Sake is the most famous Japanese alcohol made from fermented rice. These are all the things that I wondered about while drinking beer in Southeast Asia, but never knew! Little did I know that ANY of the places you mentioned had a thriving craft beer scene.
Then there are the more famous spirits like Sangsom, a rum that stands for beach parties and “buckets”. As expected, the cubes are drunk from an ice bucket topped with Red Bull, Cola and whiskey. Beer Lao has to be one of the most sought after beers in Southeast Asia, mostly by backpackers, and while it’s a really good beer, it’s hard to escape too. Personally, I get bored of Beer Lao after the first day or two and since it is said to have 99% share of the Lao beer market, there aren’t many options left to choose from. But in a global comparison it only achieved a gold quality award with Monde Selection, so that the Philippines have around nine beers on par and some better. So if I get bored of regular Lao beer, there is Beer Lao Black, brewed like a roasted malt.
Hitachino Nest Ale White 22oz Btl
Then there is Beer Lao Gold, which is more expensive but not much more exciting. Large bottles cost around $ 1, so they’re at least cheap. To make matters even more exciting, he always spent a night or two in Lao Lao, known as “the cheapest alcohol in the world,” another 40% rice whiskey similar to the Thai Lao Khao next door.
In addition to beers, there is also a large selection of regionally produced rums and spirits. These are best found on islands, where we also find many moonlight-like “tuba” palm wines or the stronger Lambanog rice whiskey, which is made locally from the juice of coconut trees. I sincerely hope this doesn’t make me sound like a heavy drinker, but I probably drink every night and many days when I travel. But at the same time, I don’t drink as much to get drunk and I feel like I’m a little bit smart when it comes to alcohol.
Sapporo Nama Black Label Beer (japanese)
While these regional influences should really stand out above the rest of Taiwan, the range just doesn’t match that in the respective countries. There were a handful to choose from and I honestly got the coolers ready in a couple of days. There is also the problem that Chu-His also do not have the same alcohol content. Otherwise, “Taiwan Beer” is the big brand locally and a pretty standard beer. But they bring something very unique to Asia with the Taiwanese fruit beers which are actually not that strong (2%) and I couldn’t even fool a fanfan who said they were awful. The dominant brewery in Myanmar with a market share of approx.
For something more masculine, I’d probably go for an Anchor Strong, which is 8.8% alcohol and offers a little more value for $ 5 a can. Then there’s the Singapore Sling, which sells for $ 30 in the Raffles Long Bar. On top of that, Singapore Slings are terrible and the Singaporeans would never drink them. I know most people will disagree with me on this, but of the Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines would come out on top for me. This is mainly due to the San Miguel beers, which have a monopoly in the country but have at least nine prime beers, all of which have been awarded gold by the Monde Selection.
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This is the most expensive on the list to date, almost double. So for Indonesia, I’m focusing more on the tourist island of Bali, which is not just a predominantly Hindu island, but the most likely travel destination any of you can visit. Bali is also exempt from many mainland alcohol restrictions, and while prices remain high, there will be a wider range and choice of alcohol everywhere. Anyway, I don’t really like the quality of the alcohol.
The almost perfect Pale Pilsen is also one of the few beers in the world that has received the highest Grand Gold Quality Award. The Philippines just make really good beer, and that’s not really known in Asia. These nine also vary with roasted stouts, beers, flavored lager beers and enough variety to delight a long journey time. Two of my personal favorites are San Miguel Pale Pilsen and Red Horse Extra Strong because I like horses.
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Then there are shelves with sake, shochus, fruit liqueurs and whiskeys in front of the fridges or nearby. I could write a whole post on it, but I’ll leave it here. Regardless, it helps make Japan great in every way. The drink that unites the people of Vietnam, Bia Hoi is a light draft beer that was left behind by the French along with the Hommel Brewery, which soon became the Hanoi Brewery in 1954. The beer is a Vietnamese signature and a soft, watery beer.
Otherwise Carslberg would be the big name, although Carlsberg Special Brew is like a drink for children here with 8.8%. But there is a bright part of Malaysia where Langkawi is a tax-free alcohol haven and beer is cheaper than water. Given that I’ve lived in Bangkok for four of the last five years and in a rural area of Thailand for the last year, I have a good knowledge of local spirits. I’ve had a fair portion of it and given the repetition, that’s one of the reasons I travel a lot. But despite its not-so-great variety, Thailand has some great high-end spirits that keep me going. My personal favorite would be Blend 285, a rich blended malt whiskey that is distilled like scotch and aged in oak barrels.
