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  1. #151
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    continued from previous


    A weekday evening at The Ale Project, a Hong Kong craft beer bar that has attracted a more local Chinese crowd than other expat-dominated beer bars. Photo: Christopher DeWolf

    Not long after the launch of One Beer, Two Systems, I find myself sitting on the patio of Jing A’s new Beijing bar with Kristian Li and Richard Ammerman, who handles the brewery’s marketing. Though it was launched less than two years ago, Jing A is already one of Beijing’s most popular craft breweries, with a line of beers that balance staples like IPAs and stouts with distinctly Beijing concoctions like the Big Slice Watermelon Wheat.

    “Watermelons are such a popular snack in the summer,” Ammerman says. “You see people hauling them around in the hutongs,” the ancient alleyways that form the heart and soul of Beijing. The watermelon comes from a farmer just outside the city who has developed his own strain of melon. “He’s rough and tumble, the kind of guy who eats watermelon, drinks and smokes at the same time.” Another farmer provides Jing A with chestnuts for its autumn seasonal brown ale. “We’re interested in seeing where these things are actually growth,” says Ammerman. “Also, it’s cheaper.”

    Last year, Jing A released a beer made with sweet potatoes and cumin, a nod to a staple of local street food. The brewery also made the first commercially released beer fermented with baijiu yeast, which is normally used to make China’s ubiquitous firewater. “We’re probably not going to make a beer that has chili oil or stinky tofu,” Ammerman says. “There’s some Beijing ingredients that just don’t sit well in a beer.”

    He pauses and thinks for a moment. “Actually, I have always wanted to make a yangrou chuan’r beer,” he says, referring to the spiced lamb skewers that Muslim street vendors serve all over the city. Li looks excited, then contemplative, as if he is preparing a recipe in his head. “You’d need a little bit of the smoke and savory, some cumin in there, maybe a little bit of heat.”


    Beertopia, Hong Kong's annual craft beer festival. The 2015 edition included 11 breweries from Hong Kong and mainland China.
    Photo by: Christopher DeWolf

    Jing A’s bar is located in the expat-heavy bar district of Sanlitun, where it is joined by a handful of other brewery taprooms, along with countless bars whose fridges are stocked full of imports like Rogue and Brewdog. But the birthplace of craft beer in Beijing is a few miles away, in a small grey brick house in a hutong whose history stretches back several hundred years. That’s where I meet Carl Setzer, who opened Great Leap Brewing in 2010 with his wife, Liu Fang. He is sitting in the courtyard patio next to the trunk of a poplar tree whose leaves are rustling in the wind.

    “That’s where it started,” he says, pointing to a shed nearby. Great Leap’s first two beers were the Honey Ma Gold, a blonde ale made with floral Sichuan peppercorns, and the Cinnamon Rock Candy Ale, made with Chinese candied sugar. Since then, the brewery has expanded to two new brewpubs, with a suite of distinctive beers, including many made with tea—a tricky feat, since brewing beer with tea often results in unwanted astringency.

    But it isn’t tea that Setzer has on his mind; it’s hops. Great Leap is one of the only craft breweries to rely heavily on Chinese-grown hops, especially the indigenous Qingdao Flower hops, which have a floral aroma and a creamy, almost melon-like flavor. I’m drinking a pint of Hop God Imperial IPA, a showcase for Qingdao Flower. Setzer jabs his finger at my drink. “This is Chinese—Chinese malt, Chinese hops,” he says. “We didn’t start using imported hops until later. I’m still the only brewery in China that believes in Qingdao Flower hops.”

    If it seems like Setzer has a chip on his shoulder, it’s because he does. “People call me the Beer Dictator,” he says. For years, he has called out unprofessional practices among Chinese craft brewers, like misrepresenting production output, that could turn off customers and scare away future investors. He tells anyone who will listen that China’s other craft brewers aren’t doing enough to make their beer, well, Chinese. That goes beyond adding tea or chun pei or chestnuts to a brew; it means developing the same kind of high-quality infrastructure that craft brewing has in the United States, from malt production to hop growing to production and distribution.

