Asian beers are great thirst quenchers. Beer has been popular in Asia for more than a century, dating from the heyday of Western colonialism. Since much of Asia is hot, their beer style tends to be quaffable light lagers designed to cool down both your body and palette. Crisp and cleansing, these beers have almost no aftertaste (often evaporating right off your tongue), so they are perfect for refreshing the palate after eating spicy or oily dishes from their indigenous regions. Plus, they are great with Western summer fare, such as barbecued ribs, chicken and burgers.
There are many choices brews from all over Asia available in Canada. Here are some to help beat the heat.
• Asahi Super Dry (Japan)
Japanese brewers studied beer-making in Germany in the late nineteenth century, so their beer is quite Teutonic in style -- crisp, dry, golden lagers that are well suited to both delicate and fried foods such as sushi and tempura. Our favourite, Asahi, is light-bodied with a clean, dry finish and fruity, grainy nose. It's also available in tall cans -- which are perfect for sharing.
• Tsingtao (China)
Western traders introduced European-style lagers to China in the middle of the nineteenth century. The Tsingtao Brewery was founded in 1903 by German settlers in Qingdao, China. The beer is made with the finest ingredients, such as spring water from Laoshan (a mountain area famous for the purity of its water) and Canadian barley. Tsingtao's malty flavour and well-hopped character (it's very light and dry with a touch of bitterness) make it a terrific, food-friendly choice.
• Tiger Beer (Singapore)
Established in 1930 in a partnership with Heineken, this Singaporean beer has a similar character to the Dutch. Made from European and Australian barley, German hops and a special strain of yeast cultured in Holland just for them, Tiger is a very smooth, easy-drinking beer with a spicy hop nose and crisp, clean aftertaste. It's ideal for washing down shrimp and chicken satays or spicier Asian fare.
• Singha Lager (Thailand)
This full-bodied, German-style lager made with 100 per cent barley malt is one of the richest beers in Asia. It's fruity and spicy with a touch of sweetness and lemon, cinnamon and floral notes. With a lively body and crisp, hoppy finish, Singha complements Thai cuisine beautifully.
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