Last year I was fortunate enough to be involved in
a junket an important business trip to China and visited the cities of Beijing, Xi’an and Fuzhou. Overall the trip was amazing and a real eye opener to the forward thinking and investment that is occurring as China faces a high tech socio-economical revolution in an impressively short time frame. The trip was very hectic, although I did get a weekend at leisure in Beijing and managed to see some of the sights and get more than my fair share of Chinese lager into me. This particular example is called Yangjing, and it is surprisingly good. A nice malt flavour with balanced bittering and slight floral hop aroma – a define surprise. I was expecting something along the lines of a western macro-lager. Like all Chinese beers, it is golden colour and relatively low in alcohol (~3% abv) but that suited me in the hot dry weather. According to Wikipedia, Yangjing is the 8th largest brewery in the world and produces over 60 million hectolitres a year – production is absolutely off the scale.
I managed to have three pints in my afternoon sitting after roaming around Tiananmen Square. The bar was a little outdoor temporary place and I was enjoying the people watching and general hustle and bustle of Beijing until a fully kitted up soldier of the PLA decided he wanted some of my beer and forcefully emptied my two thirds full pint into his canteen. Since he was packing an impressive looking squad assault weapon, I wasn’t really in a position to protest or raise an objection. Mysteriously all the locals and staff disappeared from the bar as the soldier entered, but being the naive tourist I didn’t notice. Thankfully the beer was dirt cheap at approx. AU$3 a pint. Pretty cheap price to pay for such an awesome drinking story!