    IF IT’S JUST A COMMODITY, THEY’RE GOING TO TREAT IT LIKE ****
    Setzer has reason to be discouraged. He tells me that he recently switched from using pelletized Qingdao Flower hops to whole dried hop flowers, which are delivered compressed into a bale. “When you’re breaking apart the pressed flower, you’re finding cigarette butts and stones, pieces of metal and ****,” he says. “You’re like, okay, if I’m finding it in the compressed bale, then it’s definitely going through the hammer mill and getting into the pellets.”

    He found out why when he visited China’s isolated hop-growing region in September. “They’re cutting down the hop bines and dragging them across dirty floors. It goes to the long-term attention to quality and love of what the process is. If it’s just a commodity, they’re going to treat it like ****.”

    Chinese hops are grown in the country’s far northwest, in poor regions that haven’t seen much investment. Flood-based irrigation limits yields, pickers damage hops and hop bines are stunted growers don’t have the right equipment to harvest the tall bines needed to produce the most flavorful, aromatic hops.

    “If you go to Yakima Valley, every farm is totally automated. In China, they hand pick them in the field, or they hand cut them and drag them, losing 20 percent of the flower,” Setzer says. “It’s a very eye-opening realization that if it’s not a development zone outside a first-tier city that they use for marketing, it’s going to be 50 year old technology that nobody cares about, and there’s only one guy in the entire region who knows how to fix it because he’s the one who took the training course when they bought the equipment.”

    Setzer says industrial brewers don’t care because they don’t use many hops in their beer, so it’s up to China’s craft brewers to ensure that the country’s hops are up to snuff. Global demand for hops has never been higher, but this year’s hop harvest in Europe and the United States was poor. Chinese craft brewers might soon have no alternative but to use Chinese hops—if they can address the issue of quality. “There’s a massive opportunity here to just give the proverbial finger to anybody that thinks that China needs to cower in the wake of international craft beer,” Setzer says. “We’re sitting on what everybody wants.”

    It’s heavy stuff, but Setzer’s mood brightens when the conversation turns to the potential of Chinese beer. “The success we’ve had has inspired a lot of brewers to be more brave,” he says. Earlier this year, he imported some kegs of Young Master Ales to Great Leap. “When I see Rohit do something similar [to us] but incredibly specific to Hong Kong, I swell with pride. It’s amazing.”

    Drinkers seem to appreciate the effort too. When I get back to Hong Kong from Beijing, I learn that Young Master has released a new collaboration beer with Shanghai’s Boxing Cat Brewery: the Four Leaves IPA, made with makrut lime leaves. “It’s like how dish soap smells, but in a really good way,” says James Ling when I order a glass at TAP.

    I take a sip. It’s an oddball beer, with a hoppy bitterness that gives way to the pronounced zing of lime leaves. As it warms, I can taste the distinctive flavour of Sorachi Ace—lemony and savory, like dill pickles. It’s very good. And I can’t imagine drinking it anywhere else.

    Christopher DeWolf
    Christopher DeWolf is a Canadian journalist based in Hong Kong who writes on urbanism, culture, art and design. He writes regularly for the Wall Street Journal and South China Morning Post and his work has appeared in TIME, CNN and the Guardian. He lives just a short walk from the rooftop farms of Yau Ma Tei.
    More Kung Fu oriented beers.

    I've got to admit it's getting better
    A little better all the time
    Gene Ching
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  2. #152
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    pretty cool article.

    I started off wanting nothing but big porters and stouts...but my tastes have gravitated to the big IPA's. not necessarily for the hoppiness though. my favorite's include 90 Minute by Dogfish Head, Double Trouble from Founder's and Maximus from your northern neighbor in Petaluma, Lagunitas Brewing.
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

    "Is enlightenment even possible? Or, did I drive by it like a missed exit?"

