Choice of beer in Asia

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Viewing 6 posts - 16 through 21 (of 21 total)

  • Michael Allen

    Hi Canuklad,

    Thanks for your reply and the tantalising description of the beer being served.

    For craft beer in Hong Kong, some good choices would be Hoppy Junction in Wan Chai, Blue Supreme in Sheung Wan and The Globe in Central.

    On Kowloon side, TAP The Ale Project is a good choice.

    Local beers worth trying are Gweilo and Young Master (I prefer the latter).

    The only thing I would caution is that drinking craft beer in Hong Kong can be very expensive. A glass (400+ml, not even a full pint) at Blue Supreme is going to set you back at least 110 HKD (around US$14), so with service charge you’re looking at laying down around US$50 for only three beers. Needless to say, I try to enjoy craft beer more when I travel in countries where it’s a bit more affordable. But it’s still worth trying these bars while you’re here if budget allows.

    If you have any friends with membership at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, they are increasing their offering of craft beer and have several local options on tap available at subsidised members prices!

    Feel free to email me michael.allen[at] if you need any more recommendations.


    Chris in Makati

    Here in Manila – the home of San Mig – it’s always been tough going for other beer producers to compete with the large incumbent players, San Miguel and Asia Brewery.

    Fortunately, the last few years have seen the emergence of a number of local craft beer producers, some good and some not so good. The standard seems to be improving and there are now a lot of bars in Manila that specialise in that kind of beer.

    One of my favorites is Joe’s Brew, which have their own bar in the Poblacion are of Makati, with the micro-brewery itself upstairs.

    For anyone looking for craft beer while visiting Manila I’d suggest a visit to The Perfect Pint in Greenbelt 2. They brew some of their craft beer on the premises, and some elsewhere. They must have at least twenty draft beers on tap behind the bar, and their food is good too.


    Cheers for the info Michael
    I’ll set out to find Hoppy Junction, although I might get a nose bleed venturing away from Lockhart Road and The white Stag : )
    Also sure I’ve stumbled into The Globe as I’ve made my way from SoHo to LKF

    Here in Manila – the home of San Mig – it’s always been tough going for other beer producers to compete with the large incumbent players, San Miguel and Asia Brewery.

    Everyday is indeed a school day !! I assumed that San Miguel was a Spanish beer and part of the globalization generation and just like Budweiser, Carlsberg , Heineken had infiltrated local markets like ship rats


    Hmm, most Asian beers are light, lager-type brews many of which appear to have been brewed with taste as an after-thought – if at all. This is particularly pronounced to me as I am very much a European dunkels bier (dark beer) afficianado – and very much enjoyed an exposure to these whilst doing a Swiss alpine and mountain railways tour last week with Senior Management (in between her ongoing treatment cycles).

    Consequently, the most agreeable beer drinking experiences I have had across Asia were on the Ulaanbaatar to Beijing Trans-Mongolian train which served correctly chilled (Czech) Budweiser Budvar in the restaurant car, followed by some great European beers at a beer emporium in between the Bell and Drum tower (since demolished…. Tant pis).

    When in Vietnam in Nov/Dec18, we both very much enjoyed Ha Noi Bia – as opposed to its rather more pedestrian Saigon Bia. This was a rather more malty and flavoursome brew which, in itself, summed up the difference between the north and the south. We very much preferred Ha Noi to its southern counterpart.


    Spending quite a bit of time in Vietnam and Thailand (and many years in a past life working in the booze business), Bia Ha Noi, Bia Sai Gon, Singha, Chang, and the odd Tiger now and again, have become my basic everyday “go to” beers.
    Additionally, in the past couple of years Beer Lao (from Laos) has also become a firm favourite.

    Some time ago I got hold of the findings from a Vietnamese Beer Research study which highlighted the role brand imagery is now playing in advancing “international” brands such as Heineken, Sapporo, Budewiser and (even Tiger) are having on beer choice, especially amongst the “younger” consumers.

    Having said this the two majors breweries (Habeco and Sabeco), along with other locals such as Halida (from Carlsberg) and Beer 33 continue to have between them a major share of the market along with the that of Bia Hoi, a traditional street beer, which is still a major part of everyday drinking culture, especially in North Vietnam.
    Apparently the Vietnamese are third place in terms of beer consumption in Asia, and are rapidly moving up the list.

    I know from travelling around Hanoi in particular that Micro Breweries are expanding at a tremendous rate (perhaps drawing from Bia Hoi culture) brewing not onlt traditional beers but also a host of fruit beers such as dragon fruit or passion fruit.
    One of the biggest beer bar chains, Vuvuzela, which used to focus mainly on traditional Belgian/German/Czech beers, Vuvuzela, is not only looking to widen its offering to more up market beers, but it’s also I believe looking at developing its own range of beers and introducing microbreweries into to some of it’s outlets

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    Tramor 01: Thank you for a very interesting insight into the Vietnamese bia market.

    Much nostalgia already of sitting around the lake opposite the central Post Office in Ha Noi and necking a Bia Ha Noi or two. And then the delightful experience of a couple of young Vietnamese ladies (we are talking 9 and 10 y/olds here) walking up to Senior Management and me and asking if we would mind if they practiced their English with us? Several hours later (their parents BTW were seated in an adjacent area) and I had comprehensively exhausted anything and everything that you could possibly talk about the life of a domestic English cat (spoiled rotten in the case of our Madam Fluffball). They were so lovely, we would (ceteris paribus) go back for the experience of meeting up with them again.

    Having discovered how lip-smackingly delicious Vietnamese food is, I also chanced upon Vietnamese coffee and came back with several kg of different types from Anan Coffee who have quite a few outlets across the capital. The chocolatey notes are pretty much unique. I’ve almost used up my stock by now.

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