Harbin Beer – China’s oldest beer

On Saturday night, a visitor to the Cantina surprised with a six pack of Harbin Beer. Now this BotF correspondent spent 7 months in China and was pretty partial to the odd stubbie of Harbin – in particular Harbin Black. What BotF didn’t know is that Harbin Beer, like many labels around the world has become part of the Anheuser-Busch InBev empire. This is the latest in a series of takeovers that have marked Harbin Beer’s history since it was founded by a Russian in 1900, which makes it 3 years older than Tsing-Tao.

Harbin is in the far North-East of China and is popular place to visit, particularly in winter when it holds its ice festival. For 3 months of the year, Harbin’s average temperature is minus 15. In summer, Harbin holds a beer festival that is now dominated by Budweiser – but it would still go off – as the Chinese just love to get hammered – and more than the odd Russian would visit as well.

This version of Harbin Beer is pretty innocuous. Probably wasn’t cold enough – but it didn’t have much cut through in terms of taste.