This beer has history: the label says “since 1890”, so San Miguel have had over a century to get the beer right. But there is more to the past than a date, as two years ago in the floods that destroyed a lot of rural Pakistan, my Filipino colleague and I spent a long deployment together discussing our first beer once we left the country. We agreed that we would one day meet to drink a San Miguel in the Philippines, and finally we did it last month.

In 5: Wet, Icy, Cold, Damp, Fizzy

The one I drank that night was in a can. I’m not sure Brewskie will even post a review of a beer that is drunk out of a can (Mr Brewskie is becoming a purist)? In my defence I’ve drunk a lot of bottles the past fortnight too. Still the beer tastes good, and we’re served it with a glass full of ice cubes which appears to be local custom and I assume aims to keep it cold. You can taste the fruit of the hops going in, though it is well controlled so that it is clean with a pleasantly sweet after taste. Equally, the gas is just right providing a sufficiently robust fizz to back up the strength of the flavour. The pale colour is sufficiently golden and keeps its head to keep me sipping, which I’m encouraged to do by the ice cubes which I think are melting and diluting the contents of the glass. I remember my colleague explaining to me how he used to buy a 24 pack with his friends on a weekend and spend all afternoon drinking all the cans and I can understand why. He’s paid the price however and is drinking “San Miguel Lite” which together with the ice cubes looks like it tastes of nothing. There are another two types of San Miguel behind the bar so it is definitely the most popular drink in the country, 95% market share I read somewhere…

The food in this part of the country is a lot of fried or barbecued pork and fish so we keep on drinking, the saltiness is refreshed by a new can. It occurs to me that the ice cubes could be a way of counteracting the dehydration effect in the tropics, but the morning afterwards the beer passes the hangover test too. Like most foreign beers, it is a pilsener with limited scope for doing something special: San Miguel just does it well. If only they wouldn’t serve it with ice cubes…

This article is copyright © 2014 

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The vital statistics

Type of Brewskie: Lager

Occasion: When in Rome

Curry Compatibility:

Value for money:



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