A week into the trip and our first week of class has been completed along with a plethora of cultural activities each afternoon. Today began with an early alarm set for seven am (as most Saturday mornings are) and a Skype call with my parentals. Today was the first weekend activity with the appropriate tour of the Tsingtao beer factory, which of course, is brewed right here in Qingdao. After the discussion, my classmates and I all prepared to depart from our ghetto, wherein we lived, and headed towards the international students building's parking lot adjacent to our classrooms. Once there we discovered an additional activity had been graciously awarded to us: the tour of the longest bridge over water. Qingdao's bridge across the. Taking an estimated forty minutes each way my classmates and I were expectedly ecstatic for our adventure. This bridge beat out the causeway in length around six years ago. After driving thirty minutes, including passing the Qingdao brewery longingly, we arrived at the bridge and began the wonderful two hour journey across the bridge and then back. I'm actually currently on the bridge now. About ten minutes into it, and only a twelfth of the way, I've decided I would much rather be sleeping right now. So it's time to take a nap. I'll let you all know if anything else exciting happens, but I hope just to return back to the main part of Qingdao and go tour the factory.
After awaking from the very boring bridge ride and long drive back to the factory, we entered the Tsingtao brewery factory and were greeted to a very well-orchestrated tour. The tour began at a side building hosting a collection of fun facts about the Tsingtao brewery along with most of its history from German formation to Japanese occupation to its current standing as the greatest, most exported beer offered in China. The museum tour was especially informative, with different interesting tidbits of information including ancient advertisements, a very modern Tsingtao dance team, and selections of beer bottles from throughout history’s many municipalities.
After completing the tour of the informative museum house, we moved outside and headed to the actual brewery where the Germans used to experiment and brew this unique lager. After surmounting multiple ladders, stairwells, and escalators, we made our way towards the current day brewing facility. After getting the chance to resemble farm animals by eating handful of hops or hobs (I am still unclear on what it is that makes the beer), we exited the building and passed the beer fountain physically separating the old brewery (which essentially was an extension of the previous museum) from the modern Tsingtao manufacturing facility.
|Manufacturing...now that is beautiful|
The actual manufacturing brewery facility showcased glossy, metallic walls and piping. We walked down the cold hallways listening to the chirping of our tour guide, wherein we could only understand a few words including the ubiquitous 啤酒 (pi2jiu3 = beer). For all we know, our guide could have revealed all of the inner secrets of the Tsingtao brewing processes; however, we walked through the facility watching the golden brew pour into the emerald bottles along endless conveyor belts and intricate barrels.
After walking past the construction site of all the various beers, we descended upon another collection of Star Trek-esque escalators towards a new section of the factory. We found ourselves within a tavern equipped with wooden paneled walls, Michael Scott St. Paul’s Girl neon light shining along many corners, and special Tsingtao brewery honey-roasted peanuts along with the “raw” Tsingtao beer. Since the concept behind the raw was explained in Chinese, I did not fully grasp the entire meaning behind the “rawness” of the brew. After consuming our complimentary glasses of what I discovered was the taste of beer, we descended to the next area of the facility.
We found ourselves in a great hall, illuminated by tall, opaque windows and fluorescence. Along the walls, many intricate, expensive rarities were being sold to whoever had a substantial enough wallet to buy large Qing dynasty Jade and ancient calligraphy tapestries. After making our way past the riches of the East and stealing a few photographs, we made our way to the final attraction: an “all-you-can-drink” Tsingtao beer bar. (The “all-you-can-drink” clause equated to around six pitchers per group, much to the disappointment of my classmates). Afterwards, we prepared to exit when we discovered a most intriguing advertisement.
Ecstatic, we each partook in purchasing our share of ice-cream, and the taste was eloquently fantastic and just 不可思议 (bu4ke3si1yi4 = unbelievable). Coupled with the chocolate, true dairy, and sugary cone, the ice-cream proved delectable!
|And we board the bridge longer than the Causeway|
|We excitedly spend fifty minutes on a bus for no reason other than to cross over|
|Panorama shot of the brewery entrance|
|Matthew with good ole Dionysus|
|A description on ye ole Dionysus|
|Facts about Tsingtao beer|
|The three delicacies of Qingdao. Tsingtao beer, Gala, and the Beach|
|Outside of the actual brewery...not the museum section.|
|Some of the original German facilities|
|All the different types of Tsingtao beer|
|The Tasting Area|
|The wonderful taste of honey roasted peanuts...and the beer was good too I guess|