While on a recent beer pilgrimage through South China, Johnny Ng discovered two of Shenzhen’s most creatively thirst-quenching watering holes. Drink up!

One of the great things about travelling is trying out the local flavors. While the world is supposedly globalized, every place has a unique cultural flair, history, and taste. On a recent trip to Shenzhen, I treated myself to one of the growing scenes in local flavor: craft beer.

The two breweries I made myself a guest at, are to be found a few blocks from Baishizhou Station exit A on Shenzhen’s metro line 1. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that both tap rooms are located right next to each other. Luckily, the owners and their breweries coincide harmoniously – guests can easily bounce between both bars, no hard feelings incurred.

Peko Brewing has been one of the earliest craft breweries in Shenzhen. Hoss, the owner and brewer, hails from Southern California, but made it to Shenzhen years ago. While he’s been making beer since 1986, he didn’t start selling his beer until 2012, when he took the initiative to create Peko. Peko has various brews that cater to different palates, whether you’re new to beer, would like something sweet, or a hop-a-holic, Hoss has what you want. I highly recommend the Hossgaarden wheat beer, which is full-bodied with a nice sweetness to it.

Bionic Brew has a cult following in Shenzhen. While they have moved around a few times, their devoted locals tend to move heaven and earth just to make it there for some good brews. What is great about Bionic’s beers is that while they have some great variety of styles, they also use ingredients from different regions. For example, one of my favorites from this brewery was the Disputed Waters Gose, which uses a sour plum that originates from
South East Asia. Additionally, they have enthusiastic bartenders (Briana and Sasa) who care a lot about good beer.

If you’re worried that you’re going to get smashed with these two great bars right next to each other, you’re likely right. However, you can soak up some of the alcohol with local Chinese street food around every corner or you can order Western food from the kitchen attached to Bionic (the jalapeno poppers are to die for).

So, if you’re wondering where to travel to this summer or for your next break and could use something other than Tsingtao beer, find your way to Peko and Bionic in Shenzhen. Your liver will thank (hate) you.