    It's simpler than you think.

    I could be completely wrong"

  3. #153
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    Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?!?!

    China really is winning now.

    I've never tasted a Snow Beer. Anyone?

    Brew Masters of the Universe
    The biggest beer brand in the world now belongs to China
    BY ALISON SPIEGEL
    3/2/16


    Snow Beer Photo: Alpha via Flickr

    AB InBev, the biggest beer company in the world, just sold the best-selling beer in the world to China. The brew in question: Snow beer, a lager sold in China that you may not have heard of, even though it's been the world's top-selling beer since it pushed aside Bud Light in 2008.

    Yes, the best-selling beer in the world is Chinese, and, yes, the country consumes the most beer in the world by volume. Still, China remains the second most profitable market after the United States, in part because a large supply has driven prices down. A liter of beer in China costs only $1.45, where the comparable 40-ounce bottle in the U.S. sells for an average cost of $4.10. Profits are low, too, because Chinese drinkers are increasingly turning to wine and spirits, the Wall Street Journal reports.

    SABMiller sold its 49 percent stake of China's Snow beer to state-backed China Resources Beer (CRB) for a cool $1.6 billion. According to the Wall Street Journal, the sale makes CRB the largest beer company in China.

    The sale of Snow beer is the latest move in the pending merger of beer giants AB InBev and SABMiller. AB InBev announced a deal to acquire SABMiller in November for $106 billion, which would make it the world's biggest brew company. USA Today reports that the company made the Snow beer sale in an effort to soothe concerns surrounding the deal, which must meet regulatory approval from countries across the globe.

    AB InBev's latest sale will allow the company to focus on more expensive craft beers with a higher profit margin in China—a potential win for the Belgium-based company. For China, the sale pushes CRB into the global market. Everything still hinges on the approval of AB InBev and SABMiller's union however, so you may want to crack a cold one while you wait for it all to play out.
    Gene Ching
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  4. #154
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    never seen it. it's awfully pale looking through that bottle
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

    "Is enlightenment even possible? Or, did I drive by it like a missed exit?"

    It's simpler than you think.

    I could be completely wrong"

  5. #155
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    Snow job

    There's a video which basically restates the article.

    AB InBev Reaches Deal for Sale of SABMiller’s Chinese Beer Business
    Move comes as Belgian brewer seeks Chinese regulatory approval for acquisition of its rival
    The world’s largest brewer, AB InBev, has agreed to sell SABMiller’s Chinese beer business for $1.6 billion in a bid to to win Chinese regulatory approval for its planned $108 billion purchase of SABMiller. The WSJ’s Rick Carew looks at what you need to know about the deal.
    By TRIPP MICKLE and LAURIE BURKITT
    Updated March 1, 2016 10:39 p.m. ET

    Anheuser-Busch InBev NV said it has agreed to sell SABMiller PLC’s Chinese beer business to China Resources Beer Holdings Co., as the Belgian brewer seeks Chinese regulatory approval for its pending acquisition of its biggest rival.

    China’s government-controlled brewer has agreed to acquire SABMiller’s 49% interest in the joint venture known as CR Snow in a $1.6 billion deal that would give it full ownership over Snow, the world’s No. 1-selling beer by volume. China Resources and SABMiller have been partners in the joint venture since 1994.

    The deal is subject to regulatory approval and contingent upon AB InBev closing its roughly $108 billion acquisition of SABMiller. The Belgian brewer said it expects to do that in the second half of this year.

    AB InBev had been expected to arrange for the sale of SABMiller’s stake in Snow since announcing last year its roughly $108 billion takeover of SABMiller, but people familiar with the company’s plan in January said it would try to keep the stake and maintain operational control over the company. Ultimately, it decided to sell rather than keep Snow because holding on to the business could have slowed the regulatory approval process, said a person familiar with the company’s strategy.

