The 2011 Qingdao International Beer Festival will be held August 13-28 at the Qingdao International Beer City near Shilaoren in Laoshan district. This year marks the 21st anniversary of the festival. Keeping with tradition in the Year of the Rabbit, the 2011 Qingdao International Beer Festival official mascot is a cartoon rabbit named Duo Duo (朵朵).

The scene of the beer festival is Qingdao Beer City near the intersection of Qingdao’s Haier Lu and Xianggang Dong Lu. The address for the Qingdao Beer City is 195 Xianggang Lu, Laoshan district, Qingdao (青岛国际啤酒城, 香港中路195号). The Qingdao Beer City has been downsized this year as there is some construction on the grounds, but the city government reports that there will be 17 pavilions for beer drinking covering an area of 30,000 square meters.

Tickets for entrance to the Qingdao Beer City are available at the gate for 10 yuan (RMB) before 3 pm, and 20 after then.

Also, new this year: the participation of Beck and Miller as well as beers from the Czech Republic (home of Budvar). Returning brands made in China include Tsingtao, Budweiser, Carlsberg, Heineken, Kirin and Asahi. Long time Chinese bar beers Tiger and Corona will also be on hand.

What to Expect

As usual at the Qingdao Beer Festival, there will be carnival games, rides, costumed mascots, and vendors using the gaudiest costumes and loudest music at their disposal to attract punters. There will be beer drinking contests as everyone on the grounds imbibes glasses, mugs, and pitchers of beer in a perfect storm of ganbei culture. Combined with drunken public karaoke on big stages with performances by dancers and singers in every tent, this is the perfect place for revelers who, in the words of the late Frank Zappa, “Seek the path to the sudsy yellow nozzle of their foaming nocturnal parametric digital whole-wheat inter-faith geo-thermal terpsichorean ejectamenta”. Previous experience suggests that drinking beer at the Qingdao Beer Fest is an experience worth writing home about.

The Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony takes place on August 12 at Tiantai Stadium. It will be televised throughout China on CCTV and broadcast live in Qingdao on QTV. Tickets for the ceremony are 280 – 2380 yuan (RMB). Performers scheduled to appear include Chinese pop stars Wang Lihong, Chen Huilin (Kelly Chen), former Super Junior star Han Geng, Wang Feng, and CCTV host Da Niu. There will be dancers and singers, capped off by a huge fireworks display. The closing ceremony follows the same typical festival pomp and circumstance and a fireworks show.

Tips for a Better Experience at the 2011 Qingdao International Beer Festival

  • Feel free to strike up innocuous friendships with perfect strangers who would like nothing more than to get drunk with you and then part ways forever. Or not.
  • Go on a weekday when the crowds are smaller. Less people means shorter lines at the WC.
  • Eat well to soak up all the beer, which goes very well with meat on a stick, aka chuanr, on sale along with other Chinese food all around the fest.
  • Ganbei with the World!

Qingdao Beer Festival Coaster

Tsingtao Beer

Qingdao Transportation and Accommodation for the 2011 Qingdao Beer Fest

Beer City is in the far east of the metropolitan Qingdao area, in Laoshan district right next to the Old Stone Man Beach, aka Shilaoren. Getting to and from the Beer Fest may pose a challenge unless you stay within walking distance. The area around Beer City is usually restricted and some streets are completely closed off. Taxis in Qingdao can be hard to come by during the summer tourist season, and the situation just gets 8 times worse around the Beer Fest. It’s probably best to avoid rush hours if you are trying to catch a cab in the downtown area. Hotels downtown are usually sure fire bets for hiring a ride. Buses along Donghai Lu on the 317 are worth the ride. Other routes that stop near Beer City and Shilaoren are 321, 104, 125, and 304, all of which run along Hong Kong Road and stop near Jusco and Carrefour.

Finding a hotel in Qingdao: from the cheap and cheerful chains like Home Inn and Jinjiang Inn to the top of the line Crowne Plaza, Shangri-la, Intercontinental, Le Meridien and everything in between, find your territory and stake out a place either in eastern Qingdao near Beer City, downtown around May 4th Square, or somewhere in between such as near Qingdao University and the Mai Dao area. For those who’d like to stay on the complete opposite end of town from Beer City but in a very cool old hostel, there are 2 decent options: Kai Yue Old Church Lounge and Old Observatory Youth Hostel, both in the old town. A great place to stay might be near the old Tsingtao Brewery on Beer Street (aka Dengzhou Lu, the ancestral home of Tsingtao Beer), though it’s a bit of a drive from the Beer City. Check out for good deals on flight and hotel packages for the Qingdao Beer Fest. Check out a list of some accommodation options in Qingdao below.

Contact Info For Hotels In Qingdao:

Near Beer City

  • Sophia International
    217 Xianggang Dong Lu / 香港东路217号
  • Kylin Best Western
    197 Xianggang Dong Lu / 香港东路197号
  • Home Inn
    22 Xiang Gang Dong Lu / 香港东路22号

Downtown CBD

  • Crowne Plaza
    76 Xianggang Zhong Lu / 香港中路76号
  • Shangri-La
    9 Xianggang Zhong Lu / 香港中路9号
  • Haitian
    48 Xianggang Xi Lu / 香港西路48号
  • Grand Regency
    110 Xianggang Zhong Lu / 香港中路110号
  • Intercontinental
    98 Aomen Lu / 澳门路98号
  • Le Meridien
    112 Yanji Lu / 延吉路112号
  • Qingdao Hotel
    66 Xianggang Zhong Lu / 香港中路66号

Near Beer Street

  • Home Inn
    54 Dengzhou Lu / 登州路54号

Old Town

  • Kai Yue International Youth Hostel (Old Church Lounge)
    31 Jining Lu / 济宁路31号
  • Old Observatory
    21 Guanxiang Er Lu / 观象二路

Relevant Links:
Qingdao Beer Fest Official Website
Qingdao Beer City on Google Maps
Impressions of Qingdao Beer Festival

Photo Credits @ Steve Price, Wen, Qingdao Beer City

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