I have to admit, I didn’t think I was going to be able to enjoy beer minutes all that much while we travelled in China. My first experience with Chinese beer was in the eighties while a member of the Olds College Beer – Shooter club. Long story shortened, of all the beer you had to drink to “graduate” from the Beer – Shooter club [which I did twice by the way (part of the long story)] the Chinese beer was the hardest to get through.
The first beer I had in China was at Captain Bar in Shanghai. The view and atmosphere were second to none but $10 Canadian for a warm Carlsberg draft (still reluctant about Chinese beer at this point) ruined the moment for me. I did however sense that there probably is a beer culture in China. I started to keep a closer eye out for locations that held the potential for an enjoyable “beer minute” after a hectic day of navigating through the hustle and bustle that is China. My next attempt was a small pub/restaurant close by our Shanghai hotel that had a 2 for 1 happy hour (good start!), but as I sat drinking my pricey (even at 2 for 1) Hoegarden (still too chicken to order the Chinese beer) in a western style pub, it just felt, well, wrong.
Then totally unexpectedly while grabbing a quick bite to eat in a food court, a nice young lady rolls her beer trolley towards me and offers me a perfectly chilled 600 ml. Tsingtao for 15 RMB ( about $3 CAD). I jumped at the offer! Finally a reasonably priced beer and if I’m going to try Chinese beer again, inexpensive is a plus. Surprise! I liked it. No college flashbacks, no lingering after taste, just nice smooth refreshment! The environment however was not conducive to a proper “Beer Minute”. An overcrowded, horribly noisy food court definitely wasn’t a great choice to try and enjoy the moment. Maybe I’ll have better luck in Beijing.
Written by: Gordon Hermann