When I started backpacking, one of my first realizations was something like “OMG, beer is really cheap in foreign countries.”
And then, after a lot of sampling, I had the secondary (but no less important) realization that “OMG, beer is really delicious in foreign countries.”
If you are fond of sampling local beers on your travels, try out these beers for size. You will have no regrets – pinkie promise.
1. Phuket Island Lager, Thailand
Phuket is an island in Thailand best known as a party spot for foreign revelers, but if you find yourself wanting to sip on a few beers with dinner instead of going crazy “in da club,” make sure that you ask for Phuket Island Lager.
As the name would suggest, this beer is brewed on the island, and it's made with a mixture of German hops and local jasmine rice.
This beer is light and refreshing, with a not too potent 5% alcohol content.
It can even claim to be the only ever Thai beer to win the gold medal for excellence at the Monde Selection awards.
2. Noche Buena, Mexico
In Mexico, there are three drinks that you should be drinking on a trip to a cantina – mezcal, tequila (which is a type of mezcal), and good old beer.
If you happen to be in Mexico around Christmas time, make sure that you ask for Noche Buena beer, which is only sold at this time of year.
Most Mexican beers tend to have very light characteristics, but this is an exception.
It has a dark brown color and tastes pretty malty. And at 5.9% alcohol, it's stronger than most Mexican beers too – perfect for a celebration!
3. Bia Hoi, North Vietnam
Take a trip to Vietnam in anywhere from Hoi An upwards, and you will find an incredibly unique beer culture.
Signs on the street will invite you to try a fresh beer on the road, and at an unbelievably low price.
My lasting memories from Vietnam all involve being amazed at the beer prices and then consuming a hell of a lot of the golden stuff.
The beer gets freshly brewed each day, matured for a very short time, and then sold. It's lightweight at just 3% alcohol, but refreshing under that intense Vietnam sun.
The Vietnamese translation for fresh beer is “Bia Hoi” so look out for those two magic words wherever you happen to be.
4. Oldbridz Oatmeal Cookie Brown Ale, Bosnia, and Herzegovina
If you want to fill your boots with artisanal beers at a rock bottom price, you need to get yourself to Central and Eastern Europe as a life priority.
Bosnia and Herzegovina are suddenly being discovered as the epic backpacking destination that it is, full of friendly people, lots of history, natural beauty, and awesome beers.
If you are not keen on bitter beers, opt for a taste of sweetness by trying out this oatmeal cookie brown ale.
You can genuinely taste the raisins and brown sugar in the beer, and at 6% alcohol, it won't fail to get you tipsy.
5. Message in a Bottle Black IPA, Philippines
Whenever I speak to a fellow backpacker who has visited the Philippines, they almost always mention the price of alcohol there.
The long and short of it is that it's super cheap.
But don't just settle for the regular lagers you'll find everywhere in the Philippines like San Miguel – there are tons of local craft beers you can try too.
Message in a Bottle Black IPA is a real treat. This is the kind of beer that you want to sit on for a long period of time on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
It is incredibly dark with lots of rich flavors, and it's pretty darn strong at 7.6% alcohol, so take your time with this one.
6. Cerveza Leyenda Porter, Chile
You've probably sipped on some Chilean wines before but Chilean beer?
While beer is less common in the country, the craft beer scene is growing into something pretty spectacular.
The Cerveza Leyenda Brewery is extra special.
The founder, Loreta, is championing the female beer brewing culture in Chile, and you can even take a weekend brewing course if you happen to be in Santiago.
They have many beers on offer, but their dark Porter offering is something that you won't want to miss with its notes of coffee and nuts.