Part 2 : Innovative Infusions: How Unique Chinese Ingredients Shape Local Craft Beer in China [Part 2 of 2]

Posted By: Sven van Rooijen In: Blog On: Comment: 0 favorite Hit: 943

Welcome back to the second part of our exciting journey through the world of Chinese craft beer, where innovation and cultural exploration collide in every sip. In Part 1, we delved into twelve extraordinary brews that showcased the creativity and unique flavors that Chinese brewers bring to the table. Now, in Part 2, we continue our exploration, uncovering twelve more beers that will captivate your taste buds and broaden your understanding of the incredible ingredients used in Chinese craft beer.

Prepare yourself for a diverse array of flavors and stories as we dive deeper into the world of Chinese brewing. From the rich and complex Red Bean Stout, featuring the beloved ingredient of traditional Chinese pastries, to the refreshing Lychee Fruity Ale, highlighting the tropical allure of a native fruit, each beer in this collection holds a tale worth discovering.

In this installment, we will encounter beers brewed with Pu'er tea, a fermented tea with a rich heritage, and embark on a journey through Chinese medicinal traditions with the Shizandra Berry. Two beers that use beans in their recipe, namely Mung Beans, and Red Beans. We will also explore the fusion of traditional and modern ingredients in the Summer Pu'er Tea & Tangerine IPA and the captivating blend of Chrysanthemum in PandaBrew's Chrysanthemum Lager. And last but not least we will discuss a purple colored beer, made with purple sweet potato and purple rice!

Whether you're a craft beer enthusiast seeking new and intriguing flavors, an adventurer eager to learn about the cultural significance of Chinese ingredients, or simply someone looking to expand their knowledge of the global craft beer scene, this exploration is sure to leave you inspired and thirsty for more.

So, join us as we raise our glasses to toast the ingenuity, creativity, and unwavering passion of Chinese craft brewers. Part 2 of our series promises to take us on a captivating journey through the remaining thirteen beers, unveiling the unexpected and celebrating the beauty of Chinese culinary heritage. Get ready to savor the flavors, embrace the stories, and immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Chinese craft beer. Cheers to the continuing adventure! 


绿豆啤酒 Mung Bean Pale Ale - Red Ears Brewing (赤耳酿造)

Red Ears Brewing presents the Mung Bean Pale Ale, a sessionable beer with a modest 3.8% ABV. Mung beans, a typical Chinese ingredient found in various dishes and beverages, bring a unique twist to this pale ale. While mung beans are commonly used in sweet dessert soups and Chinese cuisine, their inclusion in beer lends a distinctive flavor profile.

Although this beer is highly popular among the locals, it didn't quite resonate with my personal taste. Fortunately, Red Ears Brewing offers a diverse selection of beers that incorporate less exotic ingredients, catering to a wider range of preferences.

It's fascinating to see breweries like Red Ears Brewing experiment with local ingredients and push the boundaries of traditional brewing. The incorporation of mung beans in this pale ale adds an intriguing element to the overall drinking experience. For craft beer enthusiasts seeking a taste of Chinese brewing ingenuity, the Mung Bean Pale Ale by Red Ears Brewing is worth a try.

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Mung Beans are commonly used in Chinese desert soups


Baby Jasmine Tea Lager - Master Gao Brewing Co. of Nanjing (高大师)

Master Gao Brewing Co. presents the Baby Jasmine Tea Lager, an American Lager with a delightful twist. With a 5.1% ABV, this beer combines the hoppy characteristics of an American Lager with a delicate floral overtone of jasmine tea. The aroma boasts notes of malt, bread, grain, and hints of mild citrus.

Jasmine tea, a beloved ingredient in Chinese cuisine, finds its place in this unique beer. Traditionally enjoyed in provinces like Fujian, Jiangsu, Guangdong, and Zhejiang, jasmine tea undergoes a meticulous process of absorbing the fragrance and flavor of jasmine blossoms. The result is a brew that captures the essence of Chinese floral notes, adding a distinct touch to this American classic.

Master Gao, also known as Gao Yan to friends, is a true pioneer in China's home brewing scene. With his book, "Get Your Own Brew," he has become an ambassador for craft beer in China. Gao Yan has spearheaded the national homebrew competition and serves as the head of the craft beer association in China. Additionally, he organizes one of the country's largest craft beer festivals held annually in Nanjing.

With the Baby Jasmine Tea Lager, Master Gao Brewing Co. showcases their commitment to innovation and their role in shaping China's craft beer culture. This beer is a testament to their passion for pushing boundaries and creating unique brews that captivate craft beer enthusiasts.

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Jasmine Tea

 


Longan Ale (小團圓) by SUNMAI

This beer, with a 5.8% ABV, is infused with smoked longan, giving it a mellow sweetness and smokiness. The full body and roundness of the mouthfeel is reflected by the naming 小團圓 “xiao-tuan-yuan”, which means small gathering, where friends and family sit in a circle to form unity.

Longan, also known as "dragon eye", has a sweet taste and a captivating floral aroma to this ale. Its distinctive fruity note sets it apart from the more conventional ales you may be familiar with. With its clear golden hue, Longan Ale presents a well-balanced palate, harmonizing the malty sweetness with the unique flavor of longan, creating a truly refreshing beer with an Asian twist.

