New Great Leap Brewing Brewpub Grub
Though I’m still heart-broken over the sudden close of The Taco Bar, Great Leap Brewing‘s new Brewpub on Xinzhong Street (north of Workers Stadium) has helped me ease through my withdrawal pains. It’s not the same, but it never really is.
The beginning of May 2013 saw the first soft-opening tasting-trials where the limited number of open seats were swooped up almost instantly, but I was lucky enough to snag a table of 10 at the last available time on the last Monday, May 6th at 9:30PM.
I gotta say, this new Great Leap spot totally caught me off-guard. I was astonished when I first walked up their steps and through their front doors. Expecting something more similar to their original space, I was almost embarrassed at how wrong I was. This new brewpub is nothing like their original space. Not only is it gigantic (it’s more than 500 square meters), it’s kind of fancy! Not that their original space isn’t absolutely lovely, but I always attributed that to its tucked-away space in a tree-filled hutong courtyard. This new location is actually just as down-to-earth as the original (the decor is minimal, the lighting is dim and there’s almost nothing in terms of “decor”), but there’s something about the open layout that seems to make everything a little more visible (people included). Perhaps it was the just-left-the-office-work-dress crowd that made me feel like a bum showing up straight after a sweaty, back-to-back double session of HeyRunning and Heyrobics.
Since my first visit, I’ve already been back for seconds and there have already been some noticeable changes on the menu and the place has had a steady turn-around of customers both nights I’ve come in. Housed in a giant space with plenty of room to go around and a lovely outdoor deck, Great Leap really opened just in time to take full advantage of the long summer nights ahead.
The past few weeks have required customers to make advanced reservations, but they’ve just announced that spontaneous walk-ins are now welcome. *Note that their opening hours are still limited to 6PM-midnight with a last call for kitchen orders at 10:30PM.
“Our new brewpub isn’t officially open, but we’re offering limited hours from Tuesday through Sunday 6PM-midnight until May 30th! Order some food and grab some beers. Walk-ins are totally welcome!” - Liz Phung, Media & PR Director of Great Leap Brewing
Still in Soft Opening with Limited Hours but Finally No Reservations Required!
LDS Snapshots of The Gigantic New Great Leap Brewing Brewpub:
New Great Leap Brewing Brewpub Entrance
Where the Brew Magic Happens
Perfect-for-Summer Outdoor Brewpub Deck
Switching from tacos to burgers, Culinary Genius Kin Hong has shared his magic touch with Great Leap’s Brewpub Menu.
Still in soft-opening, I foresee plenty of future additions and changes, but for now the menu features pub grub basics from burgers to sharing salads and sides to pair alongside their current line-up of 8 brews (soon to be 15 beer taps headed up by brew master Tobias Palmer).
I’m not the biggest beer drinker, but after cheeky sips of everyone else’s beer, I quite liked their Pale Ale #6. In any case, enough about beer, I came for a feast of Kin’s burgers that I’d been anxiously waiting to taste for what seems like ages!
We knew there’d be plenty of food, but we were surprised to be served a tasting of their entire menu broken up into three courses:
First up: Appetizer Sampler included a basket of Mixed Raw Veggies and another mixed basket of fried goodness (onion rings, fried chicken nuggets and chicken wings). Both baskets on opposite ends of your health spectrum, which balances us out to neutral. Brilliant!
Second came the Trio of Salads: Classic Caesar but with Mantou croutons (so much better than croutons made from normal bread), a Hard Boiled Egg sliced down the middle and a charred lemon to squeeze all over the bowl. This is the crowd pleaser, but I quite liked the “Chop Salad” (a mix of everything from Smoked Gouda cheese to diced salami) and the “Garden Mix”, which is really what I should be eating every day. It’s a beautiful vegan spinach salad with a light citrus dressing, a layer of sunflower seeds and a handful of mantou croutons.
Saving the best for last, we couldn’t wait to stuff our faces with their Griddle selection of GLB Burgers. They’ve launched their menu with 4 burger options – a Classic Beef Burger called “The Old Fashion”, a gluttonous double patty, double Cheddar Cheeseburger, a Lamb and Tzatziki burger called their “GLB Burger” and my favorite of all them all is their “Knife and Fork Sandwich” which is a vegetarian patty made from mushrooms and barley cushioned by a thick brioche bed and topped with garlic aioli, arugula and tomato.
LDS Snapshots of Great Leap’s Brewpub Grub:
Beginning Our Feast with a Pint of Pale Ale
Beer Battered Onion Rings
Raw Veggie Basket with Green Goddess Dressing (RMB 25)
Mixed Basket of Beer Battered Fried Chicken Nuggets and Crispy GLB Wings with Garlic Aioli
The Chop Salad with Romaine, Iceberg, Mixed Beans, Shredded Mozzarella, Smoked Gouda, Diced Salami, Grape Tomato, Shallot, Oregano Dressing (RMB 45)
Caesar Salad with Romaine Lettuce tossed with Caesar Dressing, Parmesan, Mantou Croutons, Hard Boiled Egg, and Charred Lemon (RMB 40)
Garden Mix Salad with Spinach, Tomato, Cherry Radish, Red Onion, Carrot, and Cucumber Tossed with a light citrus Dressing and topped with Sunflower Seeds and Mantou Croutons (RMB 35)
Great Leap Brewing Brewpub Salads
Great Leap Brewpub Menu: The Old Fashion Burger (RMB 40)
Attack of the Great Leap Brewpub Grub
Though we were delighted by everything we tasted, we couldn’t get enough of their chicken wings and burgers. While everyone else seemed to drool most over the massive Cheeseburger, I much preferred the lamb and vegetarian patties. Their veggie burger is actually getting rave reviews (mostly by women), but I think men like it just as much without being as vocal about it.
Prices are reasonable with appetizers ranging from RMB 25-40 for a fries to a basket of wings, salads between RMB 35-45 (for a very generous portion big enough to share) and burgers between RMB 40-50 each.
The only thing missing now is sweet potato fries (coming soon as a part of their late night menu) and a dessert menu. I’m desperately missing Kin’s rum-soaked cornbread dessert from The Taco Bar, so I was excited when he offered for me to taste his new cornbread creation made from beer pulp (or as he likes to call “beer poop”), which was spicy thanks to the jalapeño topping, but nothing comparable to his winning Taco Bar cornbread. Word on the street is that they’re working on an “apple pie-like dessert made from spent grain cake”.
If I could have my wish, my dream dessert menu would include a range of cheesecakes and homemade pies. (Kin, if you can hear me, please consider a trio of cheesecakes: strawberry, blueberry and…marble cheesecake!)
Kin Testing Out Beer Cornbread Made from Beer Spent Grain (see photo below) *Not on menu*
Beer Poop Pulp
LDS Snapshots of Great Leap Brewing Brewpub:
Pretty Princess Pose by Kin Hong: Head of Great Leap Brewing’s Kitchen
Great Leap Brewing Contact Details:
Address: Xinzhong Street #12, Dongcheng District, Beijing
The Original Great Leap Brewing:
Address: Doujiao Hutong #6, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Photo by Great Leap Brewpub
Save-the-Date: Beijing Craft Beer Festival
June 21 & 22
“We’re stepping it up for the Second Annual Beijing Craft Beer Festival! This year the festival will take place over two days, and we’re expecting 10 craft breweries from China, 8 food vendors, live music and an awesome kid’s play area!” – Great Leap Brewing
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