Wednesday, October 26, 2011

International Beer: Taiwan Beer

Refreshing beverage and cultural icon; Taiwan Beer (台灣啤酒, Táiwān Píjǐu, or 台啤, TáiPí) is perhaps the most iconic brand of the island nation for which it is named.  A great looking can and strong branding are great but can the beer behind the brand live up to the hype?
Brewed by the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation  began as a monopoly product but has remained the best-selling beer on the island in the era of free trade. one of the Taiwan's most recognized brands.

Taiwan Beer is an adjunct lager, which means it is diverges from the traditional ingredients of beer (barley malt, hops and water) to include rice as a supplement to the barley.  Adjuncts are very common in Asian countries where rice is far cheaper than barley.  Taiwan beer has a distinct flavour which is produced by the addition of locally grown ponlai rice during the fermentation process.

Taiwan Beer comes in three varieties. The original brew is sold in brown bottles with a cream-coloured label and in beautifully designed white cans bearing a recognizable blue and green design.
The Gold Medal brew, introduced in 2003, is sold in green bottles and cans with a white, red and green label. Both brews are 4.5% alcohol by volume and are regularly seen in Taiwan's convenience and grocery stores.

The newest Taiwan Beer, which is only found in bars and restaurants, Taiwan Beer Draft, is packaged in a  solid green bottle with no paper label. Designed to be sold fresh, is rarely seen in stores due to its early expiration date.

Adjunct lagers are frowned upon by beer purists who see the addition of cheaper ingredients as an unnecessary concession.  Adjunct lagers, however, are commonplace in the Asian beer industry and should be appreciated on their own merits.

The Oringinal Lager Pours a fizzy pale yellow with a little bit of a head.  The taste is similar to American macros (Budweiser, Coors etc.) but it has sweet malts and the uniqueness that produces a sweet & tart graininess   The beer has a light flavour and body which goes great with the local cuisine in Taiwan.
The Gold Medal brew is similar in flavour but somewhat smoother with more bitterness.

While nothing worth searching out in your home country, Taiwan beer's are thirst quenching and provide refreshment in Taiwan's constant humidity or confidence in the midst of Taipei's insomniac nightlife.

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