Beery good time in China

Revellers eat and drink at long tables (right) at the Qingdao International Beer Festival in Qingdao, China, an annual celebration of lager that looks similar to Germany's Oktoberfest. Celebratory events at the festival include a costume parade (abov
Revellers eat and drink at long tables (above) at the Qingdao International Beer Festival in Qingdao, China, an annual celebration of lager that looks similar to Germany's Oktoberfest.PHOTO: NYTIMES
Revellers eat and drink at long tables (right) at the Qingdao International Beer Festival in Qingdao, China, an annual celebration of lager that looks similar to Germany's Oktoberfest. Celebratory events at the festival include a costume parade (abov
Celebratory events at the festival include a costume parade (above) and marching band. Oktoberfest-like steins of draft lager are also served.PHOTO: NYTIMES
Revellers eat and drink at long tables (right) at the Qingdao International Beer Festival in Qingdao, China, an annual celebration of lager that looks similar to Germany's Oktoberfest. Celebratory events at the festival include a costume parade (abov
Celebratory events at the festival include a costume parade and marching band (above). Oktoberfest-like steins of draft lager are also served.PHOTO: NYTIMES
Revellers eat and drink at long tables (right) at the Qingdao International Beer Festival in Qingdao, China, an annual celebration of lager that looks similar to Germany's Oktoberfest. Celebratory events at the festival include a costume parade (abov
Celebratory events at the festival include a costume parade and marching band. Oktoberfest-like steins of draft lager are also served (above).PHOTO: NYTIMES

QINGDAO (China) • Music. Tourists. Traditional food. Long tables crammed inside huge tents. And beer - lots and lots of beer.

It is not Oktoberfest. It is the Qingdao International Beer Festival, China's largest celebration of lager.

If the festival looks like a certain German tradition, there is a good reason. The city of Qingdao is home to the similarly pronounced Tsingtao Brewery, which was founded by German settlers in this corner of Shandong province more than a century ago.

Since the festival started in 1991, the crowds have steadily increased. This summer's celebration, which ran for much of August, drew nearly 40,000 people on its busiest weekends.

A small army of bartenders and servers kept steins full and glasses clean and at the ready.

In addition to Tsingtao, foreign producers such as Budweiser and Carlsberg set up their own tents.

Inside, the scene was raucous: Performers lip-synced to patriotic Chinese songs, women in skimpy outfits auctioned off traditional Chinese calligraphy and more than one man felt the need to remove his shirt.

Locals come to enjoy the "re nao" atmosphere, a Mandarin term for "hustle and bustle" or "loud and chaotic". "Without beer, we don't have life in Qingdao," said Mr Zhao Chen, a local who took his extended family to the festival.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2017, with the headline 'Beery good time in China'. Print Edition | Subscribe