Tsingtao beer comes from the lovely city of Qingdao (青岛 QīngDǎo) situated in the Chinese northeast. This city is loved by many, local and foreigners alike, and is actually mistakenly considered to be the capital of Shandong (山东 ShānDōng) province – when in fact, that is the city of Ji Nan (济南 JǐNán).
Until the 19th century, Qingdao was just another sleepy fishing village, but this changed dramatically when it was taken under German leadership when Germany set it up as one of its European concessions. We’ve mentioned how during the Opium Wars the military weak China was exploited by various European forces, and that is also why Qingdao remained under Germans until 1914.
The German presence most notably influenced the architecture of the city, with locals building German-style houses long after they have left. Also, unlike other cities that had foreign presence, the government of Qingdao was very keen on preserving the German character and so to to this day some parts of the city make you feel like you’ve just stumbled onto a random old street somewhere in Germany (for example the area around St. Michael’s protestant church built in gothic style back in 1934).
The biggest local attraction, of course, is the beer. If you’re not among the picky ones, you can drink your cheap pint straight from a plastic bag sold on the streets from the local vendors.
For the picky ones, or at least, those among you whose aspire for more than just your cheap local brand, you can visit the famous Qingdao International Beer Festival (青岛国际啤酒节 QīngDǎo GuóJì PíJiǔJié). This festival is also known as Asia’s Oktoberfest and is hosted every year starting the second weekend in August and lasts 16 days. The festival is opened to both local and international beers.