So initially, the plan here was to give each country it’s own individual beer review. As time has gone on, some countries only had a few to offer, while in others I didn’t get to try as many, and in some places they offered the same beers. So I’m going to go ahead and just list them all here with my review.
Vietnam: Vietnam may not be well known for it’s beer, but it’s actually got quite a good selection and they’re all cheap. There are a few national brands, and many imports with Heineken being the favorite, but the beer scene in Vietnam is pretty local. Many breweries are very local and only sell regionally. While I didn’t get to try any from the central region, I did get a wide range from the south and north.
Bia Saigon Special: Light sweet flavor with strong bitter after notes. 14,000 Dong (~$0.70) Found nationwide, hailing from Ho Chi Minh City.
(Image Missing :/)
Sabeco 333: Light with a musky flavor, with no distinct after taste. 16,000 Dong (~$0.75). Found nationwide hailing from Ho Chi Minh City.
Halida: Tastes like Budlight. Cool design though. 11,000 Dong (~$0.50). Originates from north Vietnam, and is now part of the Carlsberg group.
Bia Hai Phong: Light and crisp with a fruity flavor and a bitter, but not too hoppy bite, big bottle. Huge bottle at only 12,000 Dong (~ $.050). Found only near Hai Phong City and Cat Ba Island.
Bia Ha Noi: Light and clean. The taste is a little watery though. There is a mild bitter aftertaste. Found nationwide hailing from Hanoi.
Larue: Heavy beer. Slightly bitter and hoppy, but with a clean after taste and very filling. 15,000 Dong (~$0.75). Brewed by French colonialists in 1909 in the European style.
Viet Ha: Light beer, very light taste with a hint of lemon. It’s rather foamy. Reminds me of Keystone Light. Hailing from Hanoi, it’s aimed at middle-income drinkers who want an easy to drink beer.
Thailand: Like (most) any other country, Thailand likes its alcohol and has a fair selection of beer. I’ve gotten a chance to try a few and review them here. I believe that you can find some of these in US stores if they offer a wide selection. All the beers came in two sizes, regular and big at the prices of 32-35 BHT (~$1) and 55 BHT (~$1.5).
Chang: Medium lightness, not too bitter, slight citrus taste. Really good. It is a pale lager, brewed at 5.5% ABV. Chang is Thai for elephant, of which there are two on the logo.
Leo: Heavy and rich taste. Almost tastes like a pale-ale. It is a American Adjunct Lager, brewed by Boon Rawd Brewery at 5% ABV.
Singha: Lighter than Leo, but similar. Rich taste, very crisp, and bitter. It is a 5% ABV pale lager, also brewed by Boon Rawd Brewery. Singha is a powerful mythological lion of Bihari Hindu and Thai stories. It is the only brewery allowed to display the royal Garuda on the bottleneck.
Cheers: Decent Lager. Mild flavor, moderately bitter. Similar to a Bud-light, but it actually tastes good. This is an American Adjunct Lager at 5% ABV brewed by Thai Asia Pacific Brewery Company.
Cheers Malt and Riceberry Lager: Sweet, light and crisp. Slight bitter after-tones. Much better than the regular Cheers. This is a 5% ABV beer.
Siamsato: This is not actually a beer, I was surprised upon drinking it after opening. It is a beer brewed rice wine. At 8% ABV it’s not as strong as regular wine. It is a sweet, crisp and fruity white wine. Its decent and comes in a large bottle, but certainly a cheap wine. 35 BHT ($1)
Cambodia: I was really surprised at Cambodia’s selection of beer. They had quite a few craft style selections to choose from.