    If approved, the deal would enable AB InBev to focus on higher-priced brands and to build a strategy to boost profit margins in China, where competition is stiff and prices are low. The country is the world’s largest beer market by volume and has been the main driver of growth for global beer consumption in the last decade, accounting for more than half of the beer industry’s total volume increase.

    For China Resources, the deal would propel China further in its ambitions to enter the global market and cap a string of recent Chinese acquisitions. In February, China’s state-owned China National Chemical Corp offered $43 billion in cash to buy Swiss pesticide and seed company Syngenta AG, marking the most ambitious foreign takeover attempt by a Chinese company to date. General Electric Co. agreed to sell its appliance unit to Chinese manufacturer Haier Group for $5.4 billion in January.

    The sale of Snow mirrors the approach AB InBev has taken in the U.S. and Europe. In the U.S., AB InBev negotiated a sale of SABMiller’s interest in MillerCoors LLC to Molson Coors Brewing Co. In Europe, it is in talks to sell Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. rights to SABMiller’s Peroni and Grolsch brands.

    China Resources had the first option to buy SABMiller’s interest in CR Snow, which will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chinese company.

    Taking over Snow would make China Resources the largest brewer in China with a 30% market share, according to industry tracker Seema International Ltd. AB InBev has an estimated 18% market share in China, while Tsingtao Brewery has 22%, Beijing Yanjing Brewery Co. has 13% and Carlsberg A/S has 6%.

    Snow’s position as the world’s biggest beer hasn’t added up to big profits for China Resources, which said its beer profits declined 19% to about $97 million in 2014 from about $121 million in 2013.

    Industry consultants say Snow has lost some of its edge with Chinese consumers in recent years. In an annual ranking of China’s top 50 brands, measured by market value and surveys with Chinese consumers, Snow dropped from a ranking of 37 in 2013 to 50 in 2014, according to market-research firm Millward Brown. Last year, it didn’t make the list.

    “Brands like Snow are seeing an erosion of sales as younger consumers move to wine and ****tails,” said Ben Cavender, a senior analyst at Shanghai-based consultancy China Market Research Group.

    China is one of the world’s most challenging beer markets because beer prices are so depressed. While it’s the world’s largest beer market by volume, it’s only the second-largest market by value, behind the U.S., according to research from the Dutch bank Rabobank. Earnings before interest and taxes per hectoliter in China are $2, compared with the global average of $19 per hectoliter, according to Seema International.

    Competition is fierce, as China has a vast number of regional beer brands that vie for market share and drive prices down. For a bottled liter of beer, comparable to a 40-ounce bottle sold in the U.S., the average retail price is around 9.5 yuan, or around $1.45, far below the U.S., where prices average $4.10, according to Rabobank.

    Industry beer volumes declined by 6% last year in China. Wine and spirits have become more affordable and available in the Chinese market in recent years, which means consumers pass up a pint for a pinot noir, said Mr. Cavender. Some trendsetters are experimenting with premium craft beer, though the market for it is still tiny, Mr. Cavender said.

    The decline marks a reversal from prior years when per capita consumption in the country rose to 45 liters from 7 liters over a 25-year span, according to Deutsche Bank.

    Without Snow, AB InBev’s China business will continue to focus on its Budweiser and Harbin brands. Volumes of higher-priced beers like those brands fared better last year than lower-priced beers. AB InBev said its beer volumes in China increased 0.4% in 2015, and revenue rose about 8% to $4.2 billion from $3.9 billion in 2014.

    During a call with analysts last week, AB InBev Chief Executive Carlos Brito said the company expects the beer industry in China to remain under pressure this year as the economy pressures blue-collar consumers. “We are very happy to see that our business is more skewed towards those segments that are growing,” Mr. Brito said.

    Write to Tripp Mickle at Tripp.Mickle@wsj.com and Laurie Burkitt at laurie.burkitt@wsj.com
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  6. #156
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    Long have I dreamed of just such a thing...