SUNMAI, originating in Taipei, Taiwan, continues to innovate by embracing local ingredients and infusing them into their craft beers. Over the years they have opened locations in different parts of China, expanding their reach. Through their dedication and creativity, they have crafted an exceptional brew that captures the essence of Chinese flavors.

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Longan, also known as "dragon eye"

 


Red Jujube Ale by Xian Brewery (仙麦酿)

Immerse yourself in the unique flavors of Xian Brewery's Red Jujube Ale. This craft beer, with a 5.8% ABV, highlights the distinctive taste of red jujube, a traditional Chinese fruit also known as the Chinese date.

Renowned for its sweetness and health benefits, red jujube is a beloved ingredient in Chinese cuisine. Xian Brewery artfully incorporates this unique fruit to create a flavor profile that sets this beer apart. With every sip, you'll experience the delightful sweetness and cultural heritage that the red jujube brings.

Located just a stone's throw away from the main South Gate (NanMen) in Xi'an, China, Xian Brewery and their "Near Wall Bar" have become a local hotspot for both locals and expats. Situated within the ancient city wall, near popular tourist destinations like the Terracotta Army, this brewery offers a range of draft beers, delectable pub fare, and live music. It's a vibrant and welcoming place to unwind and indulge in craft beer.

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RedJujube also known as the Chinese date

 


Yellow Summer Floral Lager (抱香 菊花拉格) - Panda Brew (熊猫精酿)

This crisp and light beer delivers a delicate floral essence that delights the senses. With every sip, you'll be transported to a serene garden filled with blooming chrysanthemum flowers. Chrysanthemum is a flower native to Asia and northeastern Europe, and it is widely used in Chinese traditional medicine and cuisine. Chrysanthemum has long been cherished in Chinese culture for its therapeutic properties and elegant beauty. Infused into this lager, it adds a subtle floral note that dances on the palate, elevating the drinking experience to new heights.

PandaBrew, born in 2013 with their first bar in a Beijing hutong, has since grown into a flourishing craft brewery. With over 10 bars and restaurants across the country and nationwide distribution in supermarkets and liquor stores, they are one of the most distributed craft beer brands around. Their commitment to innovation is evident in the diverse range of flavors they offer, including citrus honey, strawberries, coffee, peppers, and more.

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Chrysanthemum is widely used in Chinese traditional medicine and cuisine

 


Dragon Well Spring Tea (龙井小麦) by Peiping Machine (北平机器)

This wheat beer combines the best of both worlds by infusing it with the renowned "Dragon Well" tea, also known as Longjing tea, from Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

Dragon Well tea is revered as one of China's finest teas, celebrated for its delicate flavor, fragrant aroma, and distinctive flat, sword-like leaves.

Peiping Machine Brewing pays homage to this exceptional tea by incorporating it into their wheat beer, creating a harmonious fusion of flavors.

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Longjing tea, from Hangzhou, Zhejiang province

 


Red Bean Stout (红豆派) - Sheng Craft Beer (山乘酿造)

Prepare to be delighted by the rich and indulgent Red Bean Stout crafted by Sheng Craft Beer. This dessert stout, boasting an ABV of 11%, takes you on a flavor journey with its intricate blend of nine different malts.

Red beans, a staple ingredient in Chinese sweets and beverages, take center stage in this unique stout. Often used to create the beloved red bean paste found in traditional Chinese pastries and desserts, these beans lend their distinct sweetness to the beer. The result is a stout that showcases the essence of this cherished ingredient.

Sheng Craft Beer, although relatively new to the market, is quickly making a name for itself as a rising star. With a young and enthusiastic team of brewers, they bring a fresh perspective to the craft beer scene. You can spot their presence at beer festivals, where they proudly share their innovative brews with fellow enthusiasts.

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Red bean paste, made from red beans, is used in many traditional Chinese pastries and desserts

 


Lychee Fruity Ale (荔枝果茶) by Taihu Brewing (臺虎)

This Fruit and Field Beer style beer, boasting a 5% ABV, offers a well-balanced and sweet ale experience reminiscent of indulging in refreshing lychee juice, with a subtle presence of alcohol.

At the heart of this brew lies the lychee, a small red fruit that has been cultivated in China for over 2000 years. With its juicy white flesh and captivating floral flavor, the lychee takes center stage in this unique beer. Taihu Brewing skillfully incorporates high-quality lychee to strike the perfect balance, ensuring that the beer isn't overly sweet.

Taihu brewing, known for its creative prowess, has become a prominent player in Taipei's craft beer scene. With three taprooms in Taipei city in Taiwan and a brewpub in Xiamen, Fujian province, they continue to impress craft beer enthusiasts with their diverse selection beers. Their dedication to the craft extends beyond beer, as they offer delectable burger and bar food pairings that perfectly complement their brews in their brewpubs and taprooms.

Taihu Brewing serves as a trailblazer and an inspiration to breweries across China. Their innovative range of beers, including unique offerings like starfruit gose, smoked plum gose, and yuzu midnight IPA, demonstrates their commitment to pushing boundaries. A visit to their original location in Taipei is still high on my todo list.

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