Reinforcing its already uniquely eccentric identity of the “happening district”, Sheung Wan — PoHo to be exact — comes craft beer and bistronomy concept, Blue Supreme. The gastro pub melds seamlessly into the quirky community; the cool-kids’ hangout is also home to antiquated curios stores, contemporary art galleries, hipster cafes, secondhand trinket stalls, and splashy wall murals. The newest addition of the artsy scene sits on the steps of Tung Street leading up to Hollywood Road is Theodore (more affectionately known as Ted) Lai’s specialty beer taproom.
To answer to the budding craft beer fan base in Hong Kong, Blue Supreme was launched as a niche bar that could offer styles of beers that Ted saw was absent in Hong Kong. “Certain types of beers are hard to come by in Hong Kong; styles like saisons and funky sours (mixed fermentation sours) especially. The craft beer market focuses heavily on pale ales and IPAs and it doesn’t paint a full picture of what craft beer is. We saw a gap that we wanted to fill, hence, we opened Blue Supreme and imported a selection of beers that are only available here right now” Ted explains.
His love for music is what led Ted into the business of beer (on the side, he also runs music app, Electric Soul with wife-to-be, Christina Tang).A visit to Coachella in L.A. to see the band, Interpol, is what started it all – where Ted sipped his first Stone IPA. The concert was especially significant as it inspired the name of the bar too — “Cruising in my Blue Supremeis a song by Interpol, and is a metaphor for finding happiness, something I discovered while falling in love with craft beer. But that single bottle kickstarted my foray into the foreign world of craft beer. I read and drank my way through different styles, but what really got me hooked was the Fantôme Saison and Oude Gueuze — these beers possess nuanced and layered flavours which interact really well with food, particularly vinous beers because it balances acidity out perfectly.”
Speaking of food and pairing, Blue Supreme’s menu is intended to complement its beer variety. “Beers cover a wide spectrum of flavours, that doesn’t have hard rules like wine when it comes to food. Beer can contrast, cut or complement food. But all our pairings on the menu serves as a suggestion only, beers are versatile and casual.” That being said, the bestselling duck confit burger is not to be missed. It is best served with a Cuvée Soeur’ise by Brouweij de Leite on the side — the wild yeast and bacteria in the barrel fermented on Kriek gives it a barnyard flavour while the bottling conditions offers a lively perlage. “The funkiness complements the meat of the duck and duck egg yolk where the carbonation cuts through the fat and refreshes the palette, and the cherry aromas act as an additional component to the dish, giving it a great contrast.”
When asked about his personal go-to, the young entrepreneur struggles as playing favourites is too hard when he has personally sourced each drink, and each have their own distinct character.
Unsure of what to order? The menu is helpful by being arranged in order of intensity and categorised by flavour profiles. “Using flavour as an international language, we want people to feel at home with our selection and familiarise themselves with our beers.” This comes in handy for the experimental craft drinker, but the barmen are also very well versed in their trade.
A few special mentions include the Broujerij’s Kriek Lambiek on draft, for a burst of cherry aroma with a dry, earthy and tart finish; an easy-to-drink La Vermontoise by Brasserie de Blaugies for primitive grassy hay-like characters; and the Back to Black by Brouweij de Ranke, a dark malt with roasty flavours inspired by porters who brewed their own blend in oak barrels back in the 1800s.
What’s next for Ted? “I’m going to continue curating for Blue Supreme, while helping Christina with Electric Soul – it’s a platform to connect electronic music lovers to event organisers. Also, to prepare for my upcoming wedding in December, and if there’s any time left after that, work on my photography portfolio and try some new beers!”
This new neighbourhood tavern is on our list of favourite places to chill out, enjoy laidback vibes, and knock a few artisanal cold ones back.
Blue Supreme, 21 Tung Street, Sheung Wan; +852 2323 3633