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I once found something in a local bar that is permeated by lizards. Otherwise I stick to imported wines in Laos, as these are a lot cheaper than the ones next door in Thailand. I think China really should do better when it comes to alcohol, but that may have more to do with my own tastes and obsession with Baijiu. Baiju is more or less a liquor distilled from sticky rice or wheat and barley if found in the northern parts. But the taste is very different from other rice whiskey in Asia, it is more aromatic and the potency is around 50% alcohol, which is perhaps too much for a casual drink.
Beer Hanoi in Hanoi, Beer Saigon in Saigon and so on. Another favorite would be the 333 beer, or ba-ba-ba as it is known locally. But given the French influences from Vietnam, I was really hoping to do better. Aside from the beers, I didn’t really get into the local spirits too much.
Surprisingly, some of the beer bottles have a unique cap that can be opened like a beer can. While Singapore is without a doubt one of my favorite countries to eat, the beer and alcohol are a bit of a letdown. I remember arriving on my last visit to Singapore and walking straight to the corner shop. I bought two cans of beer, a 33cl bottle of cider, and a pack of Doritos, and it all cost me about 15. It’s more expensive than any other country I’ve been to.
On the colonial west side of Malaysia, like in Penang or Kuala Lumpur, alcohol is easy to find. It is also sold cheaper by Chinese stores rather than Muslims. Alcohol can be more difficult to track down on the east coast, along the South China Sea, and I once had to search an entire island in the Perentines to find an area where alcohol wasn’t actually banned.
The prices in Singapore are notoriously high and the alcohol price is simply ridiculous. Hence, it is one of the few countries I would visit without drinking a lot. Again, this has to do with a lack of variety, and while they have a handful of random beer cans, very few are of great excitement. The big brand in Singapore is obviously Tiger Beer, which can be found all over Asia and is a decent beer, but I can find it anywhere. Then I got annoyed by their new Tiger Radler, a lemon-flavored beer that was only 2% alcohol, after spending money similar to a 70cl bottle of Mandalay rum in Myanmar.
Feel free to add your own recommendations below. The beer is poured golden and has a medium-sized head. It is a crunchy lager with a slightly bitter taste. The beer produced in Ho Chi Minh City is produced under a red and green label. The red label is used for export and is supposed to be a bit stronger than the green label created for the locals. Interestingly, it’s not uncommon for locals to drink the beer with ice cubes.
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Most Japanese beers are not made with rice; They are made from grains like hops, malt, barley, corn, oats, and wheat, as are beers made around the world. However, Japanese breweries, including Asahi, Kirin, and Sapporo, make rice bearings that are light, dry, and crunchy, much like Budweiser and Coors. Rice doesn’t have the same enzymes as other grains commonly used in beer, so it produces a brew that isn’t as tasty.
- Some will be hideous, but others will not be so hideous.
- There were a handful to choose from and I honestly got the coolers ready in a couple of days.
- The light, hoppy and refreshing taste of this beer makes it easy to drink almost any time of the day.
- For something more masculine, I’d probably go for an Anchor Strong, which is 8.8% alcohol and offers a little more value for $ 5 a can.
- The drink that unites the people of Vietnam, Bia Hoi is a light draft beer that was left behind by the French along with the Hommel Brewery, which soon became the Hanoi Brewery in 1954.
- As expected, the cubes are drunk from an ice bucket topped with Red Bull, Cola and whiskey.
I remember ABC adding a welcome stout to the menu. As it is known for its Chinese and Japanese influences, this is also reflected in the availability of alcohol from imported beers. Unsurprisingly, the latter, the Japanese influences, are more likely to be found in mom-and-pop stores with familymarts and 7/11 in almost every block. So Taiwan’s high rating comes more from the availability of Japanese beers and spirits, as I almost always tend towards kirin beers, highballs chu-hi, and one cup sakes.
Like India, this may be due to British colonial influences in the region and here, too, Myanmar has a good understanding of whiskey. A personal favorite is the Grand Royal Whiskey, which is good in the long run, and something else. But their most famous spirit is Mandalay Rum, which miraculously won a Monde World Selection Award but only costs a few dollars for a large 70cl bottle. Again, the beers are decent but it can be hard to stop by the great Myanmar beer brand that is stuck everywhere. Another plus would be the small selection of imported beers from random Asian breweries.
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— Beer Writers (@nagbw) October 9, 2021
I never drink socially because I hate being sociable and I don’t really drink excessively because I enjoy the mornings too much. If I wake up at 6 in the morning it would be late. If I have a hangover, it will fade quickly if I’m busy, or the dog’s hair. This includes the price, the range and the variety of spirits and beers and of course the quality. And while I know I haven’t covered every Asian country yet, I will definitely update it when I get there.