The last few years has seen the craft beer scene ever-expanding
in Shanghai, and with that perfect timing of multinationals, the corporate beer world influx has begun. Brewing conglomerate Anheuser-Busch InBev has been pushing its own ‘homegrown’ brand Goose Island hard across the city’s bars, now opening its flagship brewhouse location on Maoming Bei Lu.
The beer here is fine. Pints of Goose Island classics are priced
at 38RMB for 330ml or 58RMB per (US size) pint, but move into the vintage and specialty brews and ales and prices start from 98RMB per pint and 168RMB per 765ml bottle. The flight of beers (98RMB) gets you six 150ml glasses (one seasonal, one ‘innovation’ and four house beers); though when we order it, the seasonal and innovation have yet to arrive, and they deliver six house beers.
Price and a scattered selection stir mixed feelings for the food, and quite frankly, it’s hard to know how to order.
A burger seems like a sure pick, but the 138RMB Brewhouse Burger is literally too big to enjoy – you’ll be a mess before you even take a bite,
and the overwhelming amount of blue cheese crumbles overshadows the well-seasoned meat underneath. There are signature cuts of meat that cost a pretty penny and seem strange partners for mid- range beer. Even the sandwiches are 88RMB.
There are stars: the grilled cedar-planked brie (88RMB) is infused with a deep woody flavour and comes beautifully adorned in
a magenta blanket of wine barrel- pickled dragonfruit jam. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better plate of asparagus than one with egg confit on a Himalayan salt slab, drizzled
in roasted red pepper cream and sprinkled with Parmesan crisps (78RMB), and the giant roasted sweet potato is well-dressed
in aubergine aioli and charcoal vinaigrette, but is still a 58RMB baked potato. The iron skillet side
of IPA mac and cheese (58RMB) is a hoppy, decadent hit. But WTF should you order for a meal?
While the food is actually quite good, the unbalanced offerings and their costs make for a difficult task in choosing what to eat. This place has definite potential, but Goose Island needs to improve synergy between brew and grub.