With Indonesia being a majority Muslim country, many tourists often wonder how easy it is to get your hands on a cold beer while on your vacation in Bali. Luckily beer is everywhere in Bali and is drunk by locals and tourists alike. Bali is in fact a majority Hindu island so most of the locals like to enjoy a bottle of beer (or a glass of Arak – the locally produced liquor) as much as the foreigners do.
There are no real rules on drinking alcohol in Bali as long as you are friendly and don’t disrespect their culture or religion. There are also no real drink driving regulations so be extra careful driving late at night. Most accidents happen when tourists come off their scooters driving under the influence of alcohol. Beer is generally cheap in Bali aside from the beach clubs which can often charge the same amount as you would pay in Europe or The US.
In the past a beer in Bali has meant 1 thing – Bintang, but now Bali is catching up with the rest of the world. More and more breweries are cropping up in Bali to cater for the more discerning beer drinkers. Below we list the top 5 beers you should try on your dream trip to Bali.
Where else could we start than with Bintang. By far the most popular and widely recognised beer brand, Bintang is found almost anywhere you go in Bali. The word Bintang has pretty much replaced the word beer in Bali. The brewery is actually owned by the well-known Dutch beer brand Heineken and that is reflected in the packaging which looks nearly identical to a bottle of Heineken but in a different colour. The word Bintang means Star and you will see the big star on the bottle much like a bottle of Heineken. Bintang is a light, refreshing lager – perfect for sipping in the midday heat. With an alcohol content of 4.7% ABV it is a premium lager, and the cost of Bintang is usually cheap – most places charge between 20-40 Rp (Around $1.5 – $3) a bottle.
As well as the regular Bintang, there is also Bintang Radler which is a fruity shandy which comes in either lemon or orange flavour. The Bintang Radler is a low alcohol alternative with only 2% volume and it is perfect for those with a sweet tooth or for those who don’t really like the taste of beer.
2. Bali Hai
Bali Hai is another commonly found beer in Bali – mostly found in bottle but also occasionally available on draft. Another premium beer it is 5% ABV with a golden appearance and crisp taste. Based on a Munich lager, the taste of Bali Hai is slightly more distinctive than Bintang, with a more floral, aromatic flavour, but is just as refreshing. Like Bintang Bali Hai is usually cheap – again $1.50 to $3 in most places.
3. Stark Craft Beer
Stark claim to be the only premium craft beer created in Indonesia and while that claim is slightly dubious there is little doubt that they are the most well known. Brewed in the north of Bali using natural spring water, Stark came to the market as an alternative to existing beer brands in Indonesia which were generally either a lager or a pilsener. Stark craft beers are uniqueto other local beers on the market and come in flavours including – mango, lychee, low carb, IPA, wheat and dark wheat. Stark beers are generally premium (4.7% ABV) and are slightly more expensive than Bintang & Bali Hai. While not as commonly sold as Bintang or Bali Hai, Stark is getting increasingly popular in bars around Bali.
Prost is another local lager influenced by the taste of a German lager – even taking it’s name from the German word for ‘Cheers’. A light but premium lager (4.8%), it has a slightly more hoppy taste than a Bintang or a Bali Hai. An easy to drink lager with a smooth and refreshing taste, Prost is gaining popularity among expats. Prost is commonly found in bars and pubs around Bali and is usually one of the cheapest options available. Most often available in a bottle it is also sometimes available on draft.
Another of the newer craft beers on the Bali beer scene Tumage is a high quality beer brewed with hops from around the world to create a real international standard beer. Tumage offers a full bodied flavour for those in search of a more sophisticated tasting beer. Tumage offers a selection of craft beers – a Pale Ale, a Golden Ale and a Red Ale. More cloudy in appearance than the more popular Bali beer offerings, Tumage beer also has a more fruity, hoppy & malty taste. While not as common yet as other beers in the list it is gaining in popularity and is now sold in most big supermarkets. Currently Tumage is only available in bottle form and costs around 40 – 60 Rp ($3 – $5) in most bars.