A simple beer deserves simple sentences.

I give you Liquan:

Liquan is a beer. China is a country. Liquan is a beer from China. China has 22 provinces. Bottled in Guilin. Hops are lacking. Foam is ok. Taste is subjective. Liquan is acceptable. Hangover’s are honest. A billion people. No hand-drying facilities. Not one. God is dead.

A phenomenal beer deserves an eloquent rhapsody.

I give you nothing

 A shit beer deserves a shit yarn.

I give you Tsingtao.

Legend has it that ancient brewers in the east Tibetan mountains were trying to recreate the healing powers of dragon’s urine. They searched for thousands of years, experimenting, artists masquerading as gods. Fermented goat’s milk, bottled with the waters of a naturally carbonated spring, drawn only on the fourth moon after the birthday of the eldest remaining shoe in the region. The bark of the oolong tree, thrice passed through a hawks body.  Three and a half cups of high fructose corn syrup. (1)

The legend runs that the brew was mastered, and inscribed on a goat horn. Alas, in 1846, when trusted with the transport most important recipe of eastern antiquity, Richard Smith Esq. travelling on an overnight train got drunk. Smith, too inebriated to use the squatter properly fell over when the train hit a bump, losing the horn and his favourite trackpants to boot. On arrival to the brewery he sort of made it up and we have been left with the result today. (1)

The brew has remained largely unchanged since.

I recently spent some time in Yangshuo, prettiest town in all the world. I was lucky enough to lay eyes on the most gorgeous tall blonde in a currywurst stand. I was awe struck, dumbfounded. Then, as the locks fanned out, bouncing, as the owner glided around, currywurst in both hands. I waited with bated breath. It was released in a disappointed sigh. The hair belonged to a 55 year old skinny, tattooed German man (with a crippling Schwarzkopf addiction.

In short; good head, shit body, just like Tsingtao

Taste can vary depending on a number of things like vessel type, relative spice of whatever was just eaten, bottling location etc etc. Notably though, the hops are pretty good. It ends up being being a touch more bitter than most Asian style lagers. Sadly though, when all is said and done it’s about as middle of the road as a bus hurtling towards shanghai airport in rush-hour traffic.

Alcohol lacks a bit of enthusiasm. Its nearly there. So nearly. It’s kind of like a texting Go-Go girl. Yeah, she’s there. And yeah, If I can’t call swaying dancing, then I’ve never danced in my life. But deep down you know, a texting girl is a Slow-Slow, not a Go-Go. And a 4.3% is a Slow-Slow kind of beer.

Hangovers can be pretty bad, largely due to the bottle size. It’ll put you in the sort of intellectual state where you’d breeze through any type of cultural revolution unscathed.

All this being said, my memories of this beer marr my ability to be a fair arbiter of judgement. My heart aches for from the good times had for years in cheap ‘Sichuan’ restaurants, where mispronounced orders still make it to the table. It’s probably just reflux, but perhaps I’m a touch sentimental and think it’s a little better than it is.

This beer is taking over the world (not entirely on its own merit, but still…). Take the time to walk to your local bottle shop and grab yourself a jade box, crack the top, smash a plate of dumplings and enjoy a couple of bottles of world-famous dragon piss.



If this beer tried to jump Tiger leaping gorge, it wouldn’t make it. It would valiantly hit the other side of the gorge before the water, but it’s not making it.


Unknown et al. “A poorly translated history of the Naxi people” Overheard in a bar vol 6. 2019 pg 759-773.

Tsingtao at Tiger Leaping Gorge

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