tropical beer notes #16 – 22: china & tibet omnibus edition


Yeah, yeah. I know we’re not in the tropics anymore, but we’ll be back there soon. Don’t fret.


Snow Beer 3.3%   China

Ever heard of Guangzhou, Dongguan or Shenzhen? Put these cities together and you’ve got something like 30 million people.

Meet Snow Beer. I’d never heard of it but it’s the biggest selling beer in the world. Chinese peeps and the odd grubby Australian get though 61 million hectolitres a year. I’d never even heard of a hectolitre before now.

Actually, Snow is kind of like a modern Chinese city: soulless, banal, very modern. Although I’m not picking up any hints of Orwellian vision.  God, I talk some rubbish on this thing. Anyhow – note that Snow overtook Bud Lite about a year ago. Not really a great loss for humanity there.


Dali Beer 3-point-something-%   China

I can’t remember what strength it is, but all Chinese beer is what Australians deem ‘mid-strength’ anyway.

Comes with about four different labels, but it all tastes like crap (haven’t you missed that Dodd eloquence?).


Tsingtao Beer 3.1%   China

The most well known, thanks to being the least crap beer in China.


Stout Lodge   4.5%   China

Where is Stout Lodge? I want to stay there.

Lots of chocolate in this one. It bills itself as German, but any beer lout worth his hops would know that Bavarians don’t even make stout. Not that this sort of detail is a barrier to the marketing execs of China. The inane but hilarious dribble on the label is probably the best thing about it:

“German stout uses only the best ingredients and the ingredients are subject to the strictest screening processes. German stout is brewed with teadi-tionnal methods which has established its elite status in stout. Its deep chocolate color, smooth foam and light chocolate flavor di-stincts from others nevertheless, the good old German heritage remains. Ger-man stout is the best enjoyment you can have ta anytime stout.”


Guinness Foreign Extra   5%   China via Malaysia

GFE’s providence is so confusing. This one is made in Malaysia but is not for sale in that country; it’s produced solely for export to China. Essentially a not-quite-as-good version of the one I tried all those months ago on the Malay Peninsula.


Kingway Beer can’t-remember-%   China

Ah, my old friend Kingway. It’s not much to recommend but it did send me on a trip down memory lane. In the late nineties, the now sadly defunct John Coppins bottle shop* sold cartons of this stuff for a crazy cheap $20. Around the corner, Tommy Bell and I were doing some horrific labouring for his uncle, Blinky Bell – shocking Dockers supporter and Len Buckridge wannabe. After a hard day of scrubbing pavers with acid, Tom and I would retire to Tom’s squalid abode, the infamous and thankfully long gone “Moon Unit“, in Cottesloe. There we would sate our first-year-uni-student thirst and workshop marketing slogans, full of the wit that only freshers can summon:

“Kingway – good for Chairman Mao! Good for you!”
(actually, I’ve taken to remembering that one as “Good for Chairman Mao! Had better be good for you!”)

“Kingway – brewed from the freshest Yangtze Dam waters!”

…and probably the most worthy of reminiscence:

“Kingway – choice of a repressed generation!” (Get it? Like Pepsi? OK maybe only Tom gets it, or got it when he was 18)

Of course, all must be chanted with a mock Chinese accent that many in the community would consider highly offensive.


*taken over by the do-ers of Satan’s bidding, Vintage Cellars


Lhasa Beer 4.3%   Tibet

The “beer from the roof of the world.” Soapy and fizzy. It’s not that great, but drinking the stuff in Lhasa is. It became a near compulsory component of our meals.

Here I am with Ryan “Where’s the chopper?” Pace, one half of Ryan & Indiana Jo, our long-suffering Tibetan travelling partners. Ryan and I decided to celebrate reaching 5020m, the highest point of the journey to Tibet, with a refreshing drink. My Tibetan cabin mates gesticulated wildly at me as I prepared to crack it open – turns out they weren’t encouraging me to quench my thirst but warning that beer explodes on opening at this altitude. Not the best way to make friends and influence people.


5 Responses to “tropical beer notes #16 – 22: china & tibet omnibus edition”

  1. The Kate of Oz Says:

    Ahhhh how is it that you have just knocked over the Annapurna circuit and Everest Beer has not got a run? Is that because technically it is not tropical? This ‘Internet’ is something else eh?

  2. beyondbagot Says:

    It’s a-coming…

  3. Geoff Says:

    Is it just me, or does Snow have a distinctly Westcoast Winecooler feel about the packaging?

    Did you guys sample any Chinese wine while you were there, or is that reserved for mid-level functionaries and upwardly mobile apparachiks?

  4. beyondbagot Says:

    Enjoyed a number of ‘Chateau Great Wall’ red blends – not much chop, I have to report

  5. dave Says:

    props linds – props

    Maybe thats what i missed when i went up the Jungfrau and felt horribley sick – BEER!

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