Craft beer in Suzhou

Oct 24, 2016


Where do you like to go for a drink? And what do you like to drink once you get there? My husband and I like to go out every so often, and he particularly likes to drink beer. When we first arrived in Suzhou about six years ago, when we went out for a drink, the choice of beer available was fairly limited. Most places we went to would have well-known beers, like Tsingdao, Budweiser, Heineken, and Hoegarden, but not much else. For more variety, we needed to go to Shanghai to visit craft beer bars there, such as Boxing Cat, or Shanghai Brewery. These bars sell beer they make themselves, which is sometimes called craft beer, and offer a wide range of interesting tastes.

But recently, things have changed. We no longer need to travel to Shanghai to experience craft beer, thanks to a number of new bars that have now opened in Suzhou. In this article, I would like to introduce one of these bars to you – Birdland (飞度餐厅酒吧). We have visited this place several times for both food and drinks, since it opened earlier this year.

Birdland is located next to Jinji Lake in Li Gong Di Phase 4 (李公堤4期), which is very close to the south entrance to Li Gong Di. The bar is in the same building as a reasonably large youth hostel, so is easy to find if you look out for that. The nearest bus stop is Li Gong Di Nan (李公堤南) on Jinjihu Main Road (金鸡湖大道), which is about five to ten minutes’ walk away. This stop is served by many bus lines going both east and west of the lake.

The selection of beers at Birdland is very good. They have up to fifteen drinks on tap, most of which are regional Chinese craft beers, from places such as Nanjing, Wuhan, and even Suzhou. You can check out what they have available on a blackboard above the bar. This board also includes information about alcohol percentage, PLATO (which is something to do with the amount of sugar used), IBU (International Bittering Units), and brewery for each beer. And it is not only beer they have on tap – they have a draught cider from Shandong too, which we thought was very tasty. We also tried an interesting Sichuan peppercorn wheat beer last time we were there, which my husband particularly enjoyed.

As well as drinks, Birdland offers a range of food. Their menu includes breakfast dishes, pizzas, burgers, Asian dishes, and a few snacks. They also have special meal deals on from Sunday to Thursday. We have sampled their pizzas and burgers, both of which we enjoyed.

One other attractive feature of Birdland is its design. It is not a very big bar, but the owners have obviously put a lot of thought into its decoration. In particular, one wall is made entirely out of beer bottles (apparently by one of the owners), which we thought was quite striking. In general, the bar has a simple and modern look to it. It also has a nice outdoor seating area, which is pleasant when the weather is good.

Overall, I would definitely recommend making a trip to Birdland. The staff are friendly, the beer is great, and the food is good too.
 


About the Column

Kaori

Kaori is from Fukuoka, Japan and she moved to Suzhou with her British husband in 2010. She gave birth to a baby girl in Shanghai in 2014 and is currently a full-time mother, but previously studied Chinese at Suzhou University. Kaori enjoys going for walks, going out for meals, shopping on Taobao and visiting new places in China. Places she has particularly enjoyed visiting include Harbin, Beijing, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Moganshan, Guilin and Yangshuo. She also loves to explore different areas of Suzhou, both old and new.

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