Sunday, March 27, 2016

WEEK 73--When Fine Dining met Craft Beer---a chat with Chef Dan Bark

the mere mentioning of the word "Fine Dining" would most likely triggers these images----high end food, fancy environment & tableware, famous chef, and most certainly---WINE & DINE.

That's right--fine dining is almost automatically associated with Wine from the beginning of mankind.
But nope--today we gonna talk about something very different--BEER & DINE.
FINE DINING是什么?优质食材,明星厨师,精致摆盘,优雅环境等字眼开始蹦跳出来,更延伸至米其林星级,高档葡萄酒等等。这其中,美食配美酒像是由来已久的定律,英文说的WINE AND DINE
不过,这期聊的是完全不同概念的BEER AND DINE

一切要由宁愿放下米其林三星餐厅副主厨身份,从零开始打造全亚洲唯一啤酒配搭美食为主的CASUAL FINE DINING餐厅的年轻美籍韩裔主厨DAN BARK聊起。。。

For those uninitiated--there's a first of its kind casual fine dining place in Bangkok since the past 5 months-- and yes--it's on the upper floor of Mikkeller Bangkok--hence the name UPSTAIRS--run by former sous chef of Grace-- a Michelin 3 star restaurant in Chicago.
So why would a Michelin 3 star sous chef give up his position to start from scratch in a totally new environment in Bangkok?--let's talk to Dan Bark about what and why and how this whole idea started:-   (*the Chinese newspaper version is a compressed one for basic understanding by general public--the English version here is the complete chat)
#from Chicago to Bangkok—from Michelin 3 stars restaurant to a whole new start—most would call it a huge decision---what prompted that idea?
It was by far the hardest and the biggest decision I had to make.  Being a sous at a restaurant like Grace is a huge honor.  You have endless resources, you get to work with the most talented and passionate cooks, and you get to learn under a great chef.  Leaving Chef Curtis was extremely difficult but when you want to become a great chef, you have to eventually leave the nest and fly on your own.  
The idea of opening a restaurant in Bangkok was sparked when I came here for a week vacation couple years ago.  There is a huge potential here.  Lots of things need to get done and changed but the potential is definitely there.  But once I returned back to Chicago, I never really thought about it.  I just kept my head down and focused on Grace.  After about a year, lots of different aspects of my life started to fall in place which was really pointing me to Bangkok.  I am a man of faith and it was strictly through faith that I was able to leave the best job, best chef, and all my friends and family to come here.
#Prior to Mikkeller Bangkok—what’s your take on craft beer?—since fine dining is all about wine.
To be honest, I never really put lot of thought into it.  Beer to me at that time was something to just quench my thirst after a busy service.  I would enjoy a nice Half Acre and Three Floyds on our days off BBQing with friends once in a while but it wasn't something I committed myself to learn.  Prior to Mikkeller, I did enjoy craft beer but I never even thought about pairing it with fine dining.
问:来曼谷“米吧”之前,对CRAFT BEER的态度是?
答:“这之前,CRAFT BEER只是工余轻松一下的饮料,并没有对啤酒狂热,更谈不上想配搭美食。”
#Upstairs—I believe is the First casual fine dining restaurant that emphasis on food & beer pairing/experience in ASIA---what was the thinking behind?
The first part is the casual fine dining.  I always enjoyed eating fine dining menu, but I never really liked the stiffness of lots of the fine dining restaurants that I dined.  I never really felt I could just be myself and enjoy the experience, but I had to somehow be a better version of myself to belong in the dining room.  So the first thing we wanted to make sure is that we offer the best quality of food and service of fine dining but also keep it casual and friendly.  
Once I started to talk with Jakob and hear the stories behind all the beer, I realized that same amount of work, passion, failures, and determination goes into making these craft beer just as much as wine.  So the principles of a fine product was already there for the craft beers.  And once I started to taste all the different styles of craft beer and a true fresh hoppy IPA, and funky lambicks, and a dark intense stouts, I realized we could definitely give our diners a memorable experience.
答“首先就是轻松自在的享受美食---CASUAL FINE DINING。我去很多星级餐厅用过餐,不少餐厅让人觉得不自在。在跟曼谷”米吧“老板之一JAKOB深入了解啤酒真谛後发现原来CRAFT BEER和美食一样,都包含了酿酒师信念,尝试,失败,坚持, 而类别繁多,口味风格变化多端的不同啤酒特色更是让我尝味後坚信可以通过美食啤酒配搭营造难忘的味蕾享受。”