    Hopefully this spawns a worldwide trend because I don't see myself in Žalec any time soon.

    'Europe's first beer fountain' - latest concept art from the ambitious project released
    The attraction will cost an estimated €350,000 to build - but the plans are not universally popular


    Žalec beer fountain

    By Adam Boult 10:00AM GMT 12 Mar 2016

    Žalec, a small town in Slovenia, is planning to build a fountain that spurts out drinkable beer.

    Costing an estimated €350,000 to build, local councillors hope the fountain will become a popular attraction and increase tourism in the region, known for its hop plantations.



    "The fountain will dispense a variety of local beers, with visitors invited to pay six euros for three 200 ml drinks served in a commemorative mug," project lead Dr. Hana Šuster Erjavec told the Telegraph.



    Half of the funds are to be contributed by the local council, with the rest provided by commercial partners and public donations.



    The plans are not univerally popular; at an extraordinary council session in early February a third of delegates voted against the fountain, with opponents voicing objections to its proposed site, and the fact that the required funds could be better used elsewhere - such as in improving the state of water supply to local villages.



    However, two thirds of councillors voted in favour, and the project is set to go ahead, although it does not yet have a completion date.


    Zalec - the town where the fountain will be sited.
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  7. #157
    Liquor can be slightly lower in calories per serving than beer. A 12-ounce light beer has about 103 calories, a regular beer has about 153 calories and a 1.5-ounce serving of 80-proof gin, vodka, tequila, whiskey or rum has about 97 calories.

  8. #158
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    Ganbei!

    啤酒 = pí jiǔ = beer


    Men drink beer during a beer festival in Qingdao, Shandong province. (REUTERS/Nir Elias (CHINA) )

    China is Now The World's Largest Beer Market
    By Jade Scipioni Published March 31, 2016 Industries FOXBusiness

    In 2015, they drank almost two times (about 25 million liters) the amount of beer than Americans, who downed about 18 million liters, according to a report by Euromonitor International, a market research firm.

    However, it’s not just any beer.

    “Studies show that from 2010 to 2015, craft beer in China has grown in market share by about 23 percent,” Donnie Everts, vice president of international development for World of Beer tells FOXBusiness.com.



    “The numbers by volume are huge, and as the craft beer movement is exploding globally, World of Beer feels like the timing for entry into China could not be better,” adds Everts.

    The franchise is already in 20 states across the country, with Shanghai being its first International location. Cong Yin, a franchisee at World of Beer Shanghai, says they have plans to open at least three more locations in the next three years.

    “The craft beer movement is already happening in China - and the younger generation is demanding alternative options in beer choices. Also as a result of rising disposable incomes of the general population, premium brands are becoming much more popular and affordable,” Yin tells FOXBusiness.com.

    Other big beer companies are taking notice to the growing market as well. In 2014, Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) acquired two Asian breweries; Jilin Ginsber Draft Beer and Jiangus Regal Beer. And according to the Euromonitor report, stout witnessed the fastest volume growth among all other beers in 2014, up by 85% -- this alongside the rising number of pubs, bars and Western restaurants in China.

    Yin says Snow Brands, a joint venture between SABMiller and China Resources Enterprises, is the most prominent beer available in China and currently the best-selling beer brand in the world.

    “However, craft beer is now beginning to fill the narrow gap between selections that have been available in the past,” he adds.

    World of Beer says after Shanghai, its next focus will be India and the Philippines.

    “There are areas that show terrific potential for the craft beer growth going on globally. South [America?] also shows a strong potential,” adds Everts.
    Gene Ching
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  9. #159
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    I'm pretty sure I remember reading the CEO of ABInbev stating a bit back that he didn't really care what Americans drink as long as he can still sell swill to China. Can't say I'm not glad to see that might blow up in his face.

