Beer Activist Goes to China

I leave in an hour for the People’s Republic. We’ll spend a few days in Beijing and then head to Qingdao for the International Beer Festival. Then we go to Chengdu in Sichuan Province. This is the area that was hit last year by the 16th largest earthquake in history. Supposed to be an amazing place.

Qingdao's "Beer City" is the locale for the annual International Beer Festival

Qingdao's "Beer City" is the locale for the annual International Beer Festival

I’ve done very little prep for the trip because I’ve been settling into my new job these past two weeks as Director of Sustainability at American University. Not to mention the fact that we went to an open house the other day and decided on the spot to make an offer. We didn’t get it but what a whirlwind couple weeks its been.

In an hour I’ll be at the airport and can settle into reading the guidebooks. If you have any suggestions for people to meet, places to see, things to drink, by all means please post a comment! I’m interested, as usual, in all things related to beer and sustainability.


3 Responses to Beer Activist Goes to China

  1. mckenna says:

    The Qingdao Beer Festival is great! When I was there, a man performed chinese pseudo-pop in a pink spandex unitard and cape accompanied by an electric erhu (the two-stringed classical chinese instrument). Nothing quite explains the experience.

    In Chengdu, you MUST eat shaokao, it’s a street food sold mostly by Uyghurs, of meats and vegetables covering in chili powder and grilled (try the quail eggs, if you can, and lotus root “ou”). It is best eaten at an outdoor stand at dusk and accompanied by beer. The venders will sometimes sell it but often you need to pick up a bottle at a grocery store beforehand, especially if you want your beer cold (for some reason they don’t mind warm, watery beer).

    Finally, a beer quest — I once had Tsingtao “hei” beer (“hei” means black) and it was the only decent domestic beer I had in China. I found it in Kunming in Yunnan Province. I kept asking for it elsewhere but could never find it again. Perhaps you’ll have better luck.

    Enjoy your travels! China is a fascinating place and Sichuan province is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been (though Chengdu leaves something wanting). If you have any time to get out to the countryside, go to Emei Shan (2 hours from Chengdu).

  2. Eric says:

    My team produces REDSTAR, Qingdao’s English-language guide magazine, welcome! I’m eager to hear what you think of the beer festival, but if you have a moment while you’re here we’ll be happy to show you why Qingdao is the heart of beer culture in China (it starts with ¥1.5 pints of fresh cask ale on every streetcorner).

    You can check out our latest issue online at Drop me a line when you’re in town!

  3. Please enjoy your trip over there, and PLEASE report back that China actually has some drinkable beer besides the swill that shows up here.

    Off-topic: “Director of Sustainability”?!?!? Okay, I’m familiar with American University, but still…….. that sincerely sounds like something from a “South Park” episode lampooning political correctness! I know what must be involved–I have a brother-in-law studying “green” engineering in architecture and home design–but still, I’m picturing Rush Limbaugh saying “I can’t make this stuff up, folks!”

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