To people outside China, Tsingtao tends to be the most well known Chinese beer export. However, that may slowly change. AB-InBev has been expanding it’s global empire to include craft beer — this would be the parent company of Budweiser. This is how, for example, a Chicago beer like Goose Island has been showing up in Chinese bars. Budweiser owns it, now. Three years ago, AB-InBev also bought up Shanghai’s Boxing Cat Brewery. In this regard, Boxing Cat may be one of the first Chinese craft beers that could get exported on a large scale. As for me in China, I recently noticed Boxing Cat had two of their drinks for sale at Metro — a large German supermarket where many expats do their grocery shopping. Needless to say, getting into Metro is just another indication of AB-InBev’s clout. So, I decided to give both a try.
This first one is 第一血 diyixue, aka First Blood. It’s an amber lager that boasts a 4.5% alcohol level.
As amber lagers go, I found this light and relatively smooth. While there is some carbonation, it wasn’t as fizzy or gassy as some varieties of Tsingtao can be. My first impression was that it tasted a little watery, but not in a way I would outright complain about. Would I drink another bottle or two of this sometime? Yeah, why not. Moving on…
This one is 搏击者 bojizhe, aka Contender. It’s an extra pale ale clocking in at 4.9%.
It has a small bit of dry bite with a slight bitter hint. As extra pale ales go, this one is also a little light, and to my taste a bit watery. Again, not complaining. Some good tasting beers that are watery are actually easier to chug — if you’re into that sort of thing. My college student days are long in the rear view mirror, though. Again, this one felt a little more carbonated that Boxing Cat’s amber ale. Would I drink this again? Yes.
After drinking both of these, I was left wondering about one thing. Is this Budweiser’s version of Boxing Cat, or is these two actually representative of the Shanghai brew pub? As of this writing, I wouldn’t know. I haven’t visited Boxing Cat the last few times I was in Shanghai. However, these two have me intrigued, though. Draft beer is usually better than bottled. So, I have something new on my Shanghai to do list.