Tea-infused beer marks a first for Chinese brewing

Two Chinese micro-breweries have created what is thought to be the country’s first collaborative brewing project: a black tea-infused beer called Yunnan Amber.

Inspired by the results of similar partnerships between brewers in the vibrant US craft ale scene, Carl Setzer of Great Leap Brewing in Beijing developed the idea and recipe with Michael Jordan of Boxing Cat Brewery in Shanghai.

The brewing process saw the beer spend five days infusing with Dianhong black tea from China’s southern Yunnan Province. The duo settled on this variety for its strong flavours, capable of showing through the beer flavours to add a distinctive tea note to the finish.

This first collaborative project saw a total of 1,000 litres produced, which is now being served at both breweries.

Speaking to Jing Daily, Setzer explained: “The beer has aspects of both our brewing philosophies and will give fans of craft beer in Shanghai a taste of Great Leap in a setting that is already famous for the best beer in town.”

Although China’s beer scene continues to be dominated by large brands, including its own Tsingtao, the four million visitors expected at this month’s Qingdao Beer Festival shows the growing enthusiasm for this category.

Meanwhile a craft beer scene is steadily emerging, with operations such as Great Leap Brewing and Boxing Cat Brewery starting to appear in China’s major cities. 2012 saw the first Shanghai Beer Week take place in April, followed by the first Beijing Craft Beer Festival in June.

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