The most popular beers from 35 countries
For the most part, no matter where in the world you are, there will be bars (except for if you somehow land in Prohibition-era America, in which case, congratulations on discovering the wormhole!). And in those bars, there will be beer. But not every country's beer is the same, and for some nations, one singular brand looms head-and-shoulders above the rest in terms of recognition and popularity. Here are 35 of those such beers, and the countries that love them:
ARGENTINA - Cerveza Quilmes
When your country's famous for its beef, you better make damn sure you have a good beer. Quilmes makes bocks, stouts, and reds, but its lager is a cow's best friend.
AUSTRALIA - Victoria Bitter
Surprisingly, Australians don't actually believe that Foster's is Australian for beer, mostly because "beer" in Australian is "beer". But also because XXXX Gold, a mid-strength lager, is more popular.
BELGIUM - Chimay
Sure, these days a relatively young brewery called Jupiler has become the most popular, but Chimay has God on its side. It's made by the infamous Trappist monks, and is perhaps the best-known of the brotherly beers that call Belgium home.
BRAZIL - Skol
Brazilian beer Skol's got a pretty layered history: it was originally produced by Caracu, which was bought by Brahma, which merged with Antarctica to become AmBev, which became InBev, and then AB InBev... which is currently the largest beverage company in the world.
CAMBODIA - Angkor Beer
The most widely consumed beer in Cambodia is Angkor Beer, named for the majestic temples that dot the countryside.
CANADA - Labatt
The biggest brewer in Canada narrowly edges out Molson (which is technically the second-oldest company in the country) for the title of Canada's most popular.
CHINA - Snow Beer
FUN FACT: Despite the fact that you've probably never heard of it, Snow Beer is actually the most popular (meaning best-selling) beer in the entire world. It's sold almost exclusively in China, which apparently has a lot of people.
CZECH REPUBLIC - Pilsner Urquell
Pilsner Urquell was the first pilsner beer in the entire world (invented in 1842).
DENMARK - Carlsberg
Despite also being the best-selling beer in Russia, Carlsberg is very much a Danish invention (and has the distinction of being the flagship brew of the fifth-largest brewery group in the world).
ETHIOPIA - St. George Lager
In Ethiopia, beer has long been a drink of choice, and the crisp St. George out of Addis Ababa has helped cool down locals and travelers since 1922.
FRENCH POLYNESIA - Hinano
Tahitian treat Hinano tastes like a hybrid of Heineken & Bud and packs a low punch, which is a good thing considering it's best consumed by the icy bucketful on a white-sanded beach. Also, this and Tabu are pretty much the only options in the archipelago. They taste the same.
INDIA - Kingfisher
With a market share of over 50%, Kingfisher is akin to some sort of monarch in the Indian beer world.
INDONESIA - Bintang Beer
Bintang's bottle looks a lot like a Heineken... it apparently tastes like a Heineken... but it's not Heineken, dammit (although it is owned by them)! It's a Pilsner-style beer brewed in Surabaya.
ISRAEL - Goldstar
There's a pretty large debate raging in Israel about whether Goldstar or competitor Maccabee is the better beer. But despite the fact that Goldstar edges out sales of Maccabee ever so slightly, they're both made by Tempo Beer Industries. So... those guys win.
ITALY - Peroni
While being slightly more well-known the world over for their Nastro Azzurro, Peroni Brewery in Italy has more in-country fame for its eponymous pale lager.
JAMAICA - Red Stripe
The famous, stout little bottles. The strong desire to get little beads woven into your hair after you drink a few. This one's a no-brainer.
JAPAN - Asahi
The four major beer producers in Japan are Asahi, Sapporo, Kirin, and Suntory (yes, THAT Suntory). They're all in close competition, but recently, Asahi has narrowly edged past its rivals -- somehow without the aid of Bill Murray.
KENYA - Tusker
Tusker, East Africa's best-selling beer, was so-named because the brewery founder was killed in an elephant-hunting accident. And now people are reminded of it every time they drink. It kinda sucks.
LAOS - Beerlao
Beerlao is half-owned by the Laotian government and half-owned by Carlsberg, and claims to have a 99% market share... so it's got that going for it, which is nice.
MADAGASCAR - Three Horses Beer
Collectively referred to by locals as "THB", Three Horses Beer produces a variety of brews within Madagascar, but its flagship is its pilsner.
MEXICO - Modelo
Grupo Modelo, the largest Mexican brewery group, produces a bunch of beers you might recognize (Corona being chief among them), but most of them are exported directly to the US. Within the country itself, however, Modelo is king.
NETHERLANDS - Heineken
Ah, Heineken. Its distinctive green bottle definitely makes it the most recognized Dutch beer out there, which is appropriate given the fact that its manufacturer, Heineken International, is the world's third-largest brewer.
NORWAY - Ringnes
Ringnes is a storied brewery that was founded in 1876, and its success was mostly based on the popularity of its pilsner. Today, it's entirely owned by Danish beer giant Carlsberg, prompting a descendant of its founder to remark: "A country without a leading beer brand is like a man without potency."
PAKISTAN - Murree Beer
Murree is only legally available within Pakistan, due to the prohibition of exportation of alcohol from the country. While sales of alcohol are just beginning to catch on in any large way, Murree Beer is already popular in clubs and liquor shops.
PHILIPPINES - San Miguel Pale Pilsen
The brewery behind San Miguel Pale Pilsen, San Miguel (duh), has a market share of around 95% in the Philippines.
POLAND - Zywiec
Widely considered to be an emblem of Poland and a source of national pride, Zywiec features a man and a woman dancing around the Polish coat of arms on its label. They're really going for the Polish vote on this one.
ROMANIA - Ursus
Ursus's slogan in Romania is "The King of Beers in Romania". Ursus is also a genus of bear. But it's not "The King Of Bears", in Romania or anywhere else. Because that title goes to Mike Ditka.
RUSSIA - Baltika
There's no hiding the fact that Russians drink a lot. It's usually vodka, but in a pinch (for example, when multiple bears are hoarding the vodka), some of them will occasionally turn to beer. That beer is usually Baltika.
SCOTLAND - Tennent's Lager
While Scotland's beer scene is a bit difficult to distill down (hehe) into a representative brew, Tennent's is easily the most popular lager in the country.
SINGAPORE - Tiger Beer
Tiger Beer was founded in Singapore in 1932, and today can be found in more than 60 countries. It is not brewed inside Charlie Sheen.
SOUTH AFRICA - Castle Lager
South Africa receives beer exports from many other nations (Heineken and Guinness being notable favorites), but the most recgonizable beer coming from within the country is Castle Lager, which even won the "World's Best Bottle Lager" award at the International Brewing Industry Awards in 2000.
SOUTH KOREA - Hite