Tsingtao is the brand name of one of the most popular beers that China can offer. Tsingtao beer is currently produced in Qingdao and is exported to more than 50 countries, including Germany. As you may know, Germany holds the reputation of being one of the premier beer countries in the world. However, Tsingtao beer in Germany is not just an ordinary imported product from China. One may even unofficially call it a German Tsingtao beer!
The History of Tsingtao Brewery and German Tsingtao Beer
Germany and Tsingtao brewery share a rich and unique history. According to the Tsingtao beer company's website, Tsingtao beer was actually founded by German settlers as early as 1903! Qingdao (formerly Tsingtao) was a colonial trading post for Germany and in order to strengthen and establish trade opportunities in East Asia, German settlers began migrating towards the Tsingtao region. One of the cultural goods that German settlers brought to the region was German beer and also educating locals on brewing fantastic beer. German beer brewers live by a law known as the “German Beer Purity Law,” which states that all beer brewers must only utilize water, malt, and hops as beer ingredients. This dictates the amount of ingredients they must use in their specific beers, which is still in use today. Tsingtao beer was produced under the guidance of this law, which can make it an unofficial German Tsingtao beer!
Nowadays, Tsingtao beer is brewed using an old traditional recipe, but with new and modern techniques. It is based on Chinese barley, hops, rice, and the sweet-tasting spring water of Laoshan. These ingredients result in a mixture which gives Tsingtao beer its unique taste and aroma. The only ingredient that differs from the German Beer Purity Law is, of course, the use of rice. However, this is more of a circumstance of regional taste and preference.
I actually had my first experience with the Tsingtao beer at a local Chinese restaurant back in Germany. I’ve had a couple of opportunities to try it firsthand here in China and wasn’t able to identify a huge difference. The only slight difference in taste that I recognized was possibly in the sweetness of the beer. I personally thought drinking Tsingtao beer in Germany had a slightly sweeter taste than in Beijing. However, this may have been because of the varying levels of freshness of the beers or even the heat and humidity!
Overall, when compared to German beers, Tsingtao has a very light and mild flavor with its own unique taste. I would definitely recommend Tsingtao beer as a wonderful complement to a Chinese or German meal since it does not overpower or destroy the taste of food. Although there are many beers to choose from here in China, I'd probably stick to the German Tsingtao beer!