Most grocery stores back home probably don’t stock Taiwanese beer, and many a beer snob in Asia has pined over the lack of a hoppy IPA or thick, rich porter. While Taipei is still no beer drinker’s paradise by any stretch, it does have a few hidden gems to quench the thirst of even the pickiest connoisseurs.
Photo courtesy of 吸泥客 張/Flickr
Jolly Brewery, perhaps the best of Taipei’s draught options, keeps six different brews on tap. Due to local law, the beer isn’t brewed on site (it’s trucked in every day), but the restaurant maintains the feel of a microbrewery with all the shiny copper brewing gear on display. Jolly’s honey ale pairs especially well with the spicy Thai flavors from the restaurant’s menu.
Another local microbrewery, Le Ble d’Or, doesn’t hit the mark quite as well as Jolly, but even their so-so lager, dunkel, and hefe make for a pleasant respite from endless pints of Tiger. The cavernous bar/restaurant tries a bit too hard to mimic an authentic German beer hall and can come across looking a bit cheesy and overworked, and the food is mediocre. Basically, Le Ble d’Or is worth incorporating into a bar rotation for an occasional change of scenery.
With only two microbreweries (so far), Gordon Biersch, the international chain restaurant specializing in craft beer and American bar food, holds a place as one of the best beer options in town. The restaurant pours five varieties of beer and a seasonal draught, and the food here is actually pretty good. Beer lovers looking to replicate the American bar and grill atmosphere will find it at Gordon Biersch.
On a final note, those looking to keep a stash of quality beer at home or in the hotel should give the Smoky Inn Beer Cellar Restaurant a call. They’ll deliver bottles of imported Bavarian beer anywhere in Taipei.