Black Yak brewers grab a silver medal
Brewed with highland barley and black caramel malts, Shangri-La Brewery’s Black Yak is a dark beer with a hint of chocolate and roasted coffee beans. The intriguing name and robust taste have drawn crowds at beer festivals around China, and more recently won a top accolade in Europe.
Black Yak won the silver medal in the Bohemian-Style S ch warz bi er category at the recent European Beer Star 2016, the company announced last week in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province.
The brewery is run by an ethnic Tibetan team and a German brewmaster in Yunnan’s Shangri-La. Mixing traditional recipes with a 21st-century craft twist, the beers are made with Tibetan highland barley, pure Himalayan mineral water, fine German hops and Belgian malts.
Songtsen Gyalzur, CEO and founder of Shangri-La Beer, attended the Nov 9 award ceremony at BrauBeviale in Nuremberg, Germany. He says that Shangri-La Beer is very proud of the award as “it is the aim of every ambitious master brewer to win a medal at the European Beer Star”.
He launched the company after returning from abroad in 2015, eager to put his education to work for his community. He had developed an affinity for local craft beers while in Europe, and realized that there was nothing like that in his home region.
“We support and employ local Tibetan orphans,” he says. “These young adults are taught of management, technical and social skills while being paid above average wages. All of these things help create our success as an upcoming Chinese craft brewery. We aim to be leaders in quality beer and community growth.
“This year it has more difficult than ever to win a medal in the European Beer Star,” says Oliver Dawid, CEO of Private Brauereien Bayern, which has been organizing the competition since 2003. With 2,103 beers from 44 countries, the competition for one of the most sought-after prizes in the international brewing world recorded a record number of entries this year.
The competition is driven by the 124-strong jury of experts, who assess the beers in a blind tasting according to the same purely sensory criteria as a consumer would: color, smell, flavor, aromatic profile and overall impression. This year, the jury included master brewers, beer sommeliers and acknowledged beer connoisseurs from 30 countries.
The award is given to particularly authentic beers with lots of character as well as commitment to the traditional European style of brewing.
“The European Beer Star has enabled us to again increase public awareness of the wide variety of great, hand-crafted beers,” says Dawid.
Top: Songtsen Gyalzur (second from left), CEO and founder of Shangri-La Beer, at the award ceremony in Germany. Above: Shangri-La Brewery’s Black Yak (third from right) wins a silver award.