Qingdao, a picturesque coastal city on China's eastern seaboard, boasts an interesting past and a groovy seaside atmosphere. Once colonized by Germans, Qingdao (sounds like "ching daow") is the venerable home of China's most iconic beer: Tsingtao. The name Tsingtao is an earlier Romanized spelling of the same Chinese word: "qing dao," which means “green island.” Although not actually an island, Qingdao is now a major seaport city, and in 2008, it hosted the Beijing Olympic Sailing competition in its scenic bay.
The World of Tsingtao is the main brewery and museum of Tsingtao beer, located right in Qingdao City. Tickets to Tsingtao Brewery give you access to the museum, which highlights the history of Tsingtao beer from its founding in 1903 by German settlers. These settlers colonized the city between 1898 and 1922, and founded most of the city's earliest infrastructure. You also get a chance to see how the beer is actually brewed, including which ingredients are special to Tsingtao beer, and how it is bottled and distributed.
One of the best parts of Tsingtao Brewery is a raised viewing platform that runs above the bottling plant. Here, you can watch the bottles running along a conveyor belt maze: to be filled, capped and inspected. If you're there at the right time, you might get a glimpse of one of the Tsingtao inspectors checking for broken or damaged bottles as they run their course through the conveyor.
Past the bottling plant, a tasting room gives visitors a chance to sample Tsingtao beer at its freshest. The tasting room is modelled on similar rooms in Western breweries. A dark wooden bar counter, high tables and soft lighting, give it a true pub-like feel. And the beer that comes out of the tasting room taps is perhaps the finest sample of Tsingtao beer you'll ever taste.
Having learned so much about the history and brewing process of Tsingtao beer, you are simply dying for a pint. Luckily, the entrance ticket to Tsingtao Brewery includes a free pitcher of beer at the end of the brewery tour. A large German-style beer hall concludes the tour and provides a cozy resting place to quaff your free pitcher. Afterwards, if you still have a taste for more, explore the 'Beer Street' (pijiu jie) just outside. The scattergun of small Chinese restaurants along this road all have Tsingtao beer taps, and some offer rarer styles of Tsingtao, including Tsingtao Dark Beer and Tsingtao Green Beer.
When to Go to Tsingtao Brewery
The World of Tsingtao Brewery is open year-round, but by far the best time of year to visit the Qingdao beer brewery is during August. This is when the city hosts the world famous Qingdao International Beer Festival—16 days of beer tasting, drinking and events. Although packed with Chinese and foreign tourists, the city transforms into a beer-lovers paradise during the festival. In addition to visiting the Tsingtao brewery, festival-goers can check out a wide variety of performances and contests, as well as taste-test samples from breweries around the world.
The city of Qingdao is itself a wonderful tourist attraction with lots to see and do. Several of the local beaches are among the best in China (which, in fairness, have very little competition), though the tepid waters of the East China Sea may be less-than-enticing to foreign visitors. The German colonial heritage can be evidenced in the local architecture, street layout, and the Qingdao Protestant Church, which is one of the city's most photographed buildings.
Tickets to World of Tsingtao Brewery and Museum cost ¥50, which includes entrance to the museum, the brewery, the tasting room, and a pitcher of Tsingtao beer at the end of the tour. Tickets for the Qingdao International Beer Festival range from ¥10-20 for a day pass.
Odds n' Ends
The World of Tsingtao Brewery is located in the north part of the city on Dengzhou Road, and the best way to get there is by taxi. Ask the taxi driver to take you to "pi jiu chang," or alternately, bus numbers: 205, 2117, 221, or 604 go to the brewery. The World of Tsingtao Brewery and Museum is open between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. everyday, and English signs inside the brewery help foreign visitors understand the history and the brewing process.
Be aware that summer in China, even northerly Qingdao, is excruciatingly hot and humid. Be sure to wear breathable, lightweight clothing, and drink plenty of water. If you want to go drinking on the nearby “pijiu jie” beer street, the easiest thing to do is walk around and peer into restaurants until you see one that looks inviting. Make sure to check that they have Tsingtao beer available on tap. Qingdao's local specialities are seafood and shellfish, which are almost always caught locally and served fresh and tasty (and go very well with local lager).
Want a Guide?
