Last Updated : 14/04/07
ark Enderby has recently been on his travels again, so thanks to him for this report on a country I'd never have thought of going to on a beer hunt...
Beerlao (a 5% lager) dominates the market from its Vientiane brewery. They also produce a “light” beer and a dark 6.5% lager which is rather too thin and caramelly.
Lao’s well kept secret is Lao Beer (notice the subtle difference, it's also called Batieng Brewery). This is a bottled 5% “artisanal” beer produced in the south of the country at Champasak. The brewery was started by the French as a way of giving the inhabitants of the 4000 Isle region of the Mekong, a product that would use the local Palm trees and provide a living for them. It contains 34% palm sap plus some cane sugar. The beer is dark and unfiltered with a rich aroma of molasses and fruit which follows through to the taste. There is a distinct sourness which reminded me of some Belgium brown beers. I only found this because my hotel in Luang Prabang had it in the minibar ! However, the hotel bar itself didn’t advertise it (but had it under the counter) and I only found it advertised at one restaurant in town. I suspect the majority is exported to France.