Malty Dog



Malty Dog at Beiluoguxiang has a trendy set-up, with its bare-bones aesthetic, elegant lighting and eclectic playlist. We’d expect nothing less from the owners of the popular Mai Bar, which is just a few meters down the hutong. The smell of yeast – emanating from the giant vat bubbling away behind the bar – is notable as soon as you walk in Malty Dog. The cheerful bar staff pour out six taster glasses – one for every homebrew on their blackboard – for us to have a snifter and make our selection. So far, so good: this place feels like the real deal. Unfortunately, the hops don’t live up to the hype, at least for the moment. Despite rumors that have been circulating, Beijing Homebrewing Society’s Jake Wickham isn’t involved in Malty Dog’s brews, which is a shame as it would have given much-needed experience to these amateurish tipples. Most Malty Dog beers either fall flat or overpower the senses. The cranberry summer (35 RMB) was sweet enough to be an alcopop and the Christmas in July (35 RMB) certainly had Yuletide flavors – but the heavy taste of clove, orange and cinnamon affronts the senses rather than gently tickling them. The microbrewers’ art of deft flavoring has been lost here. Nonetheless, there are encouraging signs: the British bitter (40 RMB) was as it should be and the IPA (40 RMB) in particular was a hoppy highlight.