  10. #160
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    China's Carlsberg closes

    Didn't know Carlsberg had that many breweries in China...

    Carlsberg to close more breweries in China - CEO
    By Lucy Britner | 12 May 2016


    The world's brewers hold conflicting views on the potential of China's beer market

    Carlsberg's CEO has said he expects to close more breweries in China, following yesterday's news that the group has already closed eight over the last 12 months.

    Speaking to analysts yesterday, following the firm's first-quarter trading update, Cees 't Hart said the closures, "with more to come" in the market, are part of the company's Funding the Journey cost-cutting programme. Carlsberg operates 37 breweries in China, including six joint ventures.

    Management declined to specify how many more breweries would close, however, executive VP Chris Warmoth said Carlsberg was "most of the way through" its brewery closure programme in the country.

    "We need to do some further work," he said. "We have some joint ventures and we need to work out the optimum way to source the volume we do have on the east coast. So we say 'more to come' but... the key message is we're most of the way through."

    Overall, Warmoth said the company is "less positive" on Asia than it has been in the past. "We are expecting the Chinese market to continue to be soft for the full year," he said. "In some of the other economies, which are linked to China, we see a slowing down."

    Earlier this month, Anheuser-Busch InBev flagged the potential of the Chinese market, as its CEO said the company was "poised for bright business" in the country. In a post first-quarter results call, Carlos Brito said Budweiser is the biggest-selling premium beer in China.

    Explaining Carlsberg's position in the market, Warmoth said yesterday that the group's Tuborg brand is the market leader in the sub-premium category.
    Gene Ching
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  11. #161
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    5,000-year-old Chinese beer recipe

    Archaeologists unearth 5,000-year-old Chinese beer recipe



    History can feel a bit hard to relate to sometimes, but when it comes to alcohol everyone can understand the long standing desire to get ****faced because of reasons, which is why discovering a 5,000 year old Chinese brew can feel both enlightening and rouse anyone's curiosity, after all, how does a 5,000-year-old beer recipe compare to our own modern day versions?
    Turns out, nobody knows.



    The ancient brewery was unearthed at an archaeological site at Mijiaya, a site near a tributary of the Wei River in modern-day Shaanxi province that dates back to around 3,400 - 2,900 BC, according to a paper that the archaeological team published on their find.
    The ancient beer-making kits discovered proved that the people of the era had already mastered an advanced technique of of brewing, which employed a mix of Western and Eastern elements and used advanced tools. Yellowish residue left in the pottery funnels and wide-mouthed pots showed traces of the fermented ingredients.
    The residue was tested to find out just what was in a beer recipe from 5,000 years ago. As it turns out: a mixture of broomcorn millet, barley, a chewy grain known as Job’s tears and tubers. Scientists don't know what the beer would taste like as there wasn't a way to find out the proportions, but it's assumed it would be both sour from the cereal grains and sweet from the tubers.



    A pottery stove was also found, which ancient brewers used to break down carbohydrates into sugar. The brewery's location was also noted for being important for storing beer and controlling temperature.
    The presence of barley was surprising to scientists, as scientists had never discovered barley this early in China before and no one knows how it exactly came to be in China, despite it being common today.
    Scientists have also stated that it seems that the introduction of barley fits with the timeline of fermented beverages becoming important in social interaction among the elite, and that Chinese brew masters were making beer just as early as other societies, such as brewers in Iran, Egypt, and wine-makers in America.
    Thankfully, we can all get drunk without needing to be members of the elite. Gan bei, guys.

    By Kitty Lai
    Contact the author of this article or email tips@shanghaiist.com with further questions, comments or tips.
    By Shanghaiist in News on May 25, 2016 2:00 PM
    Broomcorn millet, barley, Job’s tears and tubers. That probably tastes awful. Good thing we've advanced to delicious beer.
    Gene Ching
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  12. #162
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    sounds like a perfect recreation project for Sam at Dogfish Head given how many old recipes he's already done.
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

    "Is enlightenment even possible? Or, did I drive by it like a missed exit?"

