Qingdao is a seaside town approximately half way between Shanghai and Beijing, so it makes perfect sense to stop off here for a few days on our way between the two. The fact that Qingdao is the home of Tsingtao beer and currently hosting a beer festival is a coincidence, Mr Beet assures me.
Qingdao has that slightly seedy feel common to seaside towns everywhere. It’s a former German concession so it looks very European – you could easily be in Brighton, if you ignore the shark nets.
We concentrate on Qingdao’s most famous export, and visit the beer museum / brewery. You get to see the old and new equipment, taste free samples and learn why beer (and its “best mate” the peanut) are in fact health foods.
On our last night in town we visit the beer festival. The festival is enormous, and despite our suspicions that every backpacker in Eastern China would be there, we hardly saw any Westerners. In fact, Mr Beet and I are something of a tourist attraction and people ask for photos with us. The festival consists of huge beer tents, each with some kind of entertainment, plus a funfair. You can buy beer buy the glass, by the
pitcher or (Qingdao speciality) by the plastic bag.
Next stop Beijing!