This Taiwan-based Brewery Has a 'Tea-licious' Oolong IPA

By Ryan Gandolfo, October 24, 2019

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Beer of the Month’ is a regular series where our editors sample a unique craft beer. This month, our Guangzhou editorial team sampled Taiwan-based Sunmai’s Oolong IPA!

Craft beer meets one of China’s traditional teas this month as we sample Sunmai brewery’s Oolong IPA. As fans of ‘black dragon’ tea, we were stoked to find these suds on the shelves of our local Hema supermarket, standing out among a crowded and ever-growing selection of craft beers. 

At 5.7% ABV, this tea-infused brew has a session IPA vibe, offering malty and sweet notes with a slight oolong tea flavor. With a dirty golden color and a pleasant fragrance from bottle to glass, we’re pretty high on Sunmai’s tea-flavored craft beer. 

Since it is less bitter than the myriad American-style IPAs on the market, oolong IPA is a great choice for beer-lovers of every stripe; tea drinkers, on the other hand, might not love this boozy concoction.  

One look at the bottle and you’d notice the statue of liberty gracing the beer’s colorful label, with oolong tea leaves surrounding the iconic US sculpture, which was gifted by the French in the late 19th century. The label also includes a Chinese phrase, which loosely translates to “Oolong steeped in New York.”  

But of course, anyone familiar with the Taiwan-based brewery would know that it has been churning out decent suds since 2004. While we’d be quick to recommend giving the oolong IPA a try, Sunmai is arguably best known for their honey lager – a premium craft beer made with 100% Taiwan-produced longan honey. This also isn’t the brewery’s only venture into tea-based craft beers, with their osmanthus ale receiving much respect for its fragrant aroma and unique taste.

Oolong IPA can be purchased on Tmall for RMB30 a bottle.

Click here to read more ‘Beer of the Month.’

[Cover image via Ryan Gandolfo/That’s]

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