I bought this six-pack of Tsingtao the previous weekend and didn’t actually get around to it until this weekend and I must say, my first experience of Tsingtao back when I was in my college and post college days were largely “Eh.” “What does that mean?” you might ask. Well, I think that any college student who was bootstrapped for cash and who ended up buying Tsingtao or more commonly Natty Ice (or Light) as cheap booze to get drunk off of would have the same feeling about it. “Eh, it does the job but nothing to really write home about.”
Fast forward to several years after wherein I decided to come back to it to give my official review on this blog, my opinions have changed since then. In college, I only had access to booze to the point that my student loans could afford me and it wasn’t much, might I add. So now that I actually do have a source of income and have had the opportunity to try various different beers from the mass produced variety up to the cream of the crop IPA’s, craft brews, and micro brews, my opinion of Tsingtao will actually be a bit more modest than the “Eh” feeling that I had back in college.
Tsingtao is a lot like Kirin Ichiban minus the bite. It goes down smooth, it’s surprisingly malty from initial contact all the way down the gullet, and it’s moderately fizzy. I was surprised to read on the label that I’m actually only getting 10.7 fluid oz (ounce) per bottle and instantly, I felt jipped out of my $7.98 plus tax and CRV that I paid for at the Asian supermarket. I was expecting a standard 12 fl oz and at that price point, it’s ok. Not great, not decent, just ok. But at 10.7 fluid oz per bottle, $7.98 doesn’t seem like much of a bargain. In fact, they overcharged me and their normal retail price is like $10.99, if I recall correctly, which is unbelievably high, for an imported product that is like the Budweiser of China. In other words, it’s a mass produced beer, very common, and thus, shouldn’t cost me so much but yet they did.
The ABV wasn’t actually listed anywhere on the bottle or the carrying pack that this came with so upon a brief Google search, Beer Advocate actually says that this is rated at 4.8% ABV. Wow. I wasn’t expecting that especially when it was so smooth and crisp. It’s frickin’ higher than PBR! Holy crap! But because each bottle only had 10.7 fluid oz, it took me 4 bottles to get a good buzz going, when it could have been 2 bottles on an empty stomach.
All in all, if the prices were lower, I wouldn’t mind buying Tsingtao again. I actually rather liked the malty taste but at that same price point, I could easily get a better quality beer and get more fluid ounces per bottle at that like the Red Horse Beer which admittedly, the fluid ounce on that one was at 11.2 fluid oz, which is just 0.8 fluid oz shy of a full 12 fl oz bottle, which is the standard but the alcohol content in that one was also quite a bit higher so it evened out in the end. In light of having tried Tsingtao in this review, and at the same price point, I would definitely choose Red Horse Beer over Tsingtao if the 99 Ranch in Alhambra decided to do another sale at this same price point.