#Tell us what’s the format like at Upstairs—understand that you have a full course beer pairing tasting menu?—do people always have to do the full course or there’s a la carte menu for “small eaters”?
Our menu is 10 course tasting menu with beer pairing.  We don't offer smaller menu or a la carte because I want dining at Upstairs to be an experience and not just eating out.  Lots of thoughts goes into individual dishes and the progression of the menu.  We want to give our diners a show and tell a story through our menu.  For me, eating a tasting menu is like going to the movies.  There are up and downs, suspense and climax.  To do a la carte from a tasting menu would be like walking out in middle of the movie; you might get the story but you don't get the full effect.  However, we have a great a la carte menu in the main bar for people that are not looking for the full tasting menu experience.
#It is common for people to link fine dining with wine but NOT beer--tell us some of the more challenging moments/issues facing Upstairs so far—in promoting food & beer concept.-for examples-- do people ask for wine? ;)
ALL THE TIME! The most frequent challenge is people asking for wine.  But its never been a big issue.  Everyone is still open to trying beer pairing once they realize we don't do wine and lots of them end up enjoyting them.
The more challenging issue is the portion.  Carbonation is a tricky little thing.  Some people will get full from a glass of diet coke while others can down pints of carbonated beverage.  Finding the right portion size for the dishes is an ongoing challenge.  Some of the smaller or female diners have hard time finishing everything with the beer.  So we are actually  developing a second pairing option right now which is made up meades, ciders, and cherry wine for not so heavy beer drinkers.
But overall, we are very grateful and fortunate that our food and beer concept has been well accepted so far.  I have spent many years feeding people fine food with wine and ate lots of fine food with wine, and I can confidently say you will leave with more memorable experience with fine food and beer if you are open minded. Key is open mind.
#Upstairs is still fairly new to the gourmet food scene in Bangkok---how has it been from the locals perspective? Is it very much still a beer geek driven crowd or there’s local non-geeks who came for food beer experiences?
We started the concept geared toward the beer geeks but lots of them still want heavy fried food and huge piece of meat with their beer.  We actually get lots of non-beer geeks come in for the experience.  I would even say that most of our diners are non-beer geeks.  Which is very exciting for us because through the tasting menu, we are challenging the diners to try different style of beers.  And watching the impression of people drinking their first sours, or super fresh saision is very rewarding. 
答“开始的想法主要放眼在啤迷,有趣的是,开业至今几个月,来用餐的都不是啤迷,很多甚至没什么喝过CRAFT BEER,这是件好事,通过我们定制的菜单可以逐步认识更多不同啤酒。”
#You do certain special tasting events for some new beers brought in by Mikkeller—do you sometimes tweak you food menu or recipe or ingredients in accordance to how you feel about the new beers?--presuming you work on it while enjoying the new beers before most of us  do :)
I actually tweak my food in the menu every night.  Even with our normal menu, I would adjust the sweet, sour, saltiness, or richness according to the beer we are pairing that day.  For the special tasting events, we definitely tweak the food or sometimes we just create a whole new dish.  The dishes on the menu is sometimes driven by the beer and other times through culinary inspiration.  But the minor tweaks are made in the food because you can't really change the beer once it's bottled.
#Any observations that you would like to share with us—pertaining to beer food pairing—the possibilities—the constraints—whatever it might be really
The possibilities of food and beer pairing are great.  In my opinion, lot of wine pairing is very subjective.  At end of the day, they are just fancy grape juice because you can't add any other actual spices or fruits into wine.  Where in beer making, you can add yuzu, coffee beans, kilos of blueberry, so it is more clear.  With beer, you have the option to not just pair it with a dish but it becomes a part of the dish.

