Beer In Situ: Jackie’s Beer Nest

The Pertinents

  • Jackie’s Beer Nest
  • 76 Zhaozhou Lu near Xizang Nan Lu 肇周路76号 (across from E-Mart at Laoximen Station. Take Exit 3.)
  • Founded in 2007

Their Self-Description

“A wide selection of international beers in your neighborhood of Shanghai.” –beernest.com

The shops and alleyways near the Beer Nest
The shops and alleyways near the Beer Nest

The Space

It really is a beer nest! On a bustling side street near Laoximen Station, this would be an easy place to miss if you didn’t realise it was there (or seek it out directly and walk by about fifteen times like we did). The Beer Nest is a tiny shop with a single communal table in the middle, a live music area about three feet square, and plastic table outside for sipping beers on the sidewalk. Jackie asked us simply, “Hey guys, want some beer?” and we were off.

The space is well-maintained and somewhat out of place in the neighbourhood, which features a food market with epic crowds and lots of tiny stray kittens to ‘aww’ at (don’t worry, they are fed and looked after). We sat outside and waited for the night to come in around us, with the constant buzzing of the city as a soundtrack. It was the happiest we’ve felt in Shanghai!

Be prepared for a couple of strange looks from the ladies who live upstairs and the people walking back from the market, since this is a street that is more Chinese than international. A guy across the road was making traditional popcorn in a can, which he periodically kicked and let out a massive bang! Traditional music was blaring on the radio across the road and people were constantly coming and going from the alleys and shops all around. A group of little sparrows have made their nests in the tangled cables above the Beer Nest. A fitting group of friends to attract!

It was absolutely brilliant.

TPA on the sidewalk
TPA on the sidewalk

The Beer

Remarkable selection at this place. There are about sixteen taps for draught beers, which is almost as many as the bar I worked at in London! In addition, bottles abound from a wide variety of international craft breweries. There were even some that I had never seen before! We’ve been to a couple hole-in-the-wall beer places in Shanghai, but none has the selection and expertise that you can get at Jackie’s. The beers are fresher and better-maintained.

Jackie also brews small batch beers that are featured on the taps. There were about five on draught when we visited the first time, and they are well-balanced, well-made craft beers in their own right. The signs on the taps are hand written and illustrated, and there were at least four of them made in house when we visited. I also had a Hopwired IPA (from New Zealand, and hard to come by in London or Colorado), which was fresh and tasty. Jackie advised us away from a couple of beers, telling us honestly that they hadn’t been in the cooler long enough and would be hard to pour. I love a good honest barman!

The prices are a little higher than some places (50 RMB for most pints), but let’s face it: this isn’t cheap-ass lager you’re buying. The prices are lower than in London or Colorado for the same beers, and you’ll get to sample some actual craft beer from Shanghai if you have a pint of small batch. It’s worth every quai.

Hours are when Jackie can work.
“Need good beer? Call….”

Tasting Notes

We will add to this list once we’ve visited more. We will inevitably be back.

  • Style: TPA (Tea India Pale Ale)
  • Geekery: 6% ABV, Not sure on IBUs, Colour= Hazy Amber
  • I’d had a TPA in England before (possibly the only country in the world as attached to its tea as China is!). This was so much better. Bitter but balanced, with a lot of the bitter taste coming from a secret recipe of tea leaves. Fresh, leafy, and citrusy, this beer has the slightest hint of clover honey on the aftertaste. Unfiltered and with good levels of carbonation. Can’t really ask for more out of a small batch beer!
  • Score: 4.9 pints (out of five)

Summer Ale

  • Style: Pale Ale
  • Geekery: 5% ABV, Not sure on IBUs, Colour= Golden Sunshine
  • Herbaceous and fresh, with what is becoming the characteristic taste of Shanghai’s craft beer (a tangy, mineral taste most likely related to the water in the city…not at all spoiling to the beer, but characteristic nonetheless). So refreshing after a long day wandering around in the heat. This beer is what I wanted Victory Brewing’s ‘Summer Love’ to taste like, but maybe even with more body to it.
  • Score: 4.8 pints

The Munchies

We didn’t eat while we were there the first time, but I can’t imagine a kitchen fits in the Beer Nest. Smoked gouda and Spanish ham were on offer. The area has a lot of tasty-looking street food and a bustling ingredients market selling heaps of god-knows-what, which will someday be in my belly after a good night at the Beer Nest. For the less-adventurous, there’s a KFC around the corner.

Hard day's work for Russell with his wheel barrow
Hard day’s work for Russell with his wheel barrow and Summer Ale

Russell’s One-Line Review

TBD- He’s at work!

The interior of the nest!
The interior of the nest!

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