- Essence of Qingdao Tour
- Blessed with natural harbor, Qingdao's history is built around is port. Qingdao was occupied by the Germany for many years and still has a strong German influence which contributes to its charm. Join us to find out more about this cosmopolitan city.
- Travel China Guide - Qingdao Tour Package
- Qingdao, a beautiful coast city, is renowned for its rich history and culture. The famed Mt. Laoshan is not merely a scenic Mountain but also one of the birthplaces of Taoism. Standing atop the Xiaoyushan Hill Park, you will gain a wonderful panoramic view over Qingdao city, Qingdao Island, the Zhan Bridge, the blue sea and clear sky. What a fine vista that spread out before you eyes.
Places to Eat
- Haidao Seafood Restaurant
- ince 1891, this Qingdao mainstay has been filling the guts of diners with authentic Shandong cuisine. The building itself exhibits two dining personalities. Downstairs is casual in a fast-food type way, while the second floor exhibits a more traditional dining atmosphere and where the kitchen displays its true culinary skills. Dumplings, sea cucumbers, fried oysters, braised shark fins, steamed dumplings, and carp in sweet and sour sauce are just a few of the items diners can expect. Weekends border on being noisy, especially downstairs.
- Steven Gao's Restaurant (Gaoshi Jiudian)
- Guitars and posters of Jim Morrison and Axl Rose decorate the walls of this three-story restaurant located on food street Yunxiao Lu. Try the jingjiang rousi (shredded pork Peking style), suanxiang gu (fried pork chop with garlic), or shao erdong (sauteed mushrooms with asparagus); or choose from the tanks of fresh seafood out front.
- Hailai Restaurant
- Located a stones throw from No. 3 beach, offering seafood BBQ either indoors or outdoors. Try a pitcher or glass of their fresh fruit juices; apple, pear, tomato, pineapple, carrot and watermelon. A great way to start a night after a day on the beach.
- Ajisen Ramen
- Ajisen Ramen was found at Kumamoto, Japan in 1968. Currently Ajisen Ramen already have 400 plus chain in worldwide. Ajisen Ramen targeted to open 1000 and above food chain worldwide. Ajisen Ramen is “World Ramen”, and the slogan of Ajisen is “ ?? ??? ? ??“ .
- Full Qingdao Dining Guide @ Redstar
- Choose from over 300 restaurants, selected by area, cuisine, or map.
Recommended Places to Stay
- Qingdao Beach House
- The Qingdao Beach House is ideally located right on the water's edge of Qingdao Bathing Beach #1 in Huiquan Bay Area. Patrons of The Beach House can enjoy spectacular views of famous Qingdao beaches and coastal parks. Just five minutes from the Central Business District (CBD) or Qingdao Old Town, The Beach House Hostel is ideally situated close to Huiquan Square which hosts some events of the Qingdao International Beer Festival, which is normally occurs the last two week of August.
- Jinjiang Inn Central Qingdao
- Jinjiang Inn is a well-known local budget chain with friendly service and well-equipped guest rooms. Clean, safe and comfortable environment, convenient and high-quality services as well as inexpensive prices is the key concept for all the Jinjiang Inns in China.
- YHA Old Observatory Youth Hostel
- Qingdao Observatory, the first observatory in China, is home of our youth hostel, which is situated on Mt. Observatory in the heart of Qingdao, it is a hidden gem from which to explore China’s most vibrant coastal city. It overlooks the Qingdao Bay, most hostel rooms have a panoramic view over the city’s skyline.
- Big Brother Guest House
- A home away from home newly opened in July 2008. Our rooms are comfortable and clean suitable for individuals, families and groups. Our rates are unbeatable and no budget conscious travelers should ever miss. Our staff speaks English, Putonghua and Cantonese.
- Fusheng Hotel Qingdao
- The Fusheng brand dates back to 1881. It is well known for its special food made of carefully selected materials.
- Sanfod Hotel
- The three-star Sanfod Hotel, Qingdao, located near the seaside Sculpture Garden and Sculpture Street, is 10 kilometers from the railway station and 20 kilometers from the airport.
- Best Western Kilin Crown Hotel
- This tower of comfort that oddly resembles the muzzle of a ray gun when lit at night offers a nice respite from the frantic pace of the city.
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