Black Yak brewers grab a sil­ver medal

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE | DINING - By MIKE PETERS

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.

PHOTOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

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.

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