Hong Kong craft beer revolution hops along

 Hong Kong craft beer revolution hops along
Young Master Ales owner Rohit Dugar from India talks in an interview with AFP during Beertopia, Hong Kong's International Craft Beer Festival.

HONG KONG - Rohit Dugar moved to Hong Kong from New York three years ago and quickly realised that he didn't like any of the beer there. So he decided to make his own.

He quit his job at Goldman Sachs and late last year opened his own microbrewery, Young Master Ales.

In doing so, the 34-year-old from New Delhi and his brewmaster partner Ulrich Altbauer joined a growing number of "craft" beer makers - small volume, independent breweries - aiming to save Hong Kong from drowning in a sea of industrial, imported lager.

"We're trying to discover what Hong Kong's brewing culture should be like," said Dugar, pulling beers for a line-up of punters at his stall on an overcast afternoon at Hong Kong's Beertopia craft beer festival - an event that aims to bring local and regional breweries to a wider audience.

"We want to do a few classic styles, do them well, earn our stripes as a brewery. As long as we keep doing that the local beer scene will grow," said Dugar.

"When people realise that something has potential, things tend to move quickly here in Hong Kong."

Young Master Ales currently produces 15,000 litres per month. Its seven beers range from a 5.0 per cent "Classic" amber pale ale to an 11.5 per cent brew aged for six months in a whisky barrel, giving it complex rye, oak and malt notes.

The grain is imported from Germany, while the hops come from Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Dugar says he also uses locally sourced herbs and spices.

Young Master is among four new brewing operations to start up business in Hong Kong in the past year, with each one aiming to develop world-class beers that speak to their home city, while an increasing number of bars are dedicating taps usually dominated by mainstream beers to more artisanal tipples.

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