    It's simpler than you think.

    I could be completely wrong"

  13. #163
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    I don't endorse this at all....

    ...but I do respect it.

    Police: Man poses as delivery driver, steals cases of beer
    by: Cox Media Group National Content Desk Updated: Aug 11, 2016 - 6:14 PM


    Darrius Williams (Central Alabama Crime Stoppers via AL.com)

    MILLBROOK, Ala. - An Alabama man is wanted for a clever grocery store scam.

    Central Alabama Crime Stoppers said Darius Williams, 22, posed as a delivery driver and entered grocery stores with a large cart. He loaded up the cart with cases of beer and soda and rolled the cart out of the store, where he placed the items in his car and drove away.

    Williams wears a uniform and has been convincing enough to fool several store managers in the area, according to AL.com.

    Williams is wanted on four counts of theft of property.
    Gene Ching
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  14. #164
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    Qingdao Beer Festival

    Qingdao Beer Festival: China's answer to Germany's Oktoberfest
    The Chinese down more beer than the US, and in Qingdao they celebrate as wildly as in Munich. Frankie McCoy joins the party

    FRANKIE MCCOY 5 hours ago

    A huge beer hall, filled with middle-aged men, drunk and pot-bellied. Fake “wenches” dressed in dirndls. Dancing on tables; singing competitions; drinking contests. Oceans of frothy, yellow beer sloshing merrily. So far, so Oktoberfest. Except this particular mass worship of barley pop isn’t taking place in Bavaria. Every year the German festivities face a serious challenge from an unlikely quarter: China’s Qingdao Beer Festival.

    While you may associate China with baijiu or rice wine — if you associate it with booze at all — the Chinese consume a staggering proportion of the world’s hops. China chugged 47 billion litres of beer in 2015, outstripping the US. Most of it is Tsingtao, which sponsors the festival and is China’s best-known beer brand. You’ve probably glugged a bottle of the stuff in a Chinatown restaurant after a mouthful of Szechuan chillies – but you probably didn’t know it’s the second best-selling beer in the world, accounting for 15 per cent of annual global beer sales, falling just behind Budweiser as mankind’s favourite brew.

    Flying to Qingdao gives the opportunity to stop over in Beijing, where it’s obligatory to snap selfies in the Forbidden City and visit Silk Street Market: a seven-storey shopping mall with 1,700 vendors, all hawking counterfeit designer goodies. But if you’re here for beer it’s all about Beijing’s brewpubs. I head to Great Leap Brewing in the Dongcheng district, the largest of the brewery’s three sites in the capital.

    I sink pints of Little General, its unique Chinese-style IPA — lightly hopped and dangerously drinkable for its 6.5 per cent alcohol content — before s******ing into a Chesty Puller, an extremely hoppy 6.3 per cent American IPA created especially for the Marine Detachment at the US Embassy here. After something else made with Szechuan peppercorns and “Iron Buddha tea”, I fall face first into one of Great Leap’s burgers. After enough Chesty Puller, you deeply appreciate these gloriously filthy patties — smothered in the best kind of terrible American cheese; buns dripping with meaty juice — but it would be nice to see nu-wave Chinese beer paired with traditional dim sum.

    It’s a little worse for beer that I move on to Qingdao, a 90-minute flight away in China’s eastern Shandong province. Lunch is at the Shangri-La Hotel’s Shang Palace restaurant, where I tackle a massive lazy Susan, heaving with dim sum. Standouts include impossibly light crystal prawn dumplings, crispy lotus root and savoury custard buns dressed up as whole mushrooms.


    Qingdao's International Beer Festival (Zuma Press Inc/Alamy)

    Then it’s time to start saturating myself with beer once again. First up is the Tsingtao brewery and museum. on a road called Beer Street — lined with neon-lit restaurants and bars — every one of which has a massive flashing Tsingtao logo. No rival brewery would stand a chance.