Kingdom Max: 6% ABV. Light tasting and very smooth. Not particularly bitter. It is considered a gold lager, and is brewed to German Purity standards – containing only water, yeast, hops and malt. Kingdom Breweries was founded in 2009 as Cambodia’s premiere Craft Brewery. ($0.50)
Kingdom Dunkel: 5% ABV. Smooth and heavy. Very complex, and well balanced flavors. Hints of caramel and chocolate with a hoppy finish. Slightly sweet. Brewed by Kingdom Breweries. ($1.10)
Kingdom Pilsner: 5% ABV. Light and fresh tasting. Light hoppiness with sweet citrus notes and a sweet honey finish. Moderate body, with a good mouth feel. Not overly carbonated. ($1.30)
Phnom Penh Lager: 5% ABV. Bitter, hoppy and light. Hints of citrus. A pale lager. Decent but not particularly noteworthy. Brewed by Phnom Penh Brewery Company. ($0.55)
Phnom Penh Stout: 7% ABV. Smooth with chocolate notes. It begins slightly sweet and malty, but ends with a crispness that can almost be called bitter. Deep brown in color, with a thick head. Very good quality. Brewed from Phnom Penh Brewery Company. ($0.65)
ABC Extra Stout: 8% ABV. Smooth with a sharp bitter taste with distinct notes of chocolate and coffee. Good mouth feel, and quite heavy. Good drink to have along with a meal. Brewed by Archipelago Brewery Company. ($1.10)
Angkor: 5% ABV. Sharp and bitter bite. Watery mouth feel, and flavor does not linger long. Quickly becomes more palatable as the beer slightly warms. Very hoppy. Not the best, but nothing to complain about. Brewed by Cambrew Brewery. ($0.50)
Angkor Premium Extra Stout: 8% ABV. Very strong bite and a bitter, hoppy taste. Light hints of chocolate, with stronger overtones of vanilla and anise. Brewed by Cambrew Brewery. ($1.10)
Cambodia Lager: 5% ABV. The taste is a bit heavier and foamy. Not particularly sharp tasting, but not overly watery. It’s acceptable, but not amazing. Reminds me of a Keystone Light. Typical mass produced lager. Brewed by Khmer Brewery. ($0.55)
Indonesia: Despite having the largest Muslim population in the world, and being a Muslim country via the government, you can still get yourself plenty of alcohol with little to no issue here. Each island has it’s own regional beers, of which I only got on Bali, but Bintang is offered across all the islands.
Bintang Pilsner: Pilsner. Light tasting, with hint of citrus. Smooth and with little head. 4.7% ABV. Very average, but drinkable. 17,000 Rupiah (~$1.30)
Bali Hai: 4.85% – Draft Beer. Good strong, yet mellow drink. Good mouth feel. Thin body. Smells and tastes of malt, barley, and rice. High carbonation. 17,000 Rupiah (~$1.30)
Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka carries many of the standard beers you find in SEA, but it also has some wonderful local beers. Over here, they like them big and strong. Most varieties come in both large and small bottles, and well as regular strength and strong.
Lion Strong: 8.8% ABV. Lion Brewery Ceylon. Strong, heavy malt flavor. Smooth finish. Light carbonation. Medium hoppiness. 625 ML 310 Rupees (~$2.10)
Lion Stout: 8.8% ABV. Lion Brewery Ceylon. Strong, heavy malt flavor. Thick and rich. Subtle hints of chocolate. 625 ML 310 Rupees ($2.10)
General: These beers you can find just about anywhere in this region. The key distributer is Carlsberg.
Tiger Beer: This is actually a South Korean beer, but very popular in the region. Light tasting, with a hint of citrus and bitter after notes. I grabbed this one while in Vietnam. 18,000 Dong (~$0.80)
Anker Stout: 4.9% ABV. Thick and creamy. Very carbonated. Was decent and malty. I grabbed this one while in Bali. 19,000 Rupiah (~$1.40)
(Image Missing :/)
Carlsberg Special Brew: 8.8% ABV. Medium bodied lager. Decent finish with moderate carbonation. Hints of malt. Decent. I grabbed this one while in Sri Lanka. 310 Rupees (~$2.10)
Anchor: 4.7% ABV. A very nice light pilsner beer with a smooth finish and light, sweet taste. A rice beer. Supplied via our host in Columbo, Sri Lanka.