Media Cafe brews up beer for Oktoberfest

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 October, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 October, 1997, 12:00am

A frothy, thirst-quenching treat awaits lovers of fine German ale at the Media Cafe during Oktoberfest.

The amber brews at this three-month-old restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui are all made on the premises in special 'micro-brewery' facilities.

The cafe is offering an all-you-can- drink 'Beer Buffet' to celebrate the annual month-long festival.

The 17,000-square-foot restaurant is a three-part operation comprising the Media Cafe, the Beer Garden and the Hofbrauhaus Beer Museum.

The restaurant, in the basement of the Miramar Shopping Centre, is a joint venture between the Hofbraeu Brewery of Munich and local partners Fitto Entertainment Group headed by film star Patrick Tse.

About $37 million has been invested in the 360-seat facility, of which $7.7 million was spent on buying the brewery machinery from Germany.

Raymond Tong, executive director of Media Cafe, said he got the idea for the micro-brewery after seeing a similar facility on a visit to Beijing in 1991.

After years of lobbying the Hong Kong Government for permission to set up, he was given the go-ahead last year. ' What makes the Media Cafe unique is people can watch the brewing process while they are having a drink or dinner,' Mr Tong said.

It boasts a New York theme with lots of dark colours, wood panelling, media paraphernalia, eight Internet terminals and an open kitchen.

The centrepiece is two 10 hecto-litre copper cookers capable of producing 6,000 355ml glasses of beer.

The cooked beer is put through an ice water plant to reduce the 80 degree Celsius liquid to 12 degrees before it is pumped to fermentation and storage tanks.

Mr Tong said the brewing process took about eight hours and up to three weeks for ageing. The company has three beers, a lager, a wheat-based beer and a special Oktoberfest brew.

During Oktoberfest, diners can try the 'Beer Buffet' for $50 at happy hour from 5 pm to 8 pm and $90 from 8 pm until closing.

'Right now micro-breweries are fashionable but it goes beyond that. This is the freshest beer you can get in Hong Kong and once people try it they can taste the difference. Hopefully, this will create a demand,' Mr Tong said.