Written by (作者): Vincent R. Vinci 魏文深
Photos by (图片来源): coffeearoma.co.uk
As the months go by, Ningbo is slowly getting more of a good thing: beer. When I arrived in the city in 2014 there was nothing in terms of good beer except for a few bars in Laowaitan that served various Belgian beers. Now, there are stores and bars serving expansive beer selections popping up all over the place. For some time it seemed all this beer was the same, but that could be changing.
The common Belgian beers were there, some German beers, maybe some British brews from the likes of Samuel Smith, but no love for American craft beers, some of which turn out better varieties of beers that originally hail from the aforementioned countries. Thus, for some time in Ningbo I found myself in a beer paradox. The paradox worked simply in that opportunities to get beer kept arriving, but the beer offered is generally of the same variety every time, with maybe one or two standouts.
This is all changing though, as some new stores have been opening up all over the city. While some of them have poor selections and outrageous prices – like Beer King, which offered four bottles for 200 RMB – its two new stores, Dr. Beer and the Beer Store, both in Yinzhou, that have caught my eye as I’ve heard nothing but good things about the latter and am anticipating good things from the former, which opened a few weeks ago.
This change in availability and variety boils down to demand and population. With more and more foreigners with a taste for quality brews enter the city, supply has risen to meet this demand. This is affecting Chinese locals as well, who have developed a taste for a wider variety of beer. While one could argue there’s still a long way to go until the locals break out of their comfort zone of cheap German wheats and the mediocre Chinese light lager, there’s hope that this will change.
It used to be that Taobao was the only answer for beer woes. Even though the site still offers good deals, like sampler packs from all sorts of American breweries at reasonable prices – try 150 RMB for 7 beers from Flying Dog – I’ve got high hopes for these new joints, and welcome a change in direction in the Ningbo beer scene with this miracle.
大多数店铺有普通的比利时啤酒、一些德国啤酒，可能还有一些来自萨缪尔史密斯啤酒厂的英国啤酒，其中某些牌子甚至出了口味更棒的新品，但是没有美国的精酿啤酒。因此，在宁波，有时候我发现自己置身于一个怪异的啤酒悖论里。这个悖论很好理解，就是有机会喝到现有种类的啤酒，但是每次可供选择的也就是这些，即便其中有一两种是特别美味的。但是，随着一些新的店铺涌现在城市的各个角落，这种情况也在发生着变化。尽管有些新开张的店啤酒种类很少，而且价格实在离谱（例如啤酒王，四瓶啤酒需200元人民币），在鄞州还新开了两家店铺——Dr. Beer和Beer Store。当我听说Beer Store有新的啤酒种类时，我就想去一睹为快，而且我也期待能在开业才几个星期的Dr. Beer看到新的东西。