Here's cheers to Laowaijie's Tipplers Beer Festival

Yang Yang
In Laowaijie people with a passion for beer are fulfilling their dreams including a lady connoisseur of Belgium beer and a young man from Qingdao who has opened his own booth.
Yang Yang

Editor's note:

The beer culture of Shanghai can be dated back to as early as the 19th century, with the earliest brewery in the city founded in 1896. Today, beer is no longer just a beverage but also stands for a culture in Shanghai. In this column, "Hopscotch," we share people's stories about beer while exploring the city of Shanghai.

Edited by Yang Yang. Subtitles by Yang Yang, Bivash Mukherjee.

With Tipplers Beer Festival on the way at Laowaijie, also known as Foreigner Street, in Minhang District, we learn about the beer-related careers of two store owners from the Tipplers Beer Map.

Here's cheers to Laowaijie's Tipplers Beer Festival

Wendy Sun, founder of Delight Food-Belgian Brasserie

Wendy Sun cherished her Belgian beer-related career through founding the Delight Food-Belgian Brasserie in Laowaijie in 2008. Having endured the financial crisis of the same year and the three-year COVID-19 pandemic, Sun said she still adheres to her aim, and honest-to-goodness, she is now a connoisseur of Belgian beer.

Here's cheers to Laowaijie's Tipplers Beer Festival

Expats try freshly crafted drinks at a night fair.

"Belgians boast their rich beer culture," Sun said. "They like to pair lovely beer glasses with different styles of beer."

Delirium, a craft beer style from Belgium, noted for its logo of a pink elephant and high alcohol density, is popular among beer drinkers in Shanghai.

"The bottle used to be fully ceramic," Sun said. "As technology advanced, it is made of glass inside and porcelain outside. The beer's nickname 'Pink Elephant' was derived from a European idiom 'see pink elephant' after a person is fully intoxicated and hallucinates.

"The style is matched with a snifter patterned with images of lovely pink elephant on it. After gulping three glasses of 'Delirium,' you could really see pink elephants."

The Belgian brasserie is also the place where beer lovers can drink from a Kwak glass.

Kwak, a Belgian strong pale ale, is usually paired with a unique glass with a slender neck and a bottom bulb that is fixed into a wood stand.

"A legend goes that when riders in ancient Europe felt thirsty and entered a courier station, they usually felt reluctant to get off their horses, and to order a bottle of beer, they received from the bartender a long wood stand where the Kwak glass was attached to," Sun explained.

"As the Kwak glass has a bottom bulb, a drinker is likely to finish their last gulp all of a sudden too hastily, and they belch 'Kwak,' hence the name of the glass," she added.

The brasserie, the first of its kind in Shanghai, is also delicately decorated with murals of Belgium cartoons like "The Adventures of Tintin" and "Four Thieves and One Policeman," an urban landscape of the Belgian city Ghent and a scene of the campus of KU Leuven. Its signature dish is Belgium-style mussels.

Here's cheers to Laowaijie's Tipplers Beer Festival

Wang Xin, owner of Fresh Beer 30km

Wang Xin's story is a boy's Bildungsroman that is closely related to beer, though a childhood memory of beer drinking may require a father to treat a son like his buddy.

Wang came from Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong Province. The house in his childhood was situated right along Dengzhou Road near the Qingdao Beer Museum.

Here's cheers to Laowaijie's Tipplers Beer Festival

Vendors are ready to welcome customers.

"We purchase beer using plastic bags in my hometown," said Wang.

"My father would send me on an errand to buy him a bag of beer each day after work. After he fully enjoyed his beer, I would joyfully finish the residue of the beer foams left inside the bag. This was how I grew up drinking beer with my father."

He worked as a white-collar worker in Shanghai as his first job, and this place far away from home was friendly enough and with plenty of opportunities to reignite his childhood passion on beer.

In 2022, shortly after the end of the pandemic, Wang quit his job and launched his own beer booth in Laowaijie.

"The pandemic ended and the economy is reviving, we want to try something new," said Wang.

The brightly decorated Fresh Beer 30km booth of Wang's offers a plenty of choices for customers.

"Girls tend to like fruity beer, and we have strawberry wheat beer and peach-flavor ale for them," Wang said.

"For people to order beer to go with rice or bread, we have German Weissbier and Belgian Witbier to offer. Craft beer connoisseurs will also be satisfied here with our American IPA and Dragon IPA. The stronger flavors, the more complicated crafting steps and richer aroma of which will definitely suit them.

The drinks of the booth are sourced from a craft beer factory in Sheshan Town of Songjiang District.

"The logistics chain ensures the beer will be preserved under a temperature below 4 or 5 degrees Celsius to maintain their fresh tastes," Wang added.

Here's cheers to Laowaijie's Tipplers Beer Festival

Visitors of Laowaijie enjoy different styles of beer.

Tipplers Beer Festival

Laowaijie's beer festival is underway. From October 16 to 31, visitors who consume each of a designated style of craft beer at its participating stores including Shanghai Brew House, Fat Cow, Big Bamboo, Fresh Beer 30km and Delight Food-Belgian Brasserie, and sign in, will be rewarded with an extra 1.75-liter German Weissbier from Shanghai Brew House.

Please notice that it is not a task to be completed within one day. Visitors can sign in and make the exchange within the operation hours of the street by October 31.

Address: Lane 3338, Hongmei Rd


Here's cheers to Laowaijie's Tipplers Beer Festival

Expats and locals are attracted to have a refreshing sip of beer at the Laowaijie where the Tipplers Beer Festival is underway.

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