The number of microbreweries in Taiwan has been growing at a rate that makes me wonder if I should start a "Keeping Up With Leslie's Beer Belly" Series. Seriously, it's a dilemma when you're constantly spoiled with so many great choices, but also try to stay fit at the same time. Another typical #firstworldproblem.
Among all the breweries, bars, and craft beer hubs in Taipei, Sunmai Bar has been on the horizon and is bringing its A-game to the battlefield. Created by the one of the OGs and biggest craft beer brands Le Ble D'or Group (金色三麥), this new establishment offers an impressive variety of craft beer selection to appeal to any taste - from the classic lagers and ales to more funky and fruity flavors, you name it, they have it.
DON'T WORRY, BEER HAPPY
I called up my friend @tipsygraphy to check out the new Sunmai Bar together 2 weeks ago, we were both pleasantly surprised by the extensive offerings they have in store, not to mention all beers are on tap. We might have gotten a little bit too excited and ordered more than we could have handle (opps).
A lot of places nowadays make "creative beers" but Sunmai's beers do not sacrifice taste for creativity. We've tried a total of four beers: Honey Lager, Fruit Ale, Wheat Beer, and Sunmai Stout.
If you're looking for something that's more unique, opt for the Honey Beer (abv 5%). Unlike most breweries, Sunmai uses longan honey instead of regular honey, which compliments the lager flavor and gives it a slight hint of floral note. Longan honey has an extremely short 28-day harvest time each year, making it even more special in beer brewing. If you love fruit beer, and want something on the sweeter end, go for the Fruit Ale. It also has the least abv (4.5%) of all the beers I've tried. The fruity aroma carried over to the palate while the bitterness subsided. This pink beer is definitely fun, raspberry-y, and one of customer's favorites.
The German Wheat Beer (abv 5.5%) is a safe bet if you're visiting Sunmai for the first time and not yet ready to unleash your adventurous self. The wheat beer would make a good first drink. It is smooth on the palate and has a creamy banana after taste, which results from the brewing process. However, my personal favorite unexpectedly was the coffee-like, chocolatey Sunmai Stout (abv 5.5%), which is not my usual go-to beer choice. It is rich in flavor and has a bold, silky texture. We may live in an IPA world today, but Sunmai's Stout shows that stout still holds its place. The roast-y, smoky finish pairs particularly well with grilled meats.
IN CASE YOU GET HUNGRY
I don't know about you, but whenever I drink, my appetite switch gets flipped on very easily. Luckily, Sunmai bar knows the way to my heart - FOOD.
We ordered the skewers deluxe platter, Taiwanese sausage pizza, fried jalapeno, and a fried chicken and fries combo. The fried jalapeno was crunchy and utterly delicious. With the sour cream dip on the side, it's what I call a happy marriage. I also liked the chicken skewer with green onion on top, but the real star of the show was the fried chicken. Crispy and flavorful on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside. Even someone like me, who is not a huge fan of fried food, I thoroughly enjoyed the chicken very much.
GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN
If you're in the mood for something fruity and less bitter, the cocktail tasting flight is a great option! The cocktail flight comes with four glasses of fuzzy refreshing drinks (from left to right) - Suze Tonic, Lillet Sloe Tonic, Dark and Stormy (rum, lime & ginger ale), and Campari Coke. Note that the cocktails are only available on Wednesdays, making them the perfect pre-drinks for the ladies' night. Grab your girls and get the party started!
If you want to take a quick break from drinking beers, Sunmai also offers non-alcoholic drinks such as this bottle of Wostok Date Pomegranate lemonade , a German beverage brand that makes flavored lemonades that are sparkling and intensely fruity.
The interior has a fun and chill vibe. Lots of graphic illustrations, wall art, neon signs hanging around.
I love watching the bartenders work their magic, because often time it's almost like watching a show in the front row seats aka the best seats in the house, so my friend and I requested to sit by the bar, but sofa/table seats are also available.
If you a fan of craft beers or just looking for a new spot to quench your thirst, add Sunmai to your list. It is the spot for a casual evening beer with friends or even with colleagues (tip: time passes by faster when you're tipsy), in fact, it can also be a pre-drink spot before you go all out with your buddies.
Address: 1F, No.55, Section 1 Anhe Road, Taipei City, Taiwan
Tel: 02 2751 0055