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Beer Reviews

Haidilao Beers: Classic Lager & Weissbier

 

Everyone remembers their virgin Haidilao experience. A whirlwind of exceptional service, fiery Sichuan spice, sometimes even a surprise spectacle of noodle dance performance – it’s a riot of flavours, laughter and sensations. Haidilao doesn't just offer a meal; it's an experience. This commitment to going the extra mile is why the chain has exploded in popularity, becoming not only China's hotpot titan but a recognisable name across Asia.

 

 

Given the Chinese love for refreshing beer, it’s unsurprising that Haidilao would develop it’s own house brand beer. A few years ago, Haidilao launched their own line of beers, initially available exclusively to diners. But recognising the demand, they've since expanded distribution to Chinese supermarkets and e-commerce sites, making them available for home enjoyment.

 

 

The people who developed the brews are the well-known Taiwanese craft beer pioneers, Sunmai (金色三麥) which quickly established itself as a major player in the burgeoning Taiwanese craft beer scene by 2010. They're known for their commitment to high-quality ingredients and innovative brewing techniques, while also embracing a distinctly Asian aesthetic in their branding. 

 

 

The beers are brewed in Mainland China using a range of imported Australian and German barley malt alongside German hops. These beers add a unique layer to a brand already overflowing with personality.

First up, we’ll taste the Haidilao Classic Lager, which appears to be a basic malt lager that promises a more familiar drinking experience. Then we’ll try the Haidilao Weissbier, a Bavarian German-style wheat beer described to offer a softer, more approachable mouthfeel with fruitier characteristics.

Haidilao Classic Lager ( 海底捞经典大麦) 5.0% ABV – Review

 

Nose: Rich, sweet and expressive, more similar to a pale ale than a commercial lager. Tons of vibrant sweet yuzu, grapefruit, followed by hints of caramel and roasted malt. There's a subtle floral note in the background.

Palate: Medium-bodied texture with a super balanced profile, super easy to drink. A lovely dryness opens up to richer malty flavours – a touch of cereal sweetness, light breadiness, and a hint of yeastiness, which as I sip, the maltiness intensifies slightly along with Marmite and a touch of soy sauce that linger pleasantly. Just a bit of bitter citrus pith.

Finish: The finish is fairly clean and refreshing, retaining a lingering yeastiness and those subtle Marmite notes. There's a lingering touch of that citrusy lager freshness and dryness that rounds out the experience nicely.

 

My Thoughts:

 

I'm really impressed with this lager! It boasts the bright, refreshing qualities I crave in the style, but with an unexpected depth of maltiness that's makes it so much more flavoursome than a typical Chinese lager. It’s also very easy to drink albeit with a touch of grapefruit pith which hints at the hop presence.

The refreshing quality and richer malt flavours make this a perfect pairing for a hearty fiery ma la hotpot. I can immediately see how this is a perfect match to a Haidilao session.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Score/Rating Scale :

  • 9-10 : Exceptional, highly memorable, 10/10 would buy if I could.
  • 7-8 : Excellent, well above most in its category, worth considering buy-zone.
  • 4-6 : Good, okay, alright; a few flaws, but acceptable; not bad, but not my personal preference; still worth trying, could be a buy if the price is right.
  • 1-3 : Not good; really did not enjoy; wouldn't even recommend trying.
  • 0 : Un-scored, might be damaged, new make, or very unusual.

Haidilao Weissbier (海底捞德式小麦) 5.0% ABV – Review

 

Nose: Delightfully complex. It opens with a creamy sweetness but quickly unveils an exotic savoury side reminiscent of five-spice braised pork, with aromatic coriander seed, and a touch of bright orange peel.

Palate: Amazingly velvety texture with substantial mouthfeel- a layer of dense foam adding a luxurious feel. Opens with lots of indistinct cereal notes, a prominent roasted corn sweetness countered by a light citric dryness and a hint of pepper against a backbone of roasted barley flavour.

Finish: Medium length, clean, leaving a distinct roasted barley note that lingers pleasantly.

 

My Thoughts:

 

This is a Weissbier with a twist – it’s more complex and exotic in character compared to other commercial wheatbeers, definitely reminding me of the spice-forward character of a Belgian witbier.

This one is slightly less refreshing and crisp than the Haidilao Classic Lager, but the substantial richness and thick mouthfeel plays off well paired against typical Sichuan or Haidilao fare. There’s barely any hop bitterness I could detect here, which also likely appeals to those who do not enjoy very hoppy beers.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Score/Rating Scale :

  • 9-10 : Exceptional, highly memorable, 10/10 would buy if I could.
  • 7-8 : Excellent, well above most in its category, worth considering buy-zone.
  • 4-6 : Good, okay, alright; a few flaws, but acceptable; not bad, but not my personal preference; still worth trying, could be a buy if the price is right.
  • 1-3 : Not good; really did not enjoy; wouldn't even recommend trying.
  • 0 : Un-scored, might be damaged, new make, or very unusual.

@CharsiuCharlie