade beers are just 28rmb for a big glass (and 20rmb for a smaller one).
Shanghai Brewery apparently got its start less than a year ago with two brewmasters at the helm – Geoff Engel (who says he’s breen brewing since he was 18) and Sam Hua, formerly of Henry’s Brewery & Grill. The decor echoes that New American Brewery feel of The Boxing Cat and the Bund Brewery – big copper kettles, sleek dark wood bar, and walls of logs. The polish makes it stand out compared to the Comic Sans logos and cheap prints all over the rest of Hongmei Lu.
But heck, they could be a street stand for all we cared – what we wanted to know was how good the beers were. Thankfully, they didn’t disappoint. While a Peach Weissen was a little too cloying and a little too non-alcoholic for our tastes (and I, personally, resent that anyone would think I’d like it better because I’m a lady), their other brews were hits across the table. We especially enjoyed the Hong Mei Amber Hefeweizen, which was rich but still refreshing with a slight tang of sweetness, and the People’s Pilsner, a hoppy blend with a clean finish.
Unfortunately, their food menu didn’t hold up as well, with dishes ranging from passable to disappointingly bland. Their nachos came with a laughably tiny amount of diced tomato and cheese piled up on about six of the 40-something chips. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Brewery Pizza was so tasteless we couldn’t force ourselves to finish it. Sweet potato fries (40rmb) weren’t as bad, though we would’ve appreciated some kind of condiment – sugar, salt… ketchup?
It was a surprise – and a shame – to have such a disappointing meal attached to such nice beers, especially for a place that touts itself as a “gastro-pub.”
We’ll be visiting again – 28rmb is a steal for microbrews in a city where others seem to find three-times that price reasonable – we just hope we won’t have to head somewhere else to be satisfied gastronomically too.
Shanghai Brewery is located at 21C, Hongmei Entertainment Street, Lane 3338 Hongmei Lu, near Yan’an Lu. Telephone Number: 6406 5919