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Home » Travel Tips

For the Beer Lover, Welcome to India!

Submitted by on February 16, 2012 – 6:00 amNo Comment

If you are going to be in India and, beer lover that you are, you’re worried that you will not be able to find decent beer, worry no more.

India was the location of the first brewery to open in Asia during the late 1820s. An Englishman named Edward Dyer set it up when he moved from England to Kasauli, a small town in the Himalayan Mountains. The first Indian – and Asian – beer was a pale ale called Lion. In the past, India has not been known for the greatest quality of beer, but since breweries like Anheuser- Busch InBev have landed in India, the Indian breweries that already existed, such as United Breweries, have been forced to raise their quality of beer in order to compete.

There are many types of Indian beer spanning all of beer’s general categories, including lager, ales, stouts, etc. In India, lager is the most popular. Beer in India comes in two strengths –  mild and strong. Mild is 4-5 percent alcohol, and strong is 6-8 percent alcohol.

So which beer is the best? Take a look at this list, and think about what your preference might be.

Kingfisher, Kingfisher Premium, Kingfisher Strong

Kingfisher-this, Kingfisher-that — whatever Kingfisher it is, it is the most popular, loved and largest selling beer brand in India. In past years, it has won the World’s Best Light Lager Award handed out by the Stockholm Beer Festival as well as several other awards. Kingfisher is known as “The King of Good Times” (its marketing slogan). It’s brewed by Heineken (United Breweries) and is distributed in 52 other countries.

Hayward’s 5000

This beer gives a new meaning to the word strong. If you have a trained palate for strong beer, then this is definitely your cup of tea (or bottle of beer). Hayward’s 5000 is India’s bestselling strong beer. It’s a lager with a “full bodied malt flavor” and the authentic taste of a strong beer. This beer is not for lightweights; two bottles and you may be out for the count. Hayward’s 5000 is brewed by SABMiller, the second largest brewery in India.

Royal Challenge Premium

Royal Challenge is the second biggest mild beer seller in India. It is a smooth, mild beer that is great for any connoisseur. Royal Challenge drinkers report a unique taste and rich flavor. It is on an upward growth spurt that is showing signs of taking over the top of the mild beer market.

Manav India Special Reserve Beer

This is a strong pale lager out of Ghaziabad, India. It’s brewed by Manav Breweries Pvt. Ltd. (one of the top Indian breweries). Manav is known in India as one of the best of their own; this beer is “made with finest quality hops and waters of the Himalayan Ranges.”

Legends Premium Lager

This is a pale lager brewed at India’s Distilleries & Breweries, originating in Madhya Pradesh, India. It’s a mild beer at 4.7 percent alcohol. Legends Premium Lager is protected from the sun by being served in a 100% recyclable aluminum bottle. The color of pale lager is usually light bronze, and the hops and malt flavorsw are not apparent. Legends is one of the best mild beers India has to offer.


Ambari beer is a strong pale lager, at 7 percent alcohol. It is brewed at the Impala Distillery & Brewery, located in Assolda, Quepem, Goa, India. Strong pale lagers are often found in Poland, but they can be found in other countries as well. They are usually all malt. In the United States, there is a variation of this type of beer called Imperial Pilsner.

Kalyani Black Label Premium Strong

This beer is one of the best. A malt liquor brewed by the United Breweries Group, it’s one of the oldest beers in India. It’s also one of the strongest at 7.8 percent alcohol. This beer has been reviewed highly as one of India’s finest beers. United Breweries says, “Kalyani Black Label Premium Strong symbolizes the values of male bonding and camaraderie.”

Obviously, India can hold its own when it comes to the brewing and bottling of the best types of beer. One added note: the average price of Indian lager runs about $1.36 U.S.  a pint. That’s really cheap for some really great beer.

But then, beer lover that you are, you probably already know that.

This guest post was written by Erica Gustafson who is a freelance writer, avid traveler and online media consultant.

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