In a smog-shrouded hutong, a love affair is brewing. It’s unbridled. Some might say insatiable, even. It is stronger still than the bond between spouses – the love of husband and wife team Carl Setzer and Lui Fang for beer.
Founded in 2010, Great Leap Brewing has gone from from strength to strength in a matter of years. Before they arrived, Beijing had been barren of craft breweries . In the years that followed the opening of their brewery, seven more have followed suit thanks in no small part to their efforts to make world-class beer. “Here in China, the assumption is if you can do it in Beijing, you can do it anywhere and everywhere.”
5.50am. Dublin Airport. A little over four hours sleep under my belt as I wander through the automatic doors into a hubbub of noise in the check-in area.
So starts my day trip with a difference. With my boarding pass and passport in hand, I make it through US customs pre-clearance to the departure lounge where my bleary eyes – still glued together with sleep – scan the TV monitors for my flight details. EI 103. New York. Departure time: 7.50am.
I can’t deny the prospect of this particular trip has my adrenaline pumping more than most trips I’ve undertaken as a travel writer, perhaps because the many variables that could go wrong are racing through my mind.
Would the fog enveloping the airport force a cancellation? Maybe the flight wouldn’t leave on time?
I’d like to think, though, that it is mostly down to the fact I would experience the feverish madness that is New York again. And, of course, the sheer feat of travelling across the Atlantic twice in the same day.
But it does beg the question – is it really possible to visit New York in a day from Ireland? Aer Lingus seemed to think so and I was more than determined to find out for myself.
Find out how I got on in my piece for the Irish Independent.