Having raided my favourite beer stores and replenished my fridge, I'd like to share with you an appreciation of the great beers now gracing shelves in Hong Kong. My first port of call was the Beer Bay (Discovery Bay Plaza; tel: 2987 8023), which is usually stocked with treasures from all over the world. I was happy to find it had a special 'any five Belgian beers for $90' deal. I picked up some of Belgium's finest: Liefman's Old Brown Ale (five per cent alcohol), Tripel Karmeliet (eight per cent) and Chimay Tripel (eight per cent). I also found Batemans XXXB (4.8 per cent) - a classic English bitter; Einbecker dunkel (6.5 per cent), a dark Bock beer from the German town of Einbeck, famous for its strong beers; the heavyweight champion Samichlaus, which at 14 per cent is rated the strongest lager in the world by the Guinness Book Of Records; and the intriguing Young's Double Chocolate Stout (5.2 per cent), 'a beer that's sure to raise a few eyebrows' according to the label. Each beer is special. Take Samichlaus, for example. Brewed for a year and bottled every St Nicholas' Day (December 6), this dark red beer comes from Eggenberg Castle in the stunning Alpine town of Vorchdorf, Austria. It is blessed in the castle's chapel before being released with a vintage stamp on its label and is cherished by beer lovers all over the world for its smooth, soothing, comforting taste. Mine is a 2000 vintage which will develop in flavour all the way until 2010. Young's Double Chocolate Stout is one of the few Chocolate Stouts that contains a dash of chocolate - in addition to malts roasted to the point of a caramel flavour. It is a sweet stout as opposed to a dry stout such as Guinness, with a sensuous touch and slightly bitter finish. Liefman's Old Brown Ale, on the other hand, has a characteristic sweet and sour taste and an acidic nature, making it the perfect base for the famous Flemish beef stew Carbonade Flamande. After this intense round of beer buying I refreshed myself in the plaza with a glass of Greene King IPA (India Pale Ale) draught from the Beer Bay's bar, then headed across the harbour to Oliver's (2/F, Prince's Building, Central, tel: 2810 7710). It had a good collection of American brews: the fresh and clean-tasting Samuel Adams Boston Lager, the light and refreshing Mirror Pond Pale Ale, the malty Anchor Steam and a range of Bridgeport Porters, IPAs and bitters. The Bridgeport IPA is bewitchingly fragrant and hoppy and goes beautifully with spicy Indian dishes; the Porter is a dream with chocolate ice-cream and the Extra Special Bitter is just right with roast beef or lamb. Britain was represented on Oliver's shelves by Boddington's ('the cream of Manchester'). The catch of the day, however, was at the local Park'n'Shop, where I bagged a can of DAB Dortmunder lager (4.5 per cent) for a mere $2.50. Booming with hops and bitter, it has a huge taste at a small price. Where do you buy your beer? Super-markets, department stores, speciality shops? Are there stores in your neighbourhood with good beer collections? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org .