Aside from eating, we’re also a drinking nation. We’ve been drinking alcoholic beverages since before the Spaniards came, creating booze out of coconuts and palm. Since western influence came, we were taught how to make different liquors and a couple of large distilleries opened up. We also got into rum because of the many sugarcane plantations in the country. Beer became a popular drink when the Americans came, and has become a national favorite ever since.
Here are 10 of the best Filipino-made beers. We actually have a couple of locally produced beers that foreigners really like. Some have even won awards internationally and are being exported and sold in the international market.
San Miguel Pale Pilsen
Alcohol content – 5%
If local beers had a champion, this has to be it. This beer has a hoppy note with a distinct bitter hop character. Its well- balanced, medium body and smooth taste has a pleasant clean finish. San Miguel Pale Pilsen is the granddaddy of all local Filipino beers. Our fathers, grandfathers, and even great grandfathers chugged on this beer, which is probably why they label it as “old man’s” beer or “tito (uncle)” beer, but we still love it till this day. It’s also the most well-known Filipino beer in the international market, and foreigners seem to love it. It’s distinct bottle shape, color, and size makes it stand out from the rest.
Red Horse Beer
Alcohol content – 6.8%
This is an all-time favorite, especially for the younger generations. Red Horse Beer has a distinct, slightly sweet taste to it, and a satisfyingly strong alcohol content that many of us look for in a beer. One of the bestselling beers in the country, both locals and foreigners love its full flavor and strong kick. The sweet tones in the beer comes from the larger amount of hops in the recipe. As for its strength, a couple bottles of this can get you pretty buzzed. Urban legends about the alcohol content says that the “Happy Horse”, which is a bottle where the horse logo is seemingly laughing or smiling, is stronger than the regular one, so if you’re lucky enough to catch one of these, you’re up for a wild night.
San Mig Light
Alcohol content – 5%
All the younger people love chugging on San Mig Light (if they find Red Horse a bit too strong), especially if they want to drink all night. The beer is marketed in a young, hip and cool way so all the kids are attracted to it. It taste like San Miguel Pale Pilsen, only a bit watered down and less bitter. San Mig Light also contains less calories (hence, “Light”), which makes it a popular choice for those who are watching their calorie intake but still want to have fun. It’s a go-to choice for most beer drinkers nowadays.
San Mig Zero
Alcohol content – 2.60%
Even a lighter version of San Mig Light, this beer is a light lager with a light taste and bitterness. Some people love this beer because it’s so light that you can take down bottles of this and feel fine. It also has the lowest calorie content in all the beers in the market at 60 calories per bottle. It’s not really for those looking for a full tasting beer with a stronger kick.
Alcohol content – 7%
For a product that’s fairly new in the beer industry, Manila Beer has been getting quite a number of fans. This is an all-malt beer that has a strong taste that’s distinctly its own. It also has a light version which taste like a watered down version of the original blend and has fewer calories. In fact the light version has fewer calories compared to the most popular light beer in the Philippine market. Although it’s new, it’s definitely worth the try. You might find that it taste great and the price is pretty affordable as well.
San Mig Strong Ice
Alcohol content – 6.3% alcohol
San Mig Strong Ice contains one of the highest alcohol contents amongst the San Mig line up. This beer is often served “below zero degrees” which makes it ice cold. So cold in fact that if you stir what’s inside the bottle it forms ice crystals and turns into a slushy. Serving it this way apparently makes it taste better in that you taste less of the alcohol and it numbs your throat so you can take bigger glugs. The extra strong alcohol content, along with the ice-cold way of serving it, makes it a popular choice for many and a literal “cold-one” after a long day at the office. It’s characterized by hoppy and slight citrusy notes, crisp, dry taste and well-balanced bitterness.
San Miguel Premium All-Malt Beer
Alcohol content – 5% alcohol content
San Miguel Premium All-Malt Beer is known for its rich malty flavor and pleasant hoppy undertone. This full-flavored beer has a smooth balanced bitterness that goes down well. It’s slightly sweet taste gives the beer medium to full body. Although a lot of people prefer Manila Beer over San Miguel Premium, it’s still a great beer to have when you want something a bit less stronger than San Mig Strong Ice, but not as light as a light beer.
Beer na Beer
Alcohol content – 5%
Beer na Beer makers, Asia Breweries, describe this product as a “Smooth, clean refreshing” beer. It has won 3 Monde Selection Gold Medals in Brussels, Belgium. But despite its international awards, many Filipinos still choose to stay loyal to the San Miguel line up because of their familiarity and aggressive marketing campaigns. Beer na Beer does live up to its awards. The beer has a medium flavor and good aroma, although many find the taste a bit too light. It has a sweetness to it that makes it more palatable compare to other pilsens in the market.
Alcohol content – 5%
If you’re into rich, roasted malty notes and full bodied bitterness, then this is the beer for you. This full-flavored, dark lager beer is still smooth and taste great when served ice cold. It has a very different taste compared to the other local beers in the market, and some find it a bit too bitter. This beer definitely has a taste that sticks. Legend has it that women who are late in their regular menstruation cycle or are experiencing PMS can feel some relief after drinking this beer. Although there really is no scientific proof that Cerveza Negra does help regulate menstrual cycles or with PMS, a lot of women actually dig this beer.
San Mig Flavored Beer
Alcohol content – 3% alcohol
This beer is definitely for the ladies. A light lager with added fruit flavor to mask the bitterness (it comes in apple and lemon flavor), it’s a beer ideal for those who don’t like the bitter taste of beer. It’s tasty and light enough that you won’t feel buzzes after a couple of bottles. Many label this beer as a “tita (auntie)” drink, similar to how they call San Miguel Pale Pilsen as a “tito” drink, since many older women prefer this beer.
Check out these beer when you’re looking for a cold one here in the Philippines. Leave a comment below on which beer you liked. Remember to share this article, drink responsibly, and have fun.