#Mikkeller Bangkok has been the point of attraction for beer lovers all over the region---those who turned up at Upstairs are a mix of nationalities—any observations or stories you would like to tell us?
Danish people can drink and they can eat.  French still love their wines.  Asians have small bladder because we probably get up 3-4 times during the meal to go use the washroom.  (joke..:)
#Mikkel was in town this year and had an event at Upstairs---anything he told you that you might like to share with us?( if not or private messages then we understand)
Mikkel is man of few words.  Which is why I like him.  He doesn't bull shit you.  Last time he was here, he just told me "awesome food" and smiled.  And I just said "awesome beer" and smiled back. 
#What would be your ideal Upstairs—ideal as in don’t give a damn about all the real life issues or obstacles that could hinder that ideal.
To be honest, my ideal Upstairs is our current Upstairs.  Lots of people like to tell me what I should do and not do, and I do consider and respect all opinions, but at end of the day, I still run Upstairs the way I want to.  Some people get the concept, some don't, but every single diner that has dined at Upstairs feel the love.  And I think that's because I am able to give all my heart and love to Upstairs because it is deeply rooted to my principles.  There are many real life issues and obstacles but I enjoy them.  It is what drives me and allows me to put my apron on every morning and work.  Because I understand everyone has life issues and obstacles, but I want to make them forget about their problems at least for the moments that they are in my dining room.
#Any words to people who still believe fine dining MUST ONLY be in the companion of wine?
I respect different people's preference.  And there are thousands of great restaurant where you can enjoy fine dining with wine.  We are just not one of them.  However, I do believe that fine dining is more about the experience.  And sometimes you have to step out of the comfort zone to have an extraordinary memorable experience.
问:对一些坚持FINE DINING就等于一定要配搭WINE的朋友,你的意见是?
ABOUT CHEF DAN:-( in his own words)
Chef and Owner of Upstairs at Mikkeller Bangkok.  Made in Korea but assembled in America.  We moved to Chicago, Illinois when I was 8 years old.  So I was old enough to learn the heritage of Korea but majority of my learning and growth comes from the diversity of America.  My whole career started when I saw a writing on a wall - "You don't chose this career, but this career chooses you".  
I trained under Chef Curtis Duffy for five years.  First at Avenues where we got 2 Michelin stars and left to open Grace where it eventually got 3 Michelin stars.  
从开始米其林二星级AVENUES到三星级GRACEDAN BARK跟随芝加哥名厨CURTIS DUFFY五年时间。目前曼谷UPSTAIRS每星期五,六傍晚营业两天,最好先预约,详情请上网找。

Sunday, March 13, 2016

WEEK 72--Beyond Imagination--the alternative beauty of MEAD--a chat with JEFF HERBERT

This week--just as the printed newspaper version is selling on the streets today--here's the complete version of the chat with Superstition Meadery owner/magician--Jeff Herbert on MEAD.
#in consideration of public interest--newspaper column version in Mandarin is a compressed version--with emphasis on the basics for easier understanding of what mead is about---here's the full transcript of the chat:-( Jeff's answers in BLUE)
#Most drinkers here are not familiar with Mead( due to lack of supply, lack of knowledge )--whatever impression they have is ---since its made with honey ---it must be sweet, one dimensional. How would you advice new people on what to look out for when drinking your first few mead?

