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Brewing China’s first craft beer

August 16, 2012

Its the Asian brew, a healthy concoction of tea and beer.

For those that like their beer frothy and chilled, and live in China, where tea is a staple diet, two brewers have come together to create the ultimate brew – China’s first collaborative craft beer: Yunnan Amber. Created by Carl Setzer of Beijing’s Great Leap Brewing and Michael Jordan of Shanghai’s Boxing Cat Brewery, Yunnan Amber infuses southwestern Yunnan province’s dianhong black tea a strong-flavored, red-hued black tea whose floral aroma some liken to tea from India’s Assam region with domestic and imported hops.

In a country where green tea is considered the idea accompaniment to Chivas Regal, a smokey Scottish whiskey, beer infused with tea doesn’t seem that far fetched. Having brewed the first 1,000 liters, after studying the mechanism for a while, the duo are excited to collaborate and produce more such localised brews.

While whiskey and wine continue to rule the Middle Kingdom, beer – the common man’s poison is increasingly rising up the popularity charts. Just as was reinvented in Europe and Scandinavia a few years ago, flavoured beer to drown out the bitter taste of the hops is increasingly gaining appetite amongst the locals. As such, Yunnan Amber may just be the beginning of good times ahead.

China hasn’t been a strong beer market, Kingfisher – India’s largest selling beer maker tried for several years to break into the Chinese market. However the few takers remained those at Indian restaurants and bars. Seen as low status symbol as compared to whiskey or wine, beer isn’t considered rich for China’s urban yippies. Hopefully, localising beer, like everything else, might just do the trick for the brew in the Middle Kingdom!

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