Easyrider’s guide to Passable Chinese Beer

Easyrider’s guide to Passable Chinese Beer
easyrider Feb 25, 2013 14:09

 Granted, it’s more than easy to dismiss the quality and taste of Chinese beer given that most of us are used to sharp-tasting, thick and thirst quenching European brews, but given the fact that China’s summers are relentlessly hot and that sometimes that stereotype about Asian men not being able to hold their drink comes into play, I think the choices on offer are a little bit underrated. Here, I’m going to give my low-down on a few beers I’ve sampled during my travels here. Of course, I haven’t been everywhere in this country, though I’ve tried a few local beers to form a reasonably balanced view about what’s worth testing. So let’s get started!

 1) Tsingtao 

Ok, it’s the clichéd classic, the omnipresent object in the Chinese world of beer, and you know what, I don’t think it’s all that bad. Of course it may not be strictly Chinese as such given the fact Qingdao was colonized by the Germans and the recipe for the beer does have Germanic influence, though let’s not let that bring it down. For a scorching summers day, Tsingtao’s light, crisp texture is just the ticket. Be wary though, as it does differ in taste and dodginess depending on what type you buy. Of all its incarnations I’ve found that the small bottles you get in many bars across the country to be the best tasting. I’ve had horribly watered down tins and big 3 kuai bottles, though it’s the little ones that have proven the best so far.Head to Qingdao itself, and you can check out the beer street, where they have pure, unfiltered variations that go up to around 10% alcohol content. Heaven.


2) Pearl River 

Guangdong may be well-known it’s famous American-brewed Blue Ribbon beer, though the local Pearl River brew ain’t to band itself. Again, it’slight and crisp, which makes for a perfect combatant against those horribly sticky Guangdong summer afternoons. When I was there, I found sipping a Pearl River whilst sitting outside cracking peanuts against the backdrop of a summer’s evening to be quite relaxing!


3) Sinkiang Black Beer 

From China’s mysterious province to the west Xinjiang, this has proved an adequate enough replacement for my liking of ale and stout which I used to live off back home. It’s a bit more expensive than your standard Chinese lager, though it has a much deeper taste and most importantly a higher alcohol content! Cheers to that!


4) Dali 

Last but not least on my list of preferable Chinese beers,is Yunnan’s Dali. To be honest, I can’t really describe the difference in taste between Dali, Tsingtao, or Pearl River (a recurring pattern in many Chinese lagers) but it’s been one that I’ve enjoyed and haven’t experience any painful bodily repercussions as a result of consuming it.

So there you go – here’s my very amateurish guide to good beer in China, and as hard as it may sound, I am in fact not an alcoholic but just a bike-loving maniac who likes the sip of a good beer! Ganbei!

Coming soon - guide on what not to drink!  

Tags:Lifestyle Expat Rants & Advice Food


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I'd put Tsingtao behind Pearl River. I prefer heavy beers - stouts, ales and porters; to me, lagers are glorified water. I've only found the latter in China. Of those, YANGIJNG beats the heck out of Tsingtao, which I regard as the Chinese Budweiser - and about as tasty (not) as Bud. HARBIN, like Tsingtao, is near the bottom of my Chinese list. HAINAN is decent - I'd put it 2nd, behind Yangjing, but ahead of the others. TIGER is just behind Pearl River - not sure whether I'd prefer Tiger over Tsingtao, but I'd rather skip both. Still want to try Anchor.

Mar 01, 2013 16:31 Report Abuse



I personally would have addd Harbin Beer to the list as well. I think it's slightly better than Tsingao or Yanjing, though at the end of the day they're all the same really.

Feb 26, 2013 17:22 Report Abuse