Top 10 Best Alcoholic Drinks in Manila: Best Beers in the Philippines




When In Manila and looking to get some nightlight fun, then here’s a quick guide on some of the best drinks you should be ordering!


Oh and this is the “non-hard-liquor” list just fyi.





10. Manila Beer – 7% alcohol content

(notable mention: Manila Beer Light – 5% alcohol content and less than 110 calories, fewer than San Mig Light)


OK, so I might be a bit biased as our blog is called “When In Manila” and we did decide to include “Manila Beer” here, but really, there has been a growing number of people who are enjoying Manila Beer and slowly converting towards this new product.


So I guess you can say there’s a “BUZZ” about Manila Beer… get it… BUZZ… get it?!….


Anyway, along try this all malt strong beer and you’ll quickly notice the firm taste it has. Better is that the light version supposedly has the least amount of calories especially when compared to the market leader.


San Mig Light = less than 130 calories

Manila Beer Light = less than 110 calories


Change is a good thing. You’ll never know what you’re missing until you try it out. So I do recommend you try out Manila Beer or Manila Beer Light… When In Manila 








9. San Mig Strong Ice – 6.3% alcohol


Have you heard of “Ice Filtered Beer”? Well other than that enticing aspect, you’ll find San Mig Strong Ice usually in their “below zero degree” servings as made popular by their parent company, San Miguel Brewery. This type of serving supposedly makes you taste less of the alcohol (great for girls I guess) and helps numb your throat a bit so you can take bigger chugs.


San Mig Strong Ice is a high-alcohol pale amber lager.


That extra kick of alcohol plus being served ICE COLD always make this a crowd favorite and I do have to admit, this (very literally) “cold-one” is great to have after a long day’s work. Highly recommended to chug while cold.






8. San Miguel Premium All-Malt Beer – 5% alcohol content


San Miguel Premium All-Malt Beer has a malty flavor with pleasant hoppy notes. It is full-flavored with a smooth balanced bitterness. It is slightly sweetish in taste and has medium to full body.


I’m not the biggest fan of this, and for malt beers I would prefer the Manila Beer, but my friends swear that they love the taste of this. For something named a “premium” beer, I’d have to say that it lacks flavor for me. But worthy enough to make the list. Try it out and judge for yourself.






7. Beer na Beer – 5% alcohol content


The direct competitor of San Miguel Pale Pilsen but brewed by Asia Breweries. They describe themselves to have a “Smooth, clean refreshing” beer taste. Beer na Beer won 3 Monde Selection Gold Medals in Brussels. Though despite the awards it garnered for quality, Filipinos have remained loyal to San Miguel Pale Pilsen because of their familiarity and strong marketing campaigns of San Miguel.


Most foreigners ask what Beer na Beer means? Well, technically “na” is used to emphasize that this is supposedly a really good beer. Like when someone asks you: “Was the movie any good?” and you say: “It was good” then they follow up with: “Was it good, good”?” and you finally finish with: “Yeah, it was good, good.” Well…. something like that. Or even saying that this is the “Beer of Beers!”






6. Cerveza Negra – 5% alcohol content


Cerveza Negra has roasted malty notes which extends to its taste. It is full-flavored and full bodied. Bitterness is moderate but still smooth. It’s a dark lager beer and as such, there are some that call it the San Miguel Dark Lager. 


With a cult following like Cerveza Negra’s it’s hard not to include it in the list. Do note that this taste may not be for everyone, but it’s definitely worth the try.






5. Colt 45 –7.2% alcohol content


Ok so I’m a big biased towards strong beers as I do prefer beers with lots of flavor and a good kick to them! And yes, some of you are screaming that Colt 45 is made in the USA and not really a local Filipino Beer. Well, I had to include it on this list as the Philippines has one of the biggest fan bases of Cold 45 that I know of! I mean I don’t really see a lot of people ordering this even when I lived in the States. But here in Manila, there are commercials, girls, posters and the whole 9 yards for Colt 45. It has a feel of being a local beer and I’ve know people who actually thought it was a local beer.


Colt 45 is known for its distinct bold taste and strong kick. They boast to be the strongest beer in the Philippine market with their 7.2% alcohol content.


colt 45 colt 45 best beers manila philippines wheninmanila






4. Red Horse Beer – 6.8% alcohol content


Red Horse Beer is a beer with a distinctive taste and extra satisfying strength of a world class premium strong beer. It’s one of the best strong beers in the Philippines and people love it for the full flavored taste to it. It has a little bit of a sweeter sensation to it due to the larger amount of hops in its recipe. So, some girls actually prefer Red Horse due to this sweetness.


