Indonesian made beer such as Bintang brand, is styled as an American Pale Lager, gold in colour with an ideal serving temperature of 7 °C. The 4.7 per cent Pilsner has a malt and hop flavour. Due to the fact that it’s a localized version of Heineken, its taste is similar and comparable to Heineken, and the Bintang bottle is reminiscent of a Heineken bottle, indeed the red star (bintang) on the bottle is the same as Heineken. Bintang makes a malt based beverage called Bintang Zero 0.0%, a Non alcohol Radler called Bintang Radler 0.0%, a soft drink product called Green Sands
In Batam city island and neighboring Bintan as well, licensed Carlsberg and Guinness are produced locally by PT Delta Djakarta in Jakarta, as well as Bintang and Tiger beer. PT Delta Djakarta is the manufacturer and distributor of some of the best beer brands in the world under the Anker, Carlsberg, San Miguel, and Kuda Putih trademarks. The company is also a key figure in the country’s non-alcoholic beverages market; with brands Sodaku and Soda Ice among Indonesia’s top-sellers.
Most places in Batam have Heineken or Bintang on tap. Imported beers, such as Corona are also available, but prices were higher than in Singapore. A normal draft beer should be in the range of Rp.20.000 to Rp.35,000, while the canned one in the supermarket retailer should be around Rp.12.000 to 20.000 per 250ml to 350ml (survey on 2016). However, Wine and liquor is available from the duty-free stores in nearly all of the larger malls, most bars and hotels.
There are two microbreweries on the island: Brewsky & Co. and Batam Fresh Beer. Batam Fresh Beer is headquartered in Batam Center near the large Batam centre mosque (behind Pondok Gurih restaurant). Price is around Rp.25,000 a glass for any of their beers (dark and light at 5 or 7% alc or green at 5%). The most interesting fact is that back in 2011, Bintang Beer won a gold medal for Lager (Class 2) and Champion Beer for the lager category at the Brewing Industry International Awards (BIIA 2011) in London. The made in Indonesia’s Bintang brand were also awarded as Top 50 Most Valuable Indonesian Brand 2013 by Brand Finance
Many centuries ago, Beer and bootlegging were developed by the natives in the archipelago. Some panels in 9th century Borobudur bas-reliefs depicted drink vendor, warung (small restaurant), and there is a panel depicting a building with people drinking (possibly alcoholic beverage), dancing and having fun, seems to describe tavern or lodging. According to a Chinese source, Yingyai Shenglan (c. 15th century) people of Java in Majapahit kingdom drank wine made from palm sap called tuak (palm wine). However, by 16th century Islam began to supplant Hinduism and Buddhism as the major religion in Indonesia. Since then, as a Muslim-majority country, Indonesian Muslims share Islamic dietary laws that prohibit alcoholic beverages. Nevertheless, the local alcohol drinking culture still survives, at least among less-religious members of society and among non-Muslim community
In Batak community in North Sumatra, tuak (palm liquor) is a compulsory drink in the celebrations and became a tradition in the community. Batak tribes are predominantly of Christian Protestant faith, yet some of its clans are Muslims. A traditional Batak bar serving tuak is called lapo tuak. In Toraja lands of South Sulawesi, their version of tuak — made from fermented sugar palm sap, is called ballo.In any Torajan traditional ceremonies, rituals and celebrations, ballo is always served, either as a prerequisite for the ritual; as an offering for ancestral spirits, as well as for drinks for the guests. Ballo is also commonly consumed by the neighboring Bugis ethnic group.
In Minahasa region of North Sulawesi, an almost identical palm liquor also made from sugar palm sap is called saguer. In Nusa Tenggara and Maluku Islands the people also drink palm wine, locally known as sop
Okay, enough about history – cultural lesson, the following are the highest rated beers brewed in Indonesia according to www.ratebeer.com. Beer scores are weighted means so that more ratings for a beer increase the score’s tendency to the beer’s actual mean. Be advised that certain “makan” spot in Batam do serve their own crafted beer on smaller batch which are not mentioned here. So during your visit, take your chance to taste one of these refreshing beers :).