23 September 2014 - Best Beer HQ
Beer spotlight: Bintang Pilsener
Beers, beaches and sunshine; it’s the perfect recipe for an amazing holiday in Indonesia. The beer in the equation is likely this one – Bintang.
Ubiquitous in Bali, Java or wherever you go in Indonesia, Bintang (4.7% alc/vol) is an American pale lager-style beer, pale yellow or light gold in colour, with a sweet aroma and a crisp, slightly bitter taste. Not dissimilar to Heineken. Indeed, even the label on the green bottle is vaguely similar.
Indonesia’s best beer?
Everywhere you go in Indonesia, there it is – on clothing, being drunk on the beach and seemingly every restaurant, bar and pub in the country.
A can or small bottle of Bintang pilsner usually costs around 12,000-18,000 Indonesian rupiah, which may sound like a lot but is actually just over one American dollar. You could certainly do worse. Visitors to Indonesia have gotten sick from drinking dodgy, locally made spirits, so you’re actually safer drinking the beer.
Bintang Beer won a gold medal in the 3.8-4.7% alcohol by volume category at the 2011 Brewing Industry International Awards. And, like all beers, Bintang is best enjoyed in its country of origin – preferably at the beach or around the hotel pool.
History of Bintang Beer
Funnily enough, Bintang Beer is produced by an Indonesian subsidiary of Asia Pacific Breweries, which is partly owned by Heineken International.
The Bintang brewery was constructed in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, in 1929 during Dutch colonial rule. Following the country’s independence in 1949, the brewery was aptly renamed “Heineken’s Indonesian Brewery Company”.
A few years later, in 1957, the Indonesian government assumed control of the brewery until 1967, when Heineken once again resumed operations. At that point it assumed its current name – Multi Bintang Indonesia.
Other Bintang Beer products
Bintang also makes an alcohol-free beer called Bintang Zero. It’s packaged in a blue bottle, so you shouldn’t get it mixed up with the original Bintang pilsner. You may get it confused with a Heineken after a few too many beers, though.