It was Saturday night and we hoped to rinse our mouths of last night’s canned piss-water with some prime beer. Luckily, if such coincidences are to be believed, we were passing by De Refter, a fairly new Belgian tap house offering abbey ales, dubbels, trippels, lambics, and more from Belgium and other European brew-topias.
From the tap selection, we chose two Belgian beers, Chimay Red Cap (65RMB), which reminded us of a fruitier red ale, and Leffe Brune (60RMB), a darker, wheatier brew. After months of Tsing Tao, it was revelatory to glug something with a healthy head of suds, an alcohol percentage we couldn’t count on one hand, and a real Belgian tulip glass.
A beer we could’ve done without was the bottled Lindeman’s Kriek (60RMB), a lambic that really puts the “fruit” in “fruit beer.” And by that, we don’t mean that this brew has subtle hints of cherry or citrus but rather, that it tastes like a cherry slushie with subtle hints of beer. Yes, thus is the nature of fruit brews, but if you’re like us and aren’t into the whole fruit and beer marriage, we advise steering clear of the lambic section. Not to worry, the beer spread’s pretty immense.
With our systems irrigated with booze, it was time to eat some food, despite feeling like we’d just chugged a side of beef. De Refter has a regular menu plus a smaller selection of “tapas,” which include chicken wings (45RMB), cheese puffs (45RMB), and hand-cut Belgian fries with mayonnaise (35RMB) – a culinary speedball if ever there was one. Having wiped out an order of these mayonnaise fries, we can conclude that they’re indeed heinous, yet also satisfying.
The regular menu lists American sports bar foods like burgers, steaks, and salads, with some exceptions (carpaccio, to name one). And they aren’t half bad. You can actually order the burgers medium rare (go for the “Classic” for 75RMB) and they come with Belgian fries.
What’s not to like about an establishment whose menu reads like the table of contents of an encyclopedia on Belgian beer? And though De Refter’s food is pretty standard, we’re not going to knock a place that serves drinkable brew in Shanghai. Did we mention that they have a keg’s-worth of weekly drink deals.
De Refter – 181 Jinxian Lu, near Maoming Lu (进贤路181号，
近茂名路). Tel: (0)21-3230-2595. Hours: Mon-Thu, 11am-12am, Fri, 11am-2am, Sat, 10am-2am, Sun, 10am-12am.
See a complete list of our reviews here.
Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].