t China has been creating beer since 7000 BC. Some believe that ancient Chinese beer was made from rice, grapes, hawthorns, and honey.
Today, however, Chinese brewing techniques have been updated, using a mix of modern and traditional influences to stay relevant in the global beer market.
Chinese beers are available in several styles, but compared to Western products, these are usually lighter and contain less alcohol. If this sounds good to you, keep reading!
We’ve listed 12 of the most delicious Chinese beers to try today in this post(see also: 14 Best Cape Cod Breweries To Try Today). Whether you prefer fruity notes that keep you refreshed, or lots of malt with underlying hoppy elements, you’re sure to find a Chinese beer that suits your tastes below!
1. Yanjing Beer
Yanjing beer is China’s best-selling beer that’s made by Beijing Yanjing Beer Group Corporation, one of China’s biggest beer breweries. The product is a pale lager that is on the lighter side, with 4.7% alcohol.
The name Yanjing is known as an informal name for Beijing itself, relating to the State of Yan that was present during the Zhou Dynasty.
It’s very popular and can be found in many bars and restaurants throughout China, so you’ll be able to try it if you’re in the country.
The lager is distilled using water from the Yunshan Mountains, which gives it a refreshing and pure flavor. It’s easy to drink and pairs well with spicy Asian cuisine.
The beer is ideal for cleansing the palate between dishes, but still gives the drinker a pleasant drinking experience.
You’ll notice grain, malt, and corn aromas with a slightly dry finish. It’s fresh and invigorating enough for hot days, but distinct enough to be enjoyed throughout the year.
2. Snow Beer
This elegant-looking drink is made by China Resources Breweries Limited. One of China’s best-selling beverages, Snow Beer takes up to 25% of beer sold in the country.
Taking into account that China’s population is over a billion, this is a very high percentage indeed!
As long as the drink is poured properly, Snow Beer is a pale lager with a pleasant yellow hue and clean white head. It gives off interesting floral scents with a light-grain undertone.
You’ll notice a malty taste, a medium carbonation level, with a hint of corn. This makes it ideal for pairing with heartier dishes, as it won’t overpower your food.
The beer doesn’t have many hop notes, so it isn’t the best for those that prefer heavier beverages.
Nevertheless, this light, balanced beer is perfect for enjoying on a warm, sunny afternoon, thanks to its refreshing qualities.
3. Harbin Beer
Harbin Beer is China’s oldest beer brand whose name derives from Harbin City. The beverage was first made in 1900 and became more popular after receiving financial government support.
Harbin is a Euro Pale Lager with a 5.5% alcohol content. It has a clear golden hue with a decent white, foamy head.
It gives off light, slightly metallic scents with a gentle grain undertone. You may notice a hint of lager yeast, but not a lot of hoppy bitterness.
Overall, Harbin is a pure, light beverage with a dry, slightly smooth finish. It’s great for enjoying alongside spicy food, but its gentle notes will complement a variety of Asian dishes.
4. Tsingtao Beer
If you’re not sure about which Chinese beer to try, Tsingtao is a good one to try first. The recipe has British and German influences and hasn’t changed since its beginnings in 1903.
Tsingtao is an easy-drinking beer that at 4%, is relatively low in alcohol. It gives off light barley and malt bread aromas with gentle hoppy undertones.
The flavors are also similar, along with floral and corn hints that make it tastier.
This light lager has a medium carbonation level, gentle flavors, and a bitter finish. This makes it pair well with many Asian dishes, but its refreshing notes make it ideal for cooling you off in warm weather.
5. Shancheng Beer
Shancheng is an American-style lager that’s made by China’s Chongqing Brewery. It was first made in the 1950s and has remained a popular choice in China.
The beverage is low in alcohol with a 3.3% ABV. Shancheng has a distinct golden-yellow hue and a pure white foam head.
It has a hazy consistency with a noticeable carbonation level. You’ll notice grain aromas with light honey notes. The flavor is similar, with rice, malt, and light hop elements.
Overall, Shancheng is a noticeably light beer with a dry finish, which is characteristic of many beers throughout China.