    A misty evening in Qingdao (Xinhua / Alamy)

    Here I learn that Tsingtao, first brewed in 1903, was made for German expats and soldiers in China – and I receive the perhaps not medically sound, advice that “a Tsingtao a day keeps the doctor away”.

    I nibble on toasted hops, surprisingly sweet and nutty, before observing the bottling room, where an incredible 36,000 bottles are filled every hour. Then I find the “drunk room”, where my Great Leap hangover comes crashing back. The challenge is to get to the other side of a small room in which the floor is tilted at about 60 degrees, and wobbles like the Natural History Museum’s earthquake room. By the time I’m through I’m weak with laughter, desperate for a fortifying beer to revive me.


    Tsingtao Beer Museum (AFP/Getty)

    Be careful what you wish for. At Sichuan restaurant South Beauty I learn to shout “gan bei” — the Chinese equivalent of “cheers!”, only each time you must also bang your glass on the table and down all the beer in it. Which Chinese hospitality dictates must immediately be refilled to the brim. Throughout the evening “gan bei” rings out constantly, particularly when I try Tsingtao’s newest offering, its first IPA — a sweetish, hoppy brew that could compete with any ironically named ales produced in a London railway arch.

    The next day I walk off my beer belly around Laoshan mountain, a beautifully peaceful home to several Taoist temples. But really, I’m just killing time until the beer festival that evening. The event is spread across four sites, and I head to the biggest of them all, Huangdao Golden Beach. The approach is like walking into Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland — except for the huge neon motto at the entrance encouraging imminent swillers to “Gan bei with the world!”


    Laoshan Mountain (Juan He/Alamy)

    Endless flashing lights line an avenue leading to huge tents from international beer brands. Not surprisingly Tsingtao’s is the biggest, and has by far the best entertainment. Contortionists, drinking races, fire breathers and pole dancers vie for attention with teeming crowds of beaming Chinese brew enthusiasts.

    Most of the men are stripped down to their beer bellies, clutching plastic bags full of beer — an unusual twist on the German stein. And food here is much more Chinese than bratwurst — I end up snacking on an entire fried octopus on a stick, the size of my head. As electro music begins to pound, the semi-naked among us climb onto tables to dance, beer bags sloshing almost as much as the bellies. This is Chinese Oktoberfest: totally surreal, and hysterical fun. Forget tea. You shouldn’t miss this for all the beer in China.


    A bartender pours pitchers (Zuma Press/Alamy)
    I'm not a huge fan of Tsingtao beer, but I would visit the Tsingtao Beer Museum.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #165
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
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    +500%!

    China's thirst for beer gives super boost to UK brewing market
    Published March 08, 2017
    · FoxNews.com


    (iStock)

    British brews are becoming insanely popular in China.

    According to Beverage Daily, beer exports from the U.K. experience a 500 percent increase in 2016 due to rising consumer demand throughout the country.

    Some analysts have cited Chinese president Xi Jinping's interest in beer as contributing to the beverage's rising popularity. In 2015, he was photographed enjoying a beer with former British prime minister David Cameron.

    But China isn't the only country to have a stronger interest in British brews-- exports to India grew by 417 percent and exports to the EU grew by 5 percent.

    With a total of 1.05 billion pints of beer being sent abroad, the country's beer exports are now valued at $712 million, up $102 million since 2015.

    Approximately 63 percent of Britain’s beer exports are for the EU while the remaining 37 percent are destined for other locations around the globe.

    The increase in brewery exports has boosted beer to the third most valuable food or drink export coming out of the U.K., falling behind only whisky and chocolate in 2016, according to the Food and Drink Federation 2016 export statistics.
    I take some personal responsibility for this because I taught several gals in Beijing how to drink Guinness.

    Okay, maybe it wasn't that many gals and it was over a decade ago...but still.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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