Living in China. Counterfeit Tsingtao.

I have heard about counterfeit beer, but never experienced it until yesterday.

At the end of my afternoon walk I stopped at a cafe and ordered a beer to cool off. It was a place I’ve been dozens of times. I like it because it is close to home, is on a busy sidewalk, and the beer is usually cold.

I took a sip and immediately knew something was not right. The beer tasted like shit. I don’t have the vocabulary to describe the vile flavor. At first I thought I might have been getting the flu or a cold. Being ill can influence how things taste.  

I looked at the bottle and everything seemed to be OK, so I took a couple more sips. Decided the beer was definitely bad. But was it a random bad bottle or something else? I poured it out into the street and ordered another.

The second bottle was served and it tasted fine. I compared the two bottles and noticed the placement of the label on the neck of the bad bottle was significantly lower than the neck label on the good bottle.

The beer cooler was next to the w.c. in the cafe. I walked over and looked in it. Sure enough, there was a row of bottles with the low neck label sitting next to several rows of correctly labeled Tsingtao. Clearly someone at the cafe knew they had two kinds of Tsingtao.

I said something to the waitress, but got nowhere because of language problems.

By this time I was becoming paranoid that the bad beer was somehow toxic. I felt my stomach churning and my head beginning to ache. So I paid my bill and rushed home where Sea could take care of me had I been poisoned. Fortunately it was all in my head. I didn’t get sick.

I don’t know what to do about the counterfeit Tsingtao. I know I will never return to the cafe where it was served.

About Charles Kirtley

Have been living in SE Asia and China since 2007. I have an opinion on most every subject, and don't mind sharing them. Lover and collector of worthless facts.
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