IN the hot season, there’s nothing better than kicking back with a cold one.
While Europeans still consume more beer on average, the surge in popularity and production of beers in Asia is notable. Most of these are light, crisp beers that are perfect for the tropics and for some travelers, beer-drinking is as much part of the experience of the region as seeing the temples, the markets and other attractions.
This smooth, hoppy beer from Singapore was first brewed back in 1932. It remains a popular brand, available throughout Singapore, and is also the country’s first locally brewed beer. These days, Tiger comes in variants such as Radley, Crystal and White for a more premium experience. A Tiger is a fabulous addition to dining at a hawker food stall.
Bintang Bir Pilsener, Indonesia
If you’ve sat on a beach anywhere in Indonesia, you’ve no doubt sucked down a Bintang at some point. If you haven’t, you would have at least seen a backpacker in a Bintang shirt. While it’s decidedly popular amongst tourists, the Indonesians like their national beverage too – something the name should tell you; Bintang means star in Indonesian. It’s 4.7 alcohol and easy on the palate – perfect for the tropics.
Bia Hoi, Vietnam
This light lager is foamy and light, making it dangerously easy to chug down in hot weather. Bia Hoi is generally consumed in bustling street corners or stalls; keep a lookout for people drinking glasses of golden liquid on plastic chairs – it could be a Bia Hoi corner. The beer is brewed daily and is made to be consumed quickly. Bia Hoi spots are also often good places to grab a cheap, tasty Vietnamese meal.
San Miguel Pale Pilsen, Philippines
The first San Miguel was produced in Manila in 1890 thanks to a grant from Spain, hence the Spanish name. At a solid five percent of alcohol content, the beer is the most popular in the Philippines and oftentimes, you need only order a “Pale” and you’ll be understood by waiters and bar staff across the country.
India’s famed beer was first launched in 1978. Kingfisher remains the top selling beer in the country and is found almost everywhere. A pale gold, clean and refreshing, it’s considered a fine accompaniment to curries and other spicy dishes.
Angkor Beer, Cambodia
Aptly named, Angkor Beer is an ubiquitous name in Cambodia. It’s been churned out since the 1960s and remains a hoppy, 5.5 percent experience. The ultimate tourist experience is to imbibe a few after a day spent exploring the Angkor temples.
Everest Beer, Nepal
If you’re looking for something to down after a long day’s trek, Everest Beer will probably be your choice. As a service for climbers, you might even see porters trudging up the mountains with crates of beer on their back. For something more balanced and a little fizzy, the Everest Premium Lager Beer was introduced in 2003.
BeerLao is made not just with malt, but also with rice, to lend it a light, crisp flavour. It’s largely considered by tourists to be one of the best beers in Asia, and some have even helped the brewery distribute the beers overseas. It’s also considered a good palate cleanser and partner to Laotian cuisine.
Pronounced “Qing-dao”, this Chinese beer may now be a nationalist symbol but owes its existence to German settlers who founded it in 1903. Today the flagship beer is 4.7 percent alcohol and the recipe has been reworked somewhat to contain more rice than mash. Tsingtao is the best selling Chinese beer in the US.
Read about other unique Asian beverages here: http://www.travelwireasia.com/2013/04/10-unique-asian-beverages/
See this list of Australia’s top 10 beers here: http://www.travelwireasia.com/2011/10/australias-top-10-beers/