A good lager, very similar to Heineken which is unsurprising considering that the original brewery was set up by the Dutch before Indonesian independence. Despite its quality it doesn't bear extended consumption - it gets more than a bit boring when there's no other choice of beer to be had! At an abv of 4.7% it's not the strongest lager we tried on our travels, and as Indonesia is predominantly a Muslim country the price we paid was a little higher than in other SE Asian countries. We paid from around £1.60 during a happy hour on Gili Air to about £2 from the bar at our beach-side accommodation.
My Score: 5/10
A solid, no-nonsense lager. Smooth and easy to drink, with above-average flavour, reasonably priced at around £1 for a large bottle and brewed to 5% abv. All Singha in the world is now brewed in Thailand rather than by local breweries under licence, so if you see this in your local shop (or indeed on tap in your local boozer) give it a try – it'll be exactly the same stuff as the Thais drink. (Although you won't have to resort to drinking it with the ice that's needed in the SE Asia heat!) Goes very well with spicy Thai food.
My Score: 7/10
Singha's main competitor in the Thai beer market. The flavour isn't quite as well-developed as Singha, tasting rougher and definitely stronger. It's accordingly slightly cheaper for the same size bottle. Locals advise that Chang's brewing process is less rigorous than Singha, resulting in a strength that can vary between bottles from a minimum of 6.4% to around 10%. Thus the term 'Chang-over' has been coined to describe the sore head that can result from drinking a couple of bottles from the top end of the abv spectrum.
My Score: 7/10 for the good balance between taste, price and effectiveness!
The Cambodians are rightly very proud of their heritage as descendants and keepers of the magnificent Khmer Temples of Angkor. This pride extends to an image of Angkor Wat appearing on the national flag, as well as being the name of the national beer! Angkor the beer is an easy-to-drink, uncomplicated mild lager. It is super-cheap, costing around 32p for a glass of draught or a 330ml can. It can also be purchased by the 'tower', where a couple of litres of beer is poured into a tall plastic tower with a tap at the bottom; served to the table it allows a group of drinkers to top their glasses up as required, with fewer visits to the bar. It was also in Cambodia that we first embraced the SE Asian custom of drinking lager over ice, a practice that I had condemmned as a sacriligious alternative to the proper strategy of drinking your beer fast enough for it not to warm up! However, in the extreme heat and humidity of Cambodia, coupled with our extensive sightseeing on foot and on bicycle, I finally softened my stance and found that a jug of beer, a glass each and a bucket of ice is a remarkably civilised and convivial way to drink with friends!
My Score: 5/10 for flavour, rising to 6/10 in light of the price and the refreshment and enjoyment it brought.
Pronounced as 'ann-chor' in Cambodia to distinguish it from Angkor, this is even lighter and cheaper than its near-namesake. I only tried it once and that was because the shop didn't have any Angkor.
My Score: If I had to give a mark it would be 5/10 for flavour, marked down to 3/10 due to the fact that the brewers have done nothing with this beer except try to muscle in on the existing Angkor. If your beer is a clone of an existing beer then really, what's the point?