Sunday, 8 April 2012


Macro Lager

  • Country: Indonesia
  • Style: American Adjunct Lager
  • ABV: 4.7%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Inexpensive
Bir Bintang Pilsner is the most widely consumed beer in Indonesia. The country has a population of over 238 million people, that's a huge population to supply almost exclusively with one beer! The red star on the label is a throw back to Dutch control of Indonesia when Heineken actually ran the brewery.

This beer has gained an infamous reputation within our friendship group. We were heading away for the weekend and decided our money would best be spent on cheap beer. A local bottleshop had some just expired Bintang on sale, we did our due dilligence and the 6-pack we had seemed alright, 4 cases were hence bought. The result was probably half the beers being almost undrinkably skunked and the somewhat cruel nickname "Bin Juice" arose. Hopefully this fresh one can show that it's a more than serviceable lager.

Indonesia's premier lager leaves quite an average impression after being poured. The colour is the standard golden lager colour with a small head made up of very large airy bubbles. The head retention is non-existent as the head fades away in less than a minute and there is no noticeable lacing. I imagine the pour appearance is down to the fact that you normally drink it straight from the bottle or can, but that doesn't excuse that this is a poor looking lager.

The nose of this beer is actually not too bad for an American Adjunct Lager. Bintang has a very malty smell with only minor bitterness. There is balancing bitterness but I don't think it's from hops, as I can't smell any. There are some citrussy notes to the nose as well as a smell which seems like honey. It's pretty nice, but for a beer which calls itself a pilsner the lack of noticeable hops on the nose is disappointing.

Bintang is a slightly sweet malty lager. There is some generic bitterness which is coming from a grainy taste. Hops don't appear to be present but there is a fruity taste which I can't quite place. The finish has a slightly dry feel to it and has good bitterness. It's the epitome of a session beer, very easy to drink with a nice flavour and excellent carbonation. This could be drunk all day long, especially with the relatively low (4.7%) alcohol content.

This beer is perfectly suited to the hot and sticky climate of Indonesia. I remember when I went to Indonesia about 4 years ago and played golf in the morning, by the time we finished I was soaked in sweat. 5 or 6 Bintang cans later (in about 15 minutes!) and all was good again. This story indicates what Bintang is good for, it's a thirst quencher. This isn't the beer for the connoisseur, but in Indonesia there's nothing else I'd rather drink! Bintang should be bought in the summer months and consumed on a really hot day, if you do this you won't be disappointed.

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

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