You are correct that if any preconceived notion exists in the mind of a new customer, it is that mead is always sweet. The vast stylistic range of mead has no barriers and ranges from dry to sweet, still to sparkling, and light bodied to the most full flavored, complex and delicious beverage that will ever meet your lips. So, I would encourage new mead drinkers not to judge a category based on a few examples. Imagine if a Budweiser was the only beer someone tried, and assumed all beer was the same. They would be missing out on Belgians, Sours, Russian Imperial Stouts etc., which are really nothing like a watered down corn and rice lager. 
#What would be the key to brewing mead? Is it Most importantly quality of the HONEY? Or is the sum of everything including the other ingredients added in the brewing process?
Making excellent mead can involve many different ingredients and techniques, and I believe that the mead maker is a choreographer of flavors both during the science of fermentation and after, through the art of blending and barrel aging. It would be impossible to make good mead with poor quality ingredients, so we only use the best honey in the world, Arizona honey, and we pair this with the finest ingredients we can source locally and abroad.
One of the differences in how we make mead compared to how beer is brewed, is that we do not heat the must in order to preserve the volatile aromatic compounds and flavors present in the honey. We also manage the fermentation with the goal of achieving a healthy and neutral fermentation so that little to no off flavors are produced, and the characteristics of the raw ingredients will be showcased in the final product.
#General consensus is that mead is comparatively harder to brew than say pale ale / ipa-- Would you tell us in simple language why so? What's the harder part?
Most mead makers use techniques that are closer to wine making than brewing beer. I would say that challenges include constantly maintaining flawless sanitation practices, and achieving a clean and rapid fermentation. If a mead fermentation produces off flavors or fusel alcohols it can take up to a year for those to break down to a level where they are undetectable. Since honey alone does not usually have all of the nutrients required for the type of fermentation mead makers seek to achieve, removing CO2 (degassing), adding O2, and adding nutrients on a specific schedule require experience and attention to detail. 
# Mead is perceived as pricier brew than the pale ales, the ipas, the porter and so on--what would be the reasons causing it to be more expensive ?
A recent study at UC Davis, a leading fermentation science research institution, found that traditional (honey, water and yeast) mead is 300% more expensive than grape wine, and 360% more expensive than quality craft beer to produce. And this is before any other expensive fruit juices or special ingredients are added. Honey is very expensive, and when you source the best juices and real Tahitian vanilla beans as we do at Superstition, production costs are very high.
#密酒价格比CRAFT BEER高蛮多的,为什么那么贵?
答“美国一家权威发酵研究中心最近报告显示,传统蜜酒(只用蜂蜜,水和酵母酿造)的酿造成本是葡萄酒的3倍,高质素CRAFT BEER3.6倍,如果再加上各类高质水果或大溪地香荚兰豆这样的贵价原材料,成本之高,可想而知”
 #There are different types of mead --- is there such a thing as tier-tasting of different variants say from lighter to heavier mead.   Or no such thing--any mead is good for a start for people who are very new to mead?
Just as wine can vary from a buttery Chardonnay to a late harvest Zinfandel, from a dry Champagne to a Tawny Port, mead is diverse. In our tasting room at Superstition we offer a flight, usually 12 mead, and this is the most popular product we sell. We encourage people to drink mead however they want, as exploring a new category of beverage is something that should be fun, and on your own terms. However, we do pour our flight beginning with lighter bodied meads and gradually reaching the rich dessert mead.
 # What would be the mead variants that you would recommend for first time drinkers?
The great thing about most mead is that to a new customer you don’t have to pretend to like it. It is not an acquired taste, it is delicious. I think that if just one mead was presented to a new mead drinker, I would start with a semi-sweet melomel, or fruit mead. This would provide a balance between dry and sweet, and provide a point of reference with the fruit flavor. But really, a flight of different mead is the way to go.
# In South East Asia or whole of ASIA for that matter—there’s virtually NO mead available until quite recently---how’s the scenario in the states? Is mead a more widely accepted craft variants or there’s still much work to do to let more people understand/embrace mead?
In the US most people have no idea what mead is. If someone paid attention in English literature they may have encountered mead in classic texts, or even in movies and popular television shows, or perhaps they tried mead once at a renaissance fair, but really mead is an emerging category. Most people who are familiar with mead are homebrewers or are involved with the craft beer community. I am a Board member of the American Mead Makers Association, and part of our mission is to raise awareness of mead in America, and beyond. Mead is the smallest but fastest growing sector of the US alcohol industry, and while mead commands a very small market share compared to beer, wine, spirits and cider, I forecast that in 5 years most craft beer bars will have at least one rotating tap handle of mead, and in 10 years all adults in the US will at least have heard of mead. 
# Is Mead closer to beer or wine?
That really depends on the style. Take Braggot for example, it is a beer where 20% or more of the fermentable sugars derive from honey. We have made collaborations with several breweries where we made a Braggot, and this is as much a style of beer as it is a style of mead. Another popular style of mead is carbonated session mead. We have made an 8.5% carbonated grapefruit mead that was dry hopped, and was very similar to a citrus IPA. But, when you consider a dry raspberry mead, well that is certainly much closer to a wine. And when you are enjoying a sweet fruit mead, that is much closer to a Port than a beer. So to answer the question, mead can be very close to both wine and beer, or something totally different