Furthermore, the urban legend of the “Happy Horse” keeps people from coming back too. It states that there are mixed in Red Horse bottles which you can find via the logo, where rare bottles have a logo of a (seemingly) smiling / laughing horse rather than the regular stoic / pokerfaced horse. Rumor has it that these “Happy Horse” bottles have (depending on the storyteller) from 2x-4x the alcohol content of regular Red Horse Beers.


Unfortunately, the happy horse having a stronger kick is a myth. They are the same brew because they come from the same line in the brewing process. The only difference between the happy horse and the regular Red Horse is the packaging. What they call the happy horse is the old packaging. Red Horse changed a little bit of their logo in 1992 which resulted in new bottles being made. The old bottles (happy horse) still exist because RH bottles are recycled and cleaned. Their life span is 20 years before they get discarded.


Either way, it’s still a good beer and it’s usually what I get for the local beers in Manila or the Philippines.





Mythical “Happy Horse” smiling on the left while the regular Red Horse on the right






3. San Miguel Pale Pilsen – 5% alcohol content


This was the undisputed champion of champions for beers from back in the day. Our dads, our dads’ dads and our dads’ dads’ dads all went through life chugging one of these. It has “old school” written all over it! Which is probably why the young and hip prefer a different beer for their image. 


San Miguel Pale Pilsen has a slight hoppy note with a distinct bitter hop character. It has a well-balanced medium body and is smooth on the palate with a pleasant clean finish.


It’s the most popular brew of the Philippines. With it’s unique bottle color, size and shape, most locals prefer this than any other local beer.


This beer has been become a part of Philippine popular culture and has a cult following with balikbayans and OFW’s. This is also the most widely known Philippine Beer throughout the world.




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2. Tanduay Ice – 5% alcohol content


Now Tanduay Ice definitely takes this spot for the best alcoholic beverages in Manila. Yes, I know it’s not really a “beer,” but I sort of consider it a ladies’ beer… and yes, I know lots of guys drink this too, but hey, lots of guys are very feminine as well… OK what I’m saying is that though I’m not the biggest fan of “girlie drinks” like this for myself, nor do I really think guys should be drinking this – each person has their own opinion and you can drink whatever the hell you want. Besides, as their slogan goes: “Masarap ang Bawal” or loosly translated: “It’s wrong but it feels so good.”


Anyway, back to why Tanduay Ice is #2 on our Top 10 Best Filipino Drinks


This drink is actually REALLY young as compared to all the other drinks on this list that have been around since your mother’s mother and may be the reasons that you are here today (if you know what I mean). But Tanduay Ice quickly took the nightlife bar and club scene by storm when it came into the market fairly recently and has developed a loyal fan base of both girls and guys.


The makers claim that Tanduay Ice contains just the right alcohol, right sweetness and good mouth feel. I guess the best thing to compare it to is Smirnoff Ice, if you’re a tourist. It also comes in a few other flavors, but I’ve heard that the original is still the best. So try it out if you’re up for something other than beer. And really, if you’re a girl, you’ll love this.





tanduay ice wheninmanila


Tanduay Ice New Flavors Red Mirage and Blue Illusion wheninmanila






1. San Mig Light  – 5% alcohol content


Of course, the leader in this industry is the powerhouse of the San Miguel Brewery. They’ve been here since Magellan discovered the Philippines and rumor has it that the first Filipino native hero: Lapu-Lapu, was actually drinking an earlier version of this… of course, it might just be a rumor.


Anyway, San Mig Light is the NEW #1 drink to have in your hand at any bar. I say “NEW” as the San Miguel Pale Pilsen used to be the coolest beer but I guess it’s an image thing where the young, hip and cool kids today don’t really want to be seen with the same beer that their dads were holding when they went to Mars Disco back in the day. It may have to do with the branding, the health-conscious low calorie needs of today’s generation or the more appealing packaging, but San Mig Light is the top choice for most party goers in Manila and the Philippines today.


San Miguel Pale Pilsen and SML’s alcohol contents are the same. It’s 5% by volume. The difference is the calorie content. San Mig Light can be classified as a light beer because it has less than 130 calories. 


Also, it doesn’t hurt that they always have the HOTTEST endorsers like hottie Sam Pinto below:


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So When In Manila, what are you waiting for?!? Go out and experience that Manila nightlife like never before! Be sure to try out these drinks on our Top 10 best alcoholic drinks in the Philippines / Top Ten best beers in Manila!



Top 10 Best Alcoholic Drinks in Manila: Best Beers in the Philippines