This week's recommendation from Neil at Real Beer.
Beer Fact: Tsingtao is the only Chinese beer to appear in the Beer Hunter Michael Jackson's list of the world’s top 500 beers.
Beer Opinion: Tsingtao is definitely my favorite Chinese beer.
Granted, it's the only Chinese beer I've ever tried - but I really do like it.
It's also surprisingly easy to find - in Wellington it pops up at a number of fine Chinese and Malaysian restaurants and at reputable bottle stores like Regional Wines and Spirits.
I had a couple of bottles for lunch at the excellent Long Bar just to confirm its ready availability for skeptical readers.
A word of warning though - be careful with your pronunciation otherwise you may end up with the inferior Thai Singha! The official Tsingtao website suggests “Ching-dow”.
The brewery was founded by Germans in the port of Tsingtao in the early 1900s. At that time, the city was a German port as part of the concessions after the Boxer Rebellion. The Germans were eventually kicked out by the Imperial Japanese Army, who moved in and stayed until they were defeated in the Second Sino-Japanese war. Tsingtao Brewery is now 100% Chinese owned and is the largest in China. Many breweries around the world were established by German settlers including Samoa Breweries, and the producers of the excellent Namibian Windhoek.
Geopolitics aside, the beer pours a lovely straw colour with a wispy white head. It has a slightly astringent and crisp nose. Nicely carbonated, it has short, sweetish body with a crisp, dry finish. It’s quite smooth and refreshing and is indeed a perfect match for spicy food.
This is one of the few beers to use a small proportion of rice properly giving it a light colour and clean finish. It is not overly complicated - but everything balances and everything works.
LINKS: Michael Jackson, beer hunter
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