Beer aficionados who plan to visit Beijing should not expect to find a great variety of local products. All restaurants will invariably provide you with bottled or draft pale lagers such as locally brewed Yanjing Beer (燕京啤酒) and much familiar Tsingtao Beer (青岛啤酒) and their countless variations. A few Beijing-based Korean restaurants will also offer Harbin Brewery Group (哈尔滨啤酒集团) Pale Lager (哈尔滨啤酒). As for micro-breweries (小型酿酒厂) as we know them in Canada, my Beijing sources all tell me they have not surfaced yet in the PRC, while my Shanghai sources believe there might be a few pubs who brew their own beer in Shanghai. Apart from the aforementioned lagers and a variety of chrysanthemum, lemon and pineapple beers, Beijing supermarkets sometimes distribute a few dark beers. Here are a couple noteworthy ones:
- Harbin Brewery (Changchun Yinpu) Co. Yinpu Black Rice Dark Beer: located in Changchun City (长春) in Northeastern China Jilin Provin (吉林省), Harbin Brewery (Changchun Yinpu) Co. brews what it claims to be a Schwarzbier (深色啤酒). Available both canned and bottled, it is much harder to find in Beijing than Beijing Yanjing Brewery's Dark Beer. It has a deep brown color and very little head formation.
- Beijing Yanjing Brewery Co. Dark Beer: Yanjing Beer Brewery's (燕京啤酒) first brewery was established in 1980 in Shunyi County (顺义县), north-east of Beijing. In 1981, the name was changed from Shunyi Beer (顺义啤酒) to Yanjing Beer. It started to diversify its production in 1999, and finally introduced in June 2004 a canned Dark Beer (燕京听装黑啤酒) that is also claims to be a Schwarzbier.
Let's hope the introduction of dark beers on the PRC market will lead to greater diversification in a near future. Even though some beer industry experts do complain about the lack of variety, Chinese beer fans would rather like to see more big Chinese Beer companies instead of micro-breweries.