Wayne and Leah bring you their take on beer.
In honor of the upcoming Chinese New Year, we decided to review a Chinese beer. Tsingtao. We were both familiar with Tsingtao, as we had had it before and it’s usually available in most grocery stores. It has been awhile since we had both had Tsingtao, so this was a good refresher for us. Tsingtao is categorized as a lager, and as discussed in previous posts a lager is a beer that is producted with yeasts that ferment at lower temperatures. Also, the yeasts utilized in lagers collect at the bottom of the fermenting beer, which is the most common kind of beer , distributed and sold today. The Tsingtao Brewery was founded in 1903, but wasn’t introduced into America until 1972, so it is a pretty well established beer here in the States. We had hoped to find a more exotic Chinese brew, but since we are adjusting to our new area, we have yet to find a store that sells more exotic beers. That being said, there are still readily available familiar beers that are worthy of an entry, hopefully, our review will provide a fair analysis of a Chinese beer for some reader that has yet to try it.
I can’t remember the last time I had a Tsingtao, but I know I have had it in the past. I cracked open my Tsintao one night after work and was immediately hit with a strong pang of carbonation, reminiscent (at least to me) of a cheap beer. What followed wasn’t at all what would normally follow a cheap beer, but rather a slightly hoppy taste. I let the Tsingtao settle in my mouth a little bit and a very very faint hint of sweetness was there. It was an easy swallow, as nothing lingered too long. Usually, for our monthly tasting, I will wait several minutes before taking another swig, just to get a sense of the aftertaste if any. With Tsingtao, there is an aftertaste, it was almost metallic tasting and thee was no doubt that if I were to talk to someone after a drink would know exactly that I had been drinking a beer. Don’t let the preceding sentence make you think that it was an overpowering metallic taste, as it wasn’t, but it was there. I guess the equation I am following when tasting our monthly beer would go something like this, open the beer, sniff the beer, take a taste; a quarter a mouthful, note the initial hit on the taste bud, let it settle, note any taste after settling, slowly swallow, note any immediate aftertaste, wait, note any lingering aftertaste. After following that formula with Tsingtao, I would say that after a few of the moments, most notably the initial hint of carbonation, and then later the slightly metallic aftertaste, but those few moments were outweighed by an overall easily drinkable beer, with
Tsingtao, or TT as I have decided to call it, is a beer that holds a place in my heart and memories. Growing up my family would make a big production of going to one of the few decent Chinese places in our town occasionally and my dad would always and without fail order a TT with his kung pao chicken. TT is a nice light beer so I can hardly blame him. Its easy to drink and enjoyable with a flavorful meal- see below for more.
Yes, Tsingtao is a Chinese beer and yes, if you go to their website, they do provide meal-pairing for their beer, which I thought was pretty cool, but I don’t want to let myself off easy. Tsingtao would be good with Chinese food. I think the slight sweetness and easy drinking nature of the beer would perfectly complement the spicy and sweet dishes that are common on a Chinese menu, but I also think that the taste of Tsingtao would go perfectly with Cajun cuisine. I am not a huge fan of Cajun food, it’s good every once in a while, but I can’t say that I yearn for it often. However, after drinking Tsingtao, I think the taste would go nicely with a Cajun battered fried shrimp. It might also pair nicely with a spicy jambalaya. Again, the slightly sweet and then briefly bittery metallic taste would wash down the independently spicy cajun dishes. Great with a Cajun dinner in my opinion.
My meal pairing suggestion for TT is to go with the obvious: Chinese food. I think its essential to include something crispy and fried too: get my dad’s kung pao but add some egg rolls or crab rangoon or crispy chicken wings. The crisp carbonation of TT would be good with the fried elements and with the spice of chilis.
For you folks Texas or Louisiana, where Cajun food is easily accessible, remember this review and Tsingtao, come crawfish season in a few months. Tsingtao, a well established Chinese beer product, with an easy taste, receives a positive and reminiscent review from Wayne and Leah.