Master Gao 高大师啤酒屋

Article By Ji Kai Rui

#5 Westside of Tiyuguan Dong Lu..
5:00pm – 2:00am
Happy Hour: 5:00pm – 8:00pm

Average Price per Person /人均消费: 60RMB

PROS: Good (and cold) beer, reasonable prices, great staff

CONS: Limited indoor seating (but second floor opening soon)

Tiyuguan East Road (about a block east of the South Gate) has been earmarked by the city for development into a sort of art street, similar to Beijing’s famous 798 district. There are already a bunch of new restaurants and bars popping up, and the most recent to open is Master Gao. With a great selection of self-brewed craft beers, above-average western food and a very friendly staff, Master Gao has checked all the boxes for a great brewpub experience.

When I walked into Master Gao, I was immediately greeted by the very friendly manager, Lei.  She speaks excellent English, and gave me samples of several beers, explaining the flavor profiles of each, before I finally settled on a delicious Guoxiang wheat beer, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s light, crisp, refreshing and has a lot more depth and character than most of the Hefeweizens you’ll find. Other highlights were the raspberry sour wheat beer (almost like a cider), the honey brown ale, the jasmine tea baby lager and the stout. For IPA lovers, there are a lot of options as well. As the opposite of an IPA lover, I can’t really speak to the quality of them, but there are more than 15 beers total on tap here, so there’s sure to be something for everyone.

The food menu isn’t big but it does enough to get by, with burgers, a couple pastas, fish and chips and fries. The highlight was the sausage platter, which came with sauerkraut and a nice grain mustard.  The wedges are also particularly good, though a bit under-salted (as all fries in China tend to be). It’s not the best western food you can find in Xi’an, but it’s decent, and certainly a step up from the peanuts and guoba (锅巴) that you typically find in bars.

The decor here is simple, but nice, and about what you’d expect for a typical brewpub. Currently only the lower floor is open, but the upper floor is under renovation and should be opened up soon.  It’s not as lively as places like Helen’s or Park Qin, but that’s not what they’re going for here. This is a great bar for lovers of craft beer to get together and have a few pints, and while it’s not as cheap as the bottle shops all over the city, the prices are comparable with the other craft beer places in Xi’an. Pints are almost all 48RMB, with just a few that will run you 58RMB. Food offerings are also mostly in the 30-50RMB price range.

I think I’ve probably hit most of the craft beer options in Xi’an, and this Nanjing chain is, in my opinion, one of the best. With a friendly staff, a large variety of draft beers, better than average food and a convenient location, Master Gao has something for everyone.

Ji is a singer, maker of Ejuice, and lover of all things drinkable