# To the geeks community—berry white day has become something of a struggle/scramble—tell us something---from what triggers a thought of holding berry white day to perhaps some stories be it front of behind the scene…?
Super fans and beer geeks make the craft beverage world a much better place. I am a BJCP beer judge, and just took the BJCP mead judge exam. I have been visiting breweries for 20 years, and never get tired of trying new flavors. So I am guilty of being a craft geek for sure. When a craft beverage producer makes something so special that it becomes what everyone knows about them, it needs to be celebrated. That is why we hosted the first annual Berry White Day in 2015. The day was well planned, and even with the 2 hour wait to get in, things went smoothly. Everyone had a great time as they were able to sample 18 different meads on the menu that day, enjoyed 3 musical acts and were able to tour the meadery with the people who make Superstition’s awesome mead and cider. Behind the scenes there were so many issues to address, and extensive work from our fantastic staff brought the crowds, the media, and we pulled off an intimate release event that will be repeated later this year.
#Asia is kinda far from the states---would we in ASIA ever see maybe a small allocation of the white series at all?
This year we have produced 3 times the amount of each mead in the White Series. That means we have 3 New American Oak Barrels of each. I predict that we will be able to ship a few cases of each mead in the series to ASIA later this year. 
 #Any other words that you would like to add on—messages to new drinkers in ASIA…. 
My undergraduate degree from Arizona State University was in Anthropology, with a Certificate in Southeast Asian Studies, and I studied Thai. My wife Jennifer and I love Asia, and can’t wait to bring our family there as soon as possible. We really look forward to sharing more of our products with craft beverage fans in Asia. So keep searching out new flavors, and we will keep growing our business so that we can send more excellent mead and cider across the Pacific!
#对亚洲CRAFT BEER爱好者的话?
后记:东南亚以致整个亚洲,基本没CRAFT 级别蜜酒供应,最早在东南亚出现的蜜酒是大约两年前曼谷“米吧”引进的很小量丹麦品牌蜜酒,到今年初,曼谷和新加坡才出现了两个美国品牌的不同风味蜜酒。吉隆坡来说,今年内有希望看到很少量瓶子选择供应。

Here is some back story on us:
Superstition Meadery was started by Jeff and Jen Herbert in Prescott, Arizona in 2012 with the mission to reintroduce the world’s oldest fermented beverage to mankind. Everything we do is in support of this mission from crafting meads at the frontier of quality and innovation, to collaborating with meaderies, breweries and wineries in the US and in Europe. We honor the ancient drinking and spiritual traditions of our ancestors with references to history, religion and mythology in our product names, and even our logo is rooted in mead myth and culture. Our Minoan bull is inspired by a sculpture from ancient Crete where it was filled with mead and poured on a temple alter as a libation to the gods. While the history of mead is unique, modern mead making is very different than it once was, and we elevate tradition with technique. 

NOTE:-there's hardly any craft level MEAD available in South East Asia or even whole of ASIA currently--for now the best bet would be Mikkeller Bangkok--and to a certain degree in Singapore--as for KL--there is NONE at the moment but hopefully supply would come in later part of this year--as a whole -let's hope there shall be more variants of mead available from now on...

Friday, March 11, 2016

WEEK 71---B for BEER

it's quite interesting that some people don't drink beers due to the belief that beer drinking would caused one's belly to balloon.
Is beer drinking that bad? is drinking beer the main reason or the ONLY reason one's belly would swell?
The fact is--we all know what causes a more than flat belly--it's all about the calories in-take--that if you consume much more calories than your body needs--it would become fat inside you--inevitably that fat would show around the waist...if you don't exercise much.
We all know the shape of body for everyone is different--the metabolism is different--the eating habits and so on is different--and we also know that there's many people who DO NOT DRINK BEER but having big belly( so is that a BEER BELLY? :)
To say beer drinking is the reason one would have a swell Beer Belly---that is just a Mis-judgement. 

The beauty of craft beer is--everyone--including those big name brewers that you drink their beers from--were once like you and me--drinking miserable Macro lagers.
And yes--if you think you could also become like those big name brewers--that you somehow has got the skill or gift to brew very nice beers--you are free to do so--in fact the craft beer world is so open that people share their brew recipe--or if you need some formal guidance?--there's actually courses to study in some Uni out there...
酿酒师是决定我们有什么酒喝的人---不过,在那之前,他们也跟我们一样,只能在市场上找其他酿酒师的作品来喝。Craft beer好玩之处是,你如果哪天觉得可能自己也能酿酒或玩得比别人好,可以试试玩自酿,或逐步迈向成为酿酒师。这是个开放的空间,没人会限制你说只能永远当饮客。你可以无师自通,需要的话,欧美一些大学有课程可以学习如何当酿酒师,反正,路是通的。
General consensus is that--all beers which looks golden in color--drink them fresh as you may--the likes of hops centric IPAS, the pale ale, the lagers--these are not beers you want to keep or cellar before drinking.
Unless--if it's a similar color LAMBIC--those you can keep.
像很多食物饮料那样,啤酒也有賞味期限可以是一年半载或十多二十年,视乎啤酒类型而定。 基本来说,只要是不同程度强调啤酒花新鲜度的类型如IPA, Pale Ale, Plisner ---都是越新鲜喝越好, 这些金黄色啤酒都不是需要收藏陈年熟成的啤酒,所谓尝鲜,就是趁早喝掉意思。
Well--for every word there's always an opposite side--same for some beers--they are best kept or cellar for certain period of time( anything from months to few years generally speaking)--here we are talking about the Darker ones--the stouts, the Belgium strong ale, strong porter and so on---these are beers where the flavours, the body and overall beer taste would improve with proper storage.
Drinking some of these beers too YOUNG is almost a waste..:)
*for certain stout or porter that place importance on certain spices or food flavours--then it's probably best drank in shorter time than cellar for too long for fear of losing the main characteristics.

