There’s no doubt about it: beer is a very popular beverage around the world. The freshest claim that I could find for total liters of beer consumed per-person around the world comes from website InternationalBeerFest.com which says that, as of 2014, the top 25 beer-drinking countries tip back from a high of 147.8 liters per person (Germany), to a low of 58.2 liters per person (Romania). That’s a lot of beer! And that’s just 25 countries!
Filipinos like their beer as well. Wikipedia says that Filipinos drink about 20 liters of beer a year, per-person.
If you’re a beer drinker and you’re thinking about retiring to the Philippines or you are planning a visit here, you probably want to know what your beer options will be. Here at AH, we like to help (and drink beer), so I decided to put together a series of posts dealing with how Filipinos beer tastes.
It’s a tough job, I know. But I’m willing to do it for the good of humankind!
Filipino Beer Choices
Filipino brewer San Miguel has the beer market in the Philippines cornered. According to San Miguel, “SMB sells the dominant beer brands in the Philippines, with a total market share of 90% in 2012…” SMB brews and distributes some 11 beers as well as brewing and distributing Japanese beer Kirin locally.
Asia Brewery produces one local beer, Beer na Beer, according to Wikipedia (see above link), and brews and distributes several foreign branded beers as well. There is also a healthy, fledgling craft beer movement in the Philippines, which we’ll cover later.
Essentially though, if you’re going to grab some beers at your local sari-sari store, you’re going to probably come away with a San Miguel product. That’s why I decided to begin this series of blog posts with the “Big Papi” of Filipino beer: San Mig.
Let’s Start Tasting Already!
Super Dry was a bright amber color and generated a head when poured that quickly flattened to a thin line of foam. The head didn’t leave any foam “lacing” on the glass.
It had a hoppy, slightly strawish smell to it. It tasted watery and hoppy, crisp and slightly bitter on the finish. The finish lingered for a time and left my mouth a bit dry. It tasted like a slimmed-down version of the Pale Pilsen flagship beer. It would be a good choice to with greasy foods as the “dryness” and slight bitterness would cut through grease.
Flavored Beer: Apple
The second beer was one that I never knew existed until I saw it on the San Mig web site: San Miguel Flavored Beer: Apple. San Mig also makes a lemon-flavored beer but I did not see any on my local supermarket’s shelf. That’s a tasting for another time.
This beer says it’s 3% alcohol by volume. It was a dark gold color and had what I term a “soda head”, one that comes up when you pour it and then settles out very quickly.
This beer had a heavy artificial apple aroma and flavor, as can be imagined for beer with added “nature identical and natural flavors” as it says on the can. The aftertaste seemed to climb up the back of my throat and fill my mouth and nose with apple flavor and then just vanish. It left a chemical, medicinal taste behind that I found unpleasant.
San Miguel Zero
Neither statement is surprising as this light gold colored beer with almost no head is the most watery of all of the San Mig lineup.
It had an off, chemical type smell and foamed up in the mouth. The finish was a slightly metallic aftertaste that thankfully didn’t linger. I really did not enjoy this beer at all. In fact, it was so weak and odd tasting that I remarked to my wife that it tasted more like “suspicious water” than beer.
End of Part 1
This is the end of Part 1 of Filipino Beer: Tasting San Miguel. Part 2 and the rest of this series is still to come!
Disclaimer (also known as the “Cover Your Butt” section)
- I do not pretend to be a tasting expert. I don’t have any training in professional tasting and I am not a chef, gourmand or brew master.
- I recognize that taste is subjective and what I don’t like, you may enjoy. Let’s drink, not fight.
- These tastings aren’t exhaustive. I tried to keep them quick and concise.
- I did not and do not receive any compensation or consideration from anyone for doing this.
- I bought all of the beers I tasted either at mainstream supermarkets or local sari-sari stores and I paid retail prices for them.
- I drank all of the beers listed “Filipino style”, i.e., cold from the fridge and poured into a highball glass. I don’t like ice cubes in my beer so while that is also “Filipino style”, I didn’t add any ice to the beers.
- I didn’t eat or smoke while tasting the beers except for the San Mig Pale Pilsen. I was eating Nova chips while drinking that. But I drink it every day so I don’t believe it skewed my tasting.
- Some of these I tasted with my wife, some I tasted alone.