Bintang The Beer To Drink
Once you set foot on the island of Bali, a couple of things will welcome you and accompany you during your stay – the hot tropical sun, greenery, cheerful people and the red star signs – the unmistakable signal that this place serves the famous Bintang beer. You will see the stars all over the island: restaurant and coffee entrances, shiny street signs and even on singlets and t-shirts worn by many of the tourists across Bali.
The word bintang means star in Indonesian. No doubt this is the best-selling and the most popular beer in Bali. Its taste is quite similar to a pale lager, maybe a bit weak for some, but incredibly refreshing!
This beer was first brewed, in Surabaya, in 1929 during the period of Dutch colonial rule and in 1949 the brewery was renamed 'Heineken's Indonesian Brewery Company'. In 1957, once Indonesia had become independent, the government appropriated the brewery, for 10 years, until Heineken retook control of operations in 1967. The company was then renamed "P.T Multi Bintang Indonesia".
The flavour of Bintang comes from a combination of mild hops, barley and malt, that provides its bitterness, but the distinctive feature is definitely this refreshing aftertaste. Mmmm yummy! This Pilsener is 100% brewed in Indonesia and its price ranges from 15,000Rp for a 0.33l bottle, in supermarkets, to up to 100.000Rp in fancy bars. Actually, in 2011 the beer won a gold medal in “lager beer” category and was awarded “Champion Beer 2011” at the Brewing Industry International Award in London.
Bali vacationers can choose from four versions: the classic 4,7% Bintang Pilsener is the most demanded one. You can also get Bintang Zero – alcohol free of course, the best for the responsible drivers J; Bintang Radler Lemon – flavored & pretty good for an after beach drink and Bintang Radler Grapefruit – an interesting fusion of beer with “natural” grapefruit juice.
In our dive resort in Padangbai, Bintang beer is definitely the most sought after drink. We are the only one, in this small harbor town in the central east coast of Bali, to be actually serving Bintang on tap! True beer lovers might nod their heads in approval since there really is a difference in the taste in comparison to a bottled beer.
Nonetheless, whether you prefer glass, bottle or a can, this red star beer is undoubtedly a great travel companion for the adventures across Bali. That is if you are of proper age and don’t drink & drive! ;-)