Harbin LagerMay 1, 2007
I’m not entirely sure what “tradition and culture” is supposed to have inspired this Chinese lager, since as I understand it, the Russians brought beer to that country’s north only about a century ago. But enough label-speak, on with the show. The aroma reminds me of a walk through a wheat field, all fresh grain and light floral notes. The body begins sweet and very much like the taste of malted grain, and pretty much stays that way, with only light hoppiness rising to dry the middle and finish. After I swallow, faint bitterness battles with lingering and candy-like sweetness. No illumination on the “tradition and culture” front here.
- Stephen Beaumont
Visually as much of an international light lager as I’ve ever seen. Crystal clear, light golden with notable head. Aroma of a true lager imported in a green bottle: slightly light struck. Not objectionable, so knock yourself out. Refreshing to the max. Hop character gently evident on palate adding to the refreshing nature. Smooth, well-balanced and pleasant hop bite in aftertaste. Nice clean beer.
- Charlie Papazian
The label claims “this beer is inspired by the tradition and culture of China’s northernmost province”... funny, it seems like pilsner to me. It’s bright gold with a fluffy white head, and the aroma is pleasantly lager-ish with full bready malt notes. The palate is light-bodied and briskly hopped with good malt in the center and a clean, dry finish. It seems more inspired by Copenhagen than Hellongjiang Province, but it’s very clean and refreshing, great with fried fish.
- Garret Oliver
Stephen Beaumont boarded his first plane at the age of 15 and hasn’t looked back since, obsessing about travel to the point that he gets nervous if he doesn’t have a ticket or two stacked on the corner of his desk. When he’s not running around in search of new taste experiences, he makes his home in Toronto, where a new cultural experience is only as far away as the next neighborhood.
Author of the New Complete Joy of Homebrewing, founder of the Great American Beer Festival and a Beer Examiner at www.examiner.com, Papazian is a leading voice in beer and brewing.
Internationally recognized brewer and expert on traditional beer, Garrett Oliver is the brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and the author of The Brewmaster's Table.
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