不过,也不是全部黑色啤酒都适合收藏熟成,一些强调某些食材特色的酿品还是比较适合一年内干掉。 另一个方式是,同一支啤酒,至少买2支,一支趁鲜喝,另一支收起陈年感受风味变化。
This is a question some newbie are a little puzzle with--even geeks too--there's opinion that prefer bottles only--and there's some who lean towards can, saying it's more convenient and protect the beer better....
( if you are interested to find out more about the professional views about the pro/cons of bottles vs can--there's info to be found via google....i shall not pretend to know more than i do here)
Whatever you preference of packaging maybe--ultimately--it's the brew inside a bottle or a can that really matters.
近年不少出名craft beer品牌都开始推出瓶子以外的铝罐选择---个人虽因为视觉效果比较倾向瓶子,不过,说到底无论是瓶子或铝罐,重点只在于内里装的啤酒素质是不是达到或超越期待值,那个最重要。
Many drinkers tend to go for strong, big and bold styles of beers--such as the hop bomb style IPAS--the very rich and thick Stouts or strong ale--or even purposely look for higher ABV beers--to them beers kinda mean Must be Big in Taste profile, Must be Strong in Flavours...
Is that what craft beer is all about? there's no denying that those big and bold brew can be really tasty and well made--but craft beer is NEVER about being one direction only--it's kinda like Kungfu--it's not all about how many bricks you can break in one hit--there's also the subtly awesome part of Kungfu like Taichi..
THE TRUTH is --in the world of craft beer--the higher the ABV, the bigger the flavour DOES NOT mean it will be a better beer--could be far from it actually. 

个性强烈,口感突出的啤酒是不少人心头好,比如高酒精度美国大黑啤,麦酒(BARLEY WINE)或是比利时烈啤(BELGIUM STRONG ALE),又或是强调浓郁啤酒花攻击力的DoubleTriple IPA ---这些口感比较烈的啤酒的确有过人之处,不过,啤酒和武功一样,不是只有硬功夫最厉害,啤酒也讲究四两拨千斤的内敛,讲究平衡,完全没有酒精度越高,酒体越浓郁就是最好啤酒这回事。

CRAFT BEER的世界里,没有绝对NO.1啤酒这回事,也不需要,让这个啤酒世界美好的主因在于繁多的不同啤酒类别/品牌,每个人总能找到至少几个心头好,而且很大可能是不一样选择。
The beauty of craft beer is that --we don't really need the world's number 1 beer or the world's best beer--because there's so many varieties of choices out there--everyone would eventually find his or her best beers--not 1 not 2 but at least a dozen....

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEKEND--in Hong Kong particularly

Last weekend was quite a weekend for craft beer in Asia--from Bangkok to Singapore, from Hong Kong to Taiwan--there were events happening....

In BKK--there was a local Thai craft brew & food pairing event. In Singapore--the first ever Craft Singapore--a 100%craft beer only 3 days festival with inaugural Asian Beer Award was held. In Taiwan--there's a gathering dinner for those in the craft beer businesses.
And in Hong Kong--there was a gathering of "strangers" known via HK beer geeks FB public group for a beer dinner--organized by a few key figure of the public group-- a craft community gathering of sorts that's not initiated or organized by a craft beer business entity.
The fact that some guys within the HK beer geeks public group is taking own initiative and time off to organize a gathering of members who are likely to be strangers in each work circle or social life is quite amazing--especially in a city known to value time as money  :)
The fact that i was not there in HK to attend/witness first hand does not matter( though i was invited but could not fly in to HK for the gathering)---the reason for this short article is simple---the gathering--the dinner--the beers shared( of which some beers were individually imported by geek/s--those are beers not available in Hong Kong as the current importers do not bring in those beers( as yet?)--whatever made the event possible is only down to one source--the common love of craft beer--this is basically why craft beer culture is beautiful--that people willingly share, and people willingly invest time and efforts just to make the beer world a better place.....
*all photos courtesy of HK beer geeks public group--special thanks to Kenneth Ho