Thursday, July 29, 2010

International Beer of the Week: Bintang

Country: Indonesia

Best Enjoyed: - Kuta Beach, Bali.                      
                         - While exploring Asia’s greatest nightlife in Jakarta

Eat, Pray, Drink Bintang.

A trip to Indonesia wouldn’t be complete without trying their famous local brew: Bir Bintang. Synonymous with sunsets on the beach in Bali and the incredible nightlife of Jakarta, Bintang is a national icon and has been so for over 70 years. Bintang means “Star” in Bahasa Indonesia and Bir Bintang is a true star of the Indonesian beer industry.

Bir Bintang is brewed today by Multi Bintang Indonesia (MBI) a Heineken subsidiary (the bottle and label are reminiscent of a Heineken bottle) and was established out of Indonesia’s Dutch colonial history.

Originally established in 1929 as NV Nederlandsch-Indische Bierbrouwerijen it was not until 1936 that Heineken became a major shareholder. In 1949, following Indonesian independence, the brewery was renamed 'Heineken's Indonesian Brewery Company'. In 1981 the company went public and it became known as PT Multi Bintang Indonesia Tbk (MBI).

Sold mostly in 620 ml bottles, known to most backpackers as “big bintang,” Bir Bintang is Indonesia's leading beer brand, selling more than 1 million hectoliters a year. Bintang is made of selected malt, hops and water and processed with high quality standards, supported by Heineken International. Bintang is labelled as a pilsner type lager beer, bir putih in local term with 4.8% v/v alcohol content.

If you happen to pout the beer from its large green bottle it will produce a small amount of white head on a pale yellow body. While the brewer claims this beer as a pilsner the taste is more akin to a light lager. When you first put the glass (or bottle) to your mouth there is some fizzy carbonation which dies relatively quickly. The typical flavours of hop and malt tones are present with a weak undertone of citrus. It is sweet upfront, which turns to a grainy flavor with little hop characteristics in the finish.

An slightly below average beer when compared with major European brands but an enjoyable part or the whole Indonesian experience. It is highly refreshing on a hot night out in Kuta, Bali or on the humid city streets of Jakarta.

Pro! (cheers)
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