Well, at least this review has been a learning experience. The beer is pronounced "Ching-dow", so apparently I've been mispronouncing it, which I suppose makes me an imperialist-capitalist dog. It's the "number one beer in China" according to their website, whatever the hell that means. And apparently there are 600 breweries in China. Do they all brew beer? Sake is actually "brewed" as well, so that number may be taking liberties. Regardless of the geography/culture lesson, one fact remains incontrovertible: "Ching-dow" sucks. Very skunky, since they insist on bottling it in green bottles, so the beer has plenty of opportunity to oxidize on the long trip over. Once you get past the overwhelming skunkiness, you're left with a weak pilsner approximately the flavor of flat Beck's. An unprepossessing beer, at best. Perhaps if you were eating Szechuan, and needed something to put out the fire, this beer wouldn't be inappropriate--if ice cold. Or, if you had to choose between Tsingtao or Yanjing, or a cyanide capsule, then choose Tsingtao (Yanjing isn't fit for consumption). Otherwise, just drink water.
Reviewed: October 29, 2005
I should point it out that I'm reviewing this beer as I drank it domestically while traveling in Asia. I even had it on tap a few times. So I suspect that I was drinking something a lot more fresh and more authentic than what you'd find on the import shelf in North America. I found this beer to be a bit of a Godsend while in Asia. It is clean and crisp, but it also has a sweetness to it that set it apart. There was some of that sweet bread taste that I love in beer, although it was only faint. This beer went wonderfully with spicy Chinese food, and was just a good refresher at any time. I have fond memories of it, which may lead me to try the imported stuff here at home. As much as I liked it, I wouldn't say it's great and thus it's probably not worth paying import prices for. I've also heard horror stories about skunky beer, so I'm wary. But if you find yourself in Asia, seek this beer out as it's better than most of what you'll find in that part of the world.
Reviewed: October 13, 2007