Even though the Asian beer market is not particularly renowned for its great quality, it is expanding at a great rate. The Asian beer market is growing in terms of its range and quality of beers as well as it beer consumption. There are numerous good beers in Asia, especially given that Asian countries love their beer. China has been the world's biggest beer producer and consumer since 2002. Even though beer consumption per head is still a great deal lower than that of USA or Europe, it is expanding each year. With a growing number of brands available, beer consumption in China is likely to grow further.
South-East Asian Beers
The best Asian beer comes from the Southeast Asian markets of the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, having brewed for years. Perhaps the largest Asian brewery is the Philippines' San Miguel brewery. Many people may consider San Miguel to be exclusively Spanish. However, that is not accurate.
San Miguel was built in 1890 in the Philippines by Spanish settlers. It had links with Spain until the 1950s. However, the Spanish and Asian beers are unrelated. It is the Philippines' most popular beer and is to be found throughout Asia. It is a lager beer, with a full flavour. It is frequently compared to Bavarian dark beer. Another big Southeast Asian beer is Tiger. It is Singapore's top lager beer and is incredibly popular in Southern China and throughout Europe.
The beer causing a rumpus throughout the Asian region is called Beer Lao. It has been produced in Laos since 1973 and is a lager beer brewed using Himalayan mountain water, French barley and German yeast. The beer is often called Asia's best, although hardly known in the West. It is a very tasty French-style lager, having a crisp finish.
China produces and consumes more beer in volume than anywhere else in the world, being famous for its own high-quality beer. Its best known beer product is Tsingtao, a drinkable yet weak Asian lager beer.
Initially produced in 1897 by German colonies, it is the most widely available beer in China. The Chinese provinces have their own beers; Beijing has Beijing beer and so on. Nonetheless, these beers are not renowned for their quality. The beer may be lacking in character, but, makes up for taste in price. Local shops charge less than £5 for a crate of 600ml bottles.
Japanese beers are of a higher standard than those from most other Asian countries. They have a crisp, light taste which accompanies delicate food like sushi well. Two of the best known Japanese beers are Sapporo and Kirin. The latter has been named after a half-horse, half-dragon mythical beast. It is a refreshing golden lager which accompanies food well, being pretty popular in other Asian countries as well as the UK.
Sapporo tastes like a Bavarian-style beer, having been brewed by Japan's first brewery. The Kaitakushi Brewery was established in 1876; its Sapporo beer is a light, crisp lager which goes well with light foods, such as, rice or sushi.
Asian beer is considered to have some way to go in terms of quality and diversity to be on par with its European counterparts. Nonetheless, its range and popularity are improving. As more Asian beer is being drunk, their standard and range are bound to increase. It may be that there is something new as well as specifically Asian to be tasted in the future.
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