What better way to end the week than with a local craft beer? Since I can think of none, usually you'll find me at happy hour on Hong Kong Island. But this past Friday, I decided to visit Moonzen Brewery in Kwun Tong, a neighborhood on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong.
For craft beer lovers, this is the perfect spot to spend the evening catching up with friends while sampling a variety of Moonzen's delicious brews! In this post, I'll show you how to get there and give you a few tips on visiting the brewery.
About Moonzen Brewery
Moonzen Brewery is a family-run micro brewery in Hong Kong serving delicious craft beers inspired by Chinese folklore and Hong Kong culture.
After brewing small batches in his home, Lazlo Raphael and his wife Michelle Wong Raphael officially started Moonzen in December 2013. When they first opened, they had a tiny industrial space in Kwun Tong. By 2016, they'd grown and moved to the large warehouse where they are today.
What's in a Name?
The name 'Moonzen' comes from the Cantonese mun san or door guardians - the gods whose images you'll see displayed at the doors to Chinese buildings and temples.
Continuing the theme, each of the beers in Moonzen's core lineup is named after a god or goddess in Chinese mythology, such as the Thunder God Pale Ale, Jade Emperor IPA, and Monkey King Amber Ale. And, as they say, every beer has a story.
Given my love of IPAs, it's no surprise that my favorite is the Jade Emperor IPA. Named after one of the most important gods in the Chinese Taoist pantheon, it's a heavy IPA for Hong Kong (7% ABV). I enjoy heavy beers and find its citrus and floral hops with a malty undertone delicious.
Visiting the Moonzen Brewery
Getting to the Brewery
Despite this being my third visit to Moonzen Brewery, I still had to stop and think before choosing the right way into the entrance. It's a little tricky to find it, even when you've been there before!
Walk from the Kwun Tong MTR
First, you'll take the MTR to Kwun Tong Station, exit B1. It's about a 5 minute walk from the MTR to the brewery on Shing Yip Street.
Continue straight from the MTR exit until you reach Shing Yip St, then cross the street and turn left. After you pass the Wellcome grocery store, you'll reach the East Sun Industrial Centre.
Finding Moonzen in the East Sun Industrial Centre
This is the tricky part. Since the brewery is located inside a warehouse in the East Sun Industrial Centre, you have to go inside the building to get to the brewery.
In the photo below, you can see the entrance to building where you need to go.
Walk straight back into the first building. Go past the trucks and up the ramp toward the back of the building. You should see 4 freight elevators.
Be sure to get into one that goes to the second floor. In the elevator, push the button for floor 2. Once you arrive at floor 2, you'll see the red doors of Moonzen Brewery off to your left as you exit the elevator.
PRO TIP: In order to close the elevator doors, you have to hold the Door Close button until the doors are the way shut and the elevator begins to move. Otherwise, the doors will just keep popping open.
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Experience Moonzen Info
Moonzen Brewery is open to the public during its Experience Moonzen hours:
The entrance fee - HK $250* (~US $32) - will get you fresh, free-flow (self-pour) beers from Moonzen's eight taps for the duration of the time period. Plus, you can take a brewery tour, if you're interested.
The price may seem steep, but considering that a pint of craft beer in a Hong Kong bar typically costs ~HK $70-$90 (US $9-$12) + 10% service, it doesn't look so bad.
The beers on tap vary depending on what's in season and fresh. Keep an open mind and be prepared to try new beers.
Since Experience Moonzen lasts for a specific time period, they're strict about closing time. Last call is always a half hour before closing.
*Entrance fee may be higher during certain tap parties or other special events.
A Few Tips to Keep in Mind
When planning your visit to Moonzen Brewery, here are a few things to keep in mind....
1) Check Social Media before You Visit
On certain weekends, the hours may change or be canceled due to brewery functions. It's always a good idea to double-check on Moonzen's Facebook or Instagram page to confirm that they're still open on the day you plan to visit.
2) Bring Cash for the Entrance Fee
They don't have a credit card machine, so be sure to bring cash. It's also a good idea to bring exact change if you can since they run out of change sometimes.
On my last visit, they offered the option to pay via the PayMe app. I don't have this app, but my friend does and it worked well for her.
3) Eat before You Go... or Bring Snacks!
As a working brewery and not a restaurant, Moonzen Brewery does not serve food. Since you'll be drinking free-flow beers for hours, I highly recommend eating something before you arrive or bringing snacks.
If you need to pick something up, there are several food shops in Kwun Tong Plaza as you walk from the MTR. Or you could stop in the Wellcome grocery store right next to Moonzen.
Another option is to order from the local pizza shop (menu available in the brewery) and have it delivered to Moonzen. If Moonzen is crowded though, the pizza will probably take a long time because many people are placing orders.
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4) More Crowded during Launch Parties + Events
The first time I visited Moonzen Brewery was on a normal, non-event Friday night. It was so quiet! My friend and I had a table to ourselves, no competition at the taps, and we could actually have a decent conversation. Probably ideal for a first-time visit.
I planned my subsequent visits in order to attend launch parties. And the brewery was PACKED!
Although a pretty decent-sized space for Hong Kong, the tasting room feels pretty small when you get a bunch of people in there. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but you should know what you're in for before you go. And be prepared to shout!
Moonzen always promotes the launch parties on social media, so you can find out when they're happening. Then you can either be sure to attend them, or avoid them if you don't like crowds!
Where Else to Find Moonzen Beer
If you can't make it out to the Moonzen Brewery, but would like to try some of their beers, you should be able to find it by the bottle in many Hong Kong bars and beer shops.
But if you want it on tap...
My usual go-to spot on Friday nights is the Boilermaker where they have Moonzen's Jade Emperor IPA on tap regularly. Other great spots to find Moonzen brews on Hong Kong Island include The Globe, Hoppy Junction, and 65 Peel.
Meanwhile, over in Kowloon, Moonzen will soon be opening a new beer bar called Moonkok in the bustling Mong Kok neighborhood. I can't wait to check it out!
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Finally, if you're just passing through have a stop in Hong Kong International Airport, you can try Moonzen beer at Beef & Liberty's bar in the main concourse near the large food court! 😉
A visit to Moonzen Brewery is a fun and different activity than just drinking in a bar in Hong Kong. It's the perfect spot to relax with friends and try a wide range of Moonzen beers.
Have you visited Moonzen Brewery? What was your experience like and what was your favorite beer? Tell me in the comments below!