Beer Favorites in the Philippines


The Philippines is known for many things from its rich culture, magnificent beaches, and the hospitality of its people. One other thing about Filipinos that made a mark across the globe is their beer and how they love to drink. Be it the holidays, a family get together, or a town festival, you’ll find that beer is always present in such events. After work, you will also inadvertently (and frequently) hear Filipinos use the coinage “one bots ta”, which means getting an afternoon cap before heading home. And you will notice that beer is sold almost everywhere from “sari-sari” stores (local community mini stores) to restaurants, and supermarkets.

There are tons of locally brewed beers in the Philippines from mainstream brews to craft beers. Here, is a list of the 10 most popular mainstream beers in the Philippines:

No.1 – Red Horse Beer

When you try it, you’ll understand its name.

Red Horse Beer
Figure 1 Photo credit:SAN MIGUEL BREWERY INC.

Red Horse Beer (ABV 6.8%) is one of the first extra strong beers that have reached a world class status and is the most preferred beer for groups of friends going out. It is a deeply hued lager with a tug between sweetness, due to the higher hops content in its ingredients, and bitterness. Since this beer also comes in 1 liter bottles, Red Horse is usually enjoyed by doing shots and has a stronger kick because of its higher alcohol content compared to other beers. This beer is readily available and can be found in most supermarkets and convenience stores.

No.2 – San Miguel Pale Pilsen

The” pre-millenials” beer. Ask a Filipino uncle about it!

San Miguel Pale Pilsen
Figure 2 Photo credit:SAN MIGUEL BREWERY INC.

San Miguel Pale Pilsen (ABV 5%) was introduced in 1890 and has become San Miguel brewery’s flagship beer. It is a pale lager with a well-balanced medium body that is smooth and gives you that suave finish. Given its age in history, the younger generation of drinkers is not too keen on making this their beer of choice. The Pilsen is widely available in stores, supermarkets and restaurants across the country, even in far-flung areas.

No.3 – San Miguel Light

Get a buzz with without worrying about the calories.

San Miguel Light
Figure 3 Photo credit:SAN MIGUEL BREWERY INC.

San Miguel Light (ABV 5%) has become today’s number one beer in the Philippines. It is an American style light lager with only 100 calories that still has that full-flavored smooth, crisp taste. Younger drinkers (above 18 of course!) prefer this due to its cool and hip image in the market and the light on the belly feel due to its low calorie content. Given its popularity, you will find this beer sold almost everywhere alongside San Miguel Pale Pilsen.

No.4 – Brew Kettle

Craft beer experience right at your fingertips!

Brew Kettle
Figure 4 Photo credit:RJ PHOTOGRAPHY MANILA

Brew Kettle (ABV 5.3%) is a Belgian Witbier style beer brewed by Asia Brewery. The witbier, literally translated to wheat beer, got its name because of the naturally hazy and pale gold color of the beer when poured. Brew Kettle, however, is not to be confused with authentic witbier but only witbier style that is brewed to suit the Philippine palate and climate. This beer has a low sweet taste and an orange peel aroma with lime, spice, and pepper undertones.

No.5 – Beer na Beer Pale Pilsen

The beer that tries to give San Miguel Pale Pilsen a run for its money.

Beer na Beer Pale Pilsen
Figure 5 Photo credit:WHEN IN MANILA

Beer na Beer Pale Pilsen (ABV 5%) is the direct competitor of San Miguel’s Pale Pilsen. The similarities of these two Pilsens range from its smooth, clean taste (although Beer na Beer is more watered down) to the look of the bottles. Although this beer is quite inexpensive, you don’t get to see a lot of this sold in restaurants in metro areas, and may be available only in a few supermarkets.

No.6 – Gold Eagle Beer

The beer of the barrio

Gold Eagle Beer
Figure 6 Photo credit:ESQUIRE MAGAZINE PH

Gold Eagle Beer (ABV 4.55%) is a light beer in taste, alcohol content, and on the budget! If you have ever attended a party in the sub-urban and rural provinces of the Philippines, then you have come across the “Igol”, which is what the locals have fondly called this beer over the decades. During its introduction in the Philippine market, this was pegged to be the beer for the working class Filipinos. With its light taste, you’ll find that this beer easy to drink. This beer is rarely seen in supermarkets and restaurants and is mostly available in select provinces in the Philippines.

  • Pros:Another traditional beer in the Philippine market that’s light on the palate and on the budget
  • Cons:Low alcohol content and slightly watered down taste
  • Price Range:$
  • References:

No.7 – San Miguel Super Dry

Smooth and refreshing premium beer

San Miguel Super Dry
Figure 7 Photo credit:SMB DELIVERS

San Miguel Super Dry (ABV 4.88%) is a crowd favorite among the Fun In Cebu staff. Although slightly pricier than the more common San Miguel beer variants, this light lager is really crisp and easy on the palate. The bitterness is balanced in it’s moderately light body and that dry finish is a great way to quench off in that tropical Philippine weather.

No.8 – San Miguel Flavored Beer

Same beer goodness with fun flavors

San Miguel Flavored Beer
Figure 8 Photo credit:BEER NG PINOY BLOG

San Miguel Flavored Beer (ABV 3%) provides a trendy and novel alternative to social drinking, with a young and fun branding. The beer comes in 2 variants – apple and lemon, with the apple flavor being more preferred by hip and young drinkers. It gives you a slightly satisfying beer buzz with a twist on the taste. Its taste is very reminiscent of a shandy brand that’s widespread in the late 90’s. With its low alcohol content and very subdued bitterness from the beer flavors, these are a sure hit when you just want to hang out and socialize with friends.

No.9 – Colt 45

The lager with a strong kick and then some.

Colt 45
Figure 9 Photo credit:GOOGLE IMAGES

Colt 45 (ABV 7.2%) is a US brand beer that has license to brew in the Philippines. It has a high alcohol content that gives a stronger buzz when taken in large amounts. This beer has a stronger malt flavor compared to other mainstream lagers in the Philippine market. Like its direct competitor, this beer is also enjoyed by groups of friends through shots. You don’t quite see this often in restobars or convenience stores, but is increasingly available in supermarkets nationwide.

  • Pros:This beer packs an extra strong kick that’s good to blow off some steam over the weekend
  • Cons:You might need to stock up on your hangover remedies if you opt to binge on this drink
  • Price Range:$
  • References:

No.10 – San Miguel Premium All-Malt

Filipino beer connoisseurs’ go-to lager

San Miguel Premium All-Malt
Figure 10 Photo credit:SMB DELIVERS

San Miguel Premium All-Malt (ABV 5%) is the beer of choice if you are after that premium taste that satisfies a discriminating palate. From the sexy bottle (or can) packaging, the sweet and malty aroma, the fizz when you pour a bottle, to the effervescent yet crisp and clean feel in your mouth, this beer definitely tickles the beer connoisseurs’ senses! Because of its lack of thrust in marketing and advertising, it’s quite uncommon to see this beer sold in restaurants or supermarkets, but when you come across this lager it is a rare find and a must try!