Chinese do Craft Beer?! Jollys Brewery in Taipei


I went to Asia for food, I didn’t say booze. In terms of booze, I’m a beer drinker first, and knew not to expect much beer wise in Asia. Hitachino Brewery surprised me in Japan and as my stay was winding down in Taipei, I checked out a brewpub near my hotel, Jolly Brewery + Restaurant. I was in a time crunch as I changed my travel plans from going to Cebu, Philippines the next day to go to Tokyo, Japan on an early morning flight in less than 10 hours. Beer was needed. So as my girlfriend was packing our suitcases, I was tasked with getting dinner. Easy enough. I made my way to Jolly and got take out.

Once I got there, I was met by a server, Dora, I thought this was an interesting albeit funny name. Like what Chinese parent would name their daughter Dora. I suspected that her name was chosen by here and was spot on. Yes, I asked her, and she said she picked it when she was little. Also, Dora looked to be a child, serving beer. But in Taiwan 18 year olds can drink, so she must have been at least 18. I didn’t believe it though.


After annoying Dora, I asked for a few recommendations on food. In a picture, I saw these steak fries looking dish and asked for “Fries” which she was absolutely confused, and then said “McDonalds only”. Got it. I then was recommended 4 dishes and obliged. Also, I asked her how long the food would take and she said 15 minutes in Chinese which I DID UNDERSTAND! Woohoo! Chinese classes paid off for that one moment.


So 15 minutes of waiting at a Brewpub means I’m drinking. I ordered the beer sampler and a few others not included. I could drink a few beers in 15 minutes, no problem. The beers ranged from weizen to stout. I was surprised with the variety and not going to lie, the beers were good. They tasted like average quality craft beers bought in the states.

I’ve noticed that Japan and Taiwan do well with pilsners and stouts, but the pale ales and IPAs are weak and not quite there. They often aren’t bitter enough or convey the strong hoppy flavor. Still, beer in Asia is huge, but craft beer is miniscule. It’s coming and soon will be good. I do wish there was more Asian influences on the beer flavors. With so much sweet, savory, bitter, spicy flavors in their food, why can’t that be conveyed in the beers. Like Yuzu, Durian, these are endemic to Asian cuisines, throw them in the beers.

As I was drinking the beer, people-watching, I couldn’t help but realize how much the Taiwanese are digging beers and brewpubs. Makes sense in a culture that grazes when they eat and drinks liberally.

I was nearly done with the 4th sampler when a dish that came out looked like fucking American French Fries! WTF DORA! I ask Dora what’s that, and she mentions that’s a dish she recommended and I ordered already, Shrimp Fry or sticks or something.

Jolly is a Thai restaurant first, with lots of beers on tap, so they look like a “Brewpub”, act like one, but sadly I found out later, none of their beer was brewed on the premises. The food was pretty good, nothing earth shattering and closer to “meh” than anything. The beer was damn good, and it felt like I was in the states at a Brewpub. Good beer, better service, decent food. Thank you Dora!

Source: TripAdvisor

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