When I started backpacking, one of my first realizations was, “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 top beers from around the world. You will have no regrets – pinkie promise.
Beers to Try
1. Phuket Island Lager, Thailand
Phuket is an island in Thailand best known as a party spot for foreign revelers, but if you want to sip on a few beers with dinner instead of going wild “in da club,” make sure 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 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, make sure 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!
Related: 10 Famous Breweries to Visit
3. Bia Hoi, North Vietnam
Take a trip to Vietnam 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 at an unbelievably low price.
My lasting memories from Vietnam involve being amazed at the beer prices and then consuming a lot of the golden stuff.
The beer gets freshly brewed daily, matured for a very short time, and 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, make getting yourself to Central and Eastern Europe a life priority.
Bosnia and Herzegovina are suddenly being discovered as epic backpacking destinations full of friendly people, history, natural beauty, and excellent 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.
Related: Fort Collins Brewery Tour
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 you want to sit on for a long 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 you won't want to miss with its notes of coffee and nuts.
David is a young(ish) guy from London who has been traveling the world for three years now. He reports on his big gay world adventure (think stories about trying to hit on local gay talent and how the humidity is messing with his hair) on That Gay Backpacker. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.