HOME > Chowhound > Beer >


Chinese dinner beer

We are planning a Chinese dinner banquet at a restaurant with a limited selection of wine and beer. The management has agreed to let us bring in our own beer. We have planned a menu that includes lobster with ginger and scallions, peking duck, scallops, asparagus and a variety of other dishes. Any suggestions for a beer that would pair well? TIA.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Tsingtao always hits the spot for me.. Elegant and chilly with a German parentage you cannot go wrong.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Naguere

      I haven't had this beer in a long time, but recall it was prone to skunkiness. I would consider Singha or any good pilsner.

      1. re: Jim Dorsch

        I recently ordered a Tsingtao by mistake when I really wanted a Singha. I was dissapointed.

        Singha is one of the better ones in this catagory IMO.

        1. re: LStaff

          Lest we forget Beerlao, a standard clean beer from Laos with the inexplicably cult like following...

          1. re: Insidious Rex

            I think Beer Lao has a cult like following because of the obscurity of the country to most Westerners. It is pretty standard(though the dark one is a bit better than avg) for an Asian lager. What seems to give it its cultlike following is the sense of fascination with the exotic, and if you have traveled in the area gives you a sort of attachment to something others have not heard of.

            1. re: MVNYC

              I definitely prefer the Beer Lao "dark" (actually, it's amber-colored at best). It's got somewhere around 6.5% ABV and tastes pleasant enough, sort of like liquid Rice Chex. If you want malt & or hops, though, you'll have to look elsewhere.

              1. re: Kenji

                Deep amber seems to be typical of 'dark' beers, certainly many Bavarian Dunkels, for example.

          2. re: LStaff

            I'm with you on the Singha...a truly under rated gem of a beer.

            1. re: The Professor

              I haven't had Singha in a long time. I notice that they reduced the alcohol, which used to be probably around 6-6.5 IIRC. I don't know how this has affected the flavor. I do recall getting a bit of a buzz drinking it while waiting for a meal.

              1. re: Jim Dorsch

                Yeah, Singha went from 6 to 5% ABV, and it also went all-malt -- although the beer was sufficiently malty in its 80s incarnation for Jackson to suggest that it probably evolved from a pale bock.

                1. re: Kenji

                  Interesting. I recall they used to add cane sugar.

      2. I am a big fan of pairing Saisons with Asian cuisine. Hennepin is a particular favorite of mine, if you are looking for a specific recommendation.

        3 Replies
        1. re: brentk

          Wow, a saison should be just dandy! Saison Dupont would probably work nicely, too.

          1. re: Jim Dorsch

            Avril is another great table beer from Brasserie Dupont with a lighter ABV then Saison. It's great for those long dinners.

            Hitachino makes a ginger beer that would be interesting to try with your lobster course.

          2. re: brentk

            Hennepin with Chinese food sounds really good. I'll have to try it.

          3. I've been to more Chinese banquets than I can count, and the choices are usually limited to American lagers, Heineken and Tsingtao. I'd go for Trumer Pils (or Victory if you can get it and it fits in your budget) or even a wit beer. You get palate fatigue after all those courses, and I'd go with a light but flavorful session beer to keep your palate fresh. Another option would be a Belgian, but they tend to be pretty high in alcohol.

            1. I strongly agree with the general consensus that you want to keep it light: a good Chinese banquet is all about the interplay of flavors and you don't want your beer to compete with that.

              1. If you can find it, Harbin is better (IMO) than any other Chinese beer.

                1. Funny coincidence, some friends and I just put together a menu of Szechuan fare paired with different beers for a beer dinner.

                  The beers in our sampling that worked best were: Belgian witbier, hoppy extra pale ale, ESB, and rauchbier (lager made from smoked malt).

                  You'll probably want a couple of different ones, because some of the dishes (for example, stuff with hoisin sauce) will probably pair differently than something spicy and lightly fried.

                  You might also want to consider a tart Belgian gueuze like Cantillon or Cuvee Rene.

                  1. Like Saison with most spicy Asian dishes Thai, Szechuan etc. Matches well with the spice. Agree that Guezes also fit.
                    Singha is also good, much lighter flavor profile, course it is a lager, all malt as I understand it.

                    1. there's a balanced, crisp pale ale made by Anderson Brewing in Boonville, originally developed by an asian guy working a Sierra Nevada, called Con Rong Chau Tian. It's a dark bottle with gold lettering and design that depicts an angel/spirit figure with a dragon's tail (the creator of the beer conceived it as the union of an angel and mountain dragon). It's very good with a range of asian foods. generally, i prefer ales with their crisp hoppiness relative to lagers with foods that are stir-fried, fried,rich like duck, or somewhat complex in their seasoning because they refresh the palate. the lighter belgian style or real belgian ales also do this nicely of course. cheers

                      1. It might be a tad sweeter than a decade ago but Tsingtao is the obvious choice. Never skunky at least in the three NYC Chinatowns I regularly call home. I like nearly all Asian beers except the ones now made in Canada. Shame on you Japan.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Flaco

                          Why would brewing an industrial lager in Canada over Japan make it any worse? This seems to be one of those beer myths out there.

                          1. re: MVNYC

                            I think people just expect a 'Japanese' beer to be made in Japan. Certainly you're right that the beer can be made just as well in Canada. I wonder what Flaco thinks of Kirin, which is brewed in the US for our market.

                            1. re: Jim Dorsch

                              Interesting thing is that probably 95% of the package stores I've been in still put the Kirin, Fosters, Kingfisher and other "brewed in the USA under license" beers in the 'import' section of the cooler case. Some of them sell for 'import' prices too!

                              I would agree that most of these beers are none the worse for being brewed here, although we do have to admit that Miller's handling of Lowenbrau was a real fiasco that bore no resemblance whatsoever to the original.

                            2. re: MVNYC

                              I'm no exalted beer taster but I definitely noticed a difference when I bought some Sapporo a year or so ago and just went ugh. So much so that I examined the packaging and went aha. I then tried Asahi with similar results, just not that super crisp and clean taste of old, skunky even. Okay, maybe I just got unlucky but I can't pull the trigger again, even when eating udon in the East Village. That said, I've had no problem with Canadian Guiness like some on this board but I usually make black and tans with it so who knows? Like I say, not a super-refined beer guy but I know what I like. Finally, is it me or have the major Canadian players like Molson not deteriorated as well in the last decade or so? I used to like Canadian beer...

                          2. Thanks all for your suggestions. We bought lots of wine and sodas. We bought a 12 pack of Sapporo japanese beer in case we had guests who wanted beer. It all went over really well. All of the beer was consumed except for one can. the wine also went (the pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc all went over well), I am grateful to the chowhound community for the recos for the wine and the beer, The family party was hugely successful. I should probably report on another thread.

                            1. Congratulations on your successful banquet. For future reference, check out Garrett Oliver's book "The Brewmaster's Table," which discusses which beers go best with what food. Oliver is the beermaster at Brooklyn Brewing Company