6. Flying Fist IPA
This American-style beer is an IPA made by Jing-A Brewing Co. The microbrewery is known for using noteworthy ingredients in its product, including ginger, Sichuan peppercorns, and red rice koji.
With a 6.5% ABV, Flying Fist contains more alcohol than some of the beers on this list. It has a copper hue with noticeable hints of orange. The head is reasonable, roughly a finger’s length, with a decent carbonation level.
The IPA is well-balanced with grain, floral, and caramel notes. You’ll also notice citrus smells and flavors that complement the drink’s natural sweetness.
Flying Fist also has a lot of hoppy notes, so it’s a nice choice for those that prefer heavier beers, but are looking for something a bit lighter.
7. Pearl River Beer
The name Pearl River is another name for China’s third longest river, the Zhujiang. Pearl River beer is named after this beer and is brewed by South China’s Zhujiang Brewery.
Pearl River is a pale lager with a 5.3% ABV. Its name from interesting ingredients, including spring water, Canadian barley malt, and Czech hops. This gives the drink a clean, refreshing flavor.
Pearl River has a light yellow hue with contrasting white foam. It’s lower in carbonation than other beers on this list, but its malt, sweet, and hoppy notes make it a pleasant drinking experience.
8. Sinkjiang Black Beer
Chinese beers are often lighter, but if you don’t like pale beers, Sinkjiang Black Beer may be more to your tastes. This drink comes from Xinjiang, made by Western China’s Xinjiang Wusu Brewery.
The beverage resembles typical American lagers, except it contains much less alcohol. It’s made with brown sugar, which gives it a deep, dark hue.
This complements the bitter hoppy notes well, along with chocolate, sugar, and nutty aromas.
Sinkjiang Black Beer’s sweet, bitter flavors go well with spicier meals, particularly Asian dishes.
9. Airpocalypse Double IPA
Airpocalypse is made by Jing-A Brewing Company. This IPA has a mix of pure, complex ingredients that give the beverage interesting flavors.
The drink is also dry-hopped once it’s brewed, which prevents it from tasting too bitter.
Airpocalypse has citrus, pine, and stone fruit scents and flavors. You’ll notice pine resin, grapefruit, and peach on your tongue, with noticeable malt flavors that make the IPA easy to identify.
10. Laoshan Beer
Laoshan is made by Tsingtao Brewery Co. This light lager has a light yellow hue, a bubbly white head, and a 4.7% ABV. The white head doesn’t last for a long time but does leave a decent residual lacing.
Laoshan smells amazing, thanks to its delicate, slightly sweet notes. You’ll also notice hints of toasted malt, pleasant bitter hops, and a dry finish.
The beer is thin in the mouth with a nice carbonation level, which is ideal for keeping you cool during hot weather.
11. Wusu Red Beer
If you like Pilsner, Wusu Red Beer may be to your taste. This is one of China’s noteworthy commercial beers, thanks to its crisp, cool taste.
The Xinjiang Wusu Brewery Co. brews Wusu, creating a mellow beverage with a thick, dense white head. It has a fresh, bright golden hue with a sweet, malty fragrance.
The taste is also similar, along with gentle hoppy notes to balance the beverage.
Wusu also has a nice amount of carbonation, so it’s sure to keep you refreshed after a long day.
12. Tibetan Pale Ale
Tibetan Pale Ale is loved for its complex, delicious notes. The blend of floral fragrances, pine notes, and fruit mango notes set the beverage apart from other beers.
The pale ale has a nice orange hue and creates a frothy white head. It has a 4.6% ABV, which is light without lacking flavor.
You’ll notice malt, citrus, and pine elements which add different layers to the ale. These complement the drink’s flavor well, which involves fruit, hoppy, and malt notes.
Tibetan Pale Ale’s delectable flavors also gave it an award in the 2016 China Beer Awards, so definitely it’s worth trying!
Now you know the names of 12 of China’s tastiest beers!
Chinese beers are lighter compared to Western ones, but this doesn’t mean that they lack flavor! Many of the options above contain fruity, sweet, and hoppy notes that are sure to please your taste buds.
We hope you enjoy trying some of the Chinese beers above!
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