Brian Vandenbroeks Review of Yanjing
  • Brian Vandenbroeks Review of Yanjing

    The production of Asian beer has gone through a real upswing in recent years. This upswing is a reflection of Asia overtaking Europe and north America in its consumption of beer. One result of this increase in beer production is the appearance of Asian beer on shelves here in north America. Walk through the aisles of a well stocked beer store and you’ll see more and more Asian beer on the shelves. Not only are there Chinese and Japanese beers, but there are beers from Singapore, Vietnam, and Singapore. 

    Somehow these beers share common traits despite hailing from such a wide variety of locales. Watching the English dubbed commercial for Yanjing is more than a little reminiscent of commercials for beers like Budweiser or Coors. The commercial boasts of how Yanjing offers refreshing taste apparently originating from natural mineral water. There’s some mention of a “green food label,” but no mention of its importance in the production of the beer.

    Searching for information on this brewery and its beer proves challenging  considering its increasing availability across Asia, Europe, and the English speaking world. Yanjing started production in 1980 in Beijing. Visiting Yanjing’s website will tell you how they’re the number one beer in China and how the company built up in twenty years to a level it took other breweries a century to reach. You can also learn how the brewery came to Canada to build its brand here as well.

    Unfortunately there isn’t much else to tell us anything meaningful about Yanjing. To that end, we’ll move on to the review. Yanjing, like many lagers is a pale straw colored offering. Carbonation is pretty minimal. Head is fluffy and white, but retention is somewhat lacking. Aroma starts off strangely malty. What comes off as strange turns out to be a combination of malt, faint soapiness and cooked vegetables. Finish is lacking in hop presence.

    To start Yanjing has a modest amount of body to it for this style of lager. At first blush it seems rather rounded, even. Maltiness is present in a way reminiscent of a Helles, but lacking the biscuit of soda cracker profile you’d expect from this style of beer. Center is rounded, giving notes of sweet corn. Finish is short and sweet (literally) and lacking in dryness or hop character.

    Overall, 5.2 out of 10. The whole thing is simply lacking. Lacking even in the character provided by the North American examples of the mainstream lager. Lager possesses a few flaws but not enough to stop you outright from finishing your beer. If you’re looking for a refreshing, inoffensive example of the style try the North American mainstream lagers instead.