Chinese football fans are boiling their beer before drinking it to warm them up while they enjoy the FIFA World Cup. It gets worse. Those who love nothing more than an ice-cold ale pulled straight off the tap should look away now: Chinese breweries and bars are also tipping fruit and spices into their brews – and even serving them out of teapots.
The hashtag #hotbeer has had over 419,900 views and counting on the social media platform as football and brewing fans share their own unique experiences adding citrus fruits, goji berries, spices, honey and cloves to their beverages.
Western social media platforms are banned in China, so the locals have been flooding their own platforms like Xiaohongshu with images of the drop. According to fans of hot beer, the heat elevates the flavour and creates a unique experience best enjoyed in the bitter cold and damp of a Chinese winter.
Writer, bartender and cocktail consultant Jacob Grier wrote that hot beer is not a new concept, having previously been consumed out of necessity rather than because of trends. ‘The idea seems strange today, but heated ale drinks were once staples of home and tavern life. They provided warmth on chilly nights and nutrition when meals were scarce,’ he wrote for The Atlantic.
‘The heat in taverns serving these drinks would have come from a fireplace around which stiffened, weary travelers would gather, warming up with a hot beverage of some sort. An ice-cold beer was probably the last thing they desired.’ China is not the only place where hot beer is growing in popularity, with tourists sharing images of the drink being served in European nations including Belgium and Poland.
The official Visit Poland tourism Facebook page has been spruiking hot beer since 2020. ‘Have you tried HOT BEER in Poland? It’s not just the heated beer, but it’s also infused with spices and flavours like honey, cinnamon, and cloves,’ they wrote.
‘A lot of European countries are very passionate about beer and have a lot of different kinds to offer, for example Germany of Belgium, and thus they want to enjoy every flavor, aroma, scent, that is given to them and will drink it at cellar or room temperature,’ the Kings of Brewing blog wrote.
Something Brewery tried to bring the trend to the United States in 2019, launching its own range of hot beer and posting: ‘We always added fruits, tea and cookies to the beer, so why don’t we change the temperature of the beer itself?’The response was swift and brutal, with a litany of GIFs mocking the product.
‘You can buy it in almost every restaurant and bar across Poland. It’s a perfect drink and a must-try beverage for tourists to enjoy during the cold Polish winter evenings, especially at Christmas.’