Tsingtao Stout, Draco and Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year to you all. As I type this post, there will be fireworks galore going off in China and Taiwan as the Chinese New Year celebrations get underway. Tonight is Chinese New Year Eve, which kicks off 15 days of partying and general bonhomie. It is a great time to be in China, even though it is still bitterly cold in many parts of China, particularly Beijing, where I lived for some time. Chinese New Years Eve in Beijing tonight is -15 degrees. This year is the year of the Dragon. According to Chinese beliefs, a year of the Dragon is supposed to be quite auspicious – where good luck, success and happiness abound. That would be good if that occurs this year, given how diabolical the world’s current state.

There’s plenty of big eating and drinking at this time of year and there’s no shortage of booze options available. The beer scene is big and growing, and Tony from Toowoomba has started to discover some craft brewers that have emerged of late. You’ll recall the Aussie that’s set up a brewery in a major Shanghai hotel and he’s now found a couple in Beijing.

Tsingtao is China’s second largest brewery and was founded in 1903 by the Germans in the city of Qingdao. Qingdao is the home of one of the great beer festivals, which is held in August. I can’t imagine how much of the standard Tsingtao is made annually. That’s the standard bevvy that is widely available in Chinese restaurants and even at Dan Murphy’s. There’s not many varieties of Tsingtao, but there is a stout that is reasonably widespread in Beijing. I turned one of these up in a bottle in Sydney’s Chinatown. It’s not the greatest stout, but it has a go. At 7.5% it doesn’t muck around. It’s thinner than most of the Australian Stouts and less complex, but has a pleasant bitterness.

The less than can be said for Draco Super Premium Beer the better. It made for a good tie-in to this post, but that’s about it. The can talks about being brewed with German inspiration, but then like many Chinese or Taiwanese beers actually contains rice. I’ve had good Chinese beer – I’m yet to have a good Taiwanese beer – and Draco maintains that track record.

Happy Chinese New Year to you all – and maybe the auspiciousness of the Dragon prevail.