Celebrating a German beer holiday in a country that neither drinks beer in bulk nor enjoys sauerkraut is a bit of a difficult call, but still the strong German community in Beijing has established a few pubs and restaurants that naturally couldn’t pass up the chance to celebrate Germany’s most flamboyant holiday.
If you are an adventurous traveller and willing to walk in sandals through puddles of chunked, beer vomit than consider taking the express 4.5 hour train from Beijing to Qingdao where the annual Qingdao Beer Festival kicks off in late August until early September. This festival celebrates all kinds of beer, not just the locally produced TsingTao beer that made the town so famous.
Once a German concession State, Qingdao gained it’s liberation but kept much of the German influence. it is the only place in China where you’ll find such heavily Bavarian architecture, beer and even a touch of cuisine. TsingTao beer is a German pilsner known in China for being total crap. Still, it’s their best beer product and exports a surprising amount to specialty beer bars around the globe, much to the confusion of locals who find it cheaper than water and slightly less organic.
If TsingTao isn’t your thing, head to Drei Kronen in Beijing for their September Oktoberfest celebration that includes several days of buffets of schnitzel and wurst as well as four kinds of home-brewed beers made from authentic German recipes. Located centrally in the city near Sanlitun, this bar/restaurant is likely to attract a massive German and tourist crowd with their promises of lively accordion music and liverwurst paste. With several special on offer you can spend as little as RMB150-RMB250 per person, which will get you all the beer you can consume as well as all the wurst, which is a disgusting combo, as far as your arteries are concerned. Still, even for non-Germans the liverwurst paste is fantastic, and the live music promises to be worthy of the liederhosen you’ve kept hidden in your closet.
If that isn’t your speed, head to one of the beer bars in town and make your own holiday. Il Nido is a fantastic beer bar located down Fangjia Hutong. It may be hard to find, and even more so hard to get a seat in this tiny hole-in-the-wall bar, but once you do you’ll have access to beers imported from around the globe. This is an impressive feat, especially in China when the poor martyrs at Il Nido would have had to go through so many distributors it makes our heads spin to think about. Still, it’s a great Oktoberfest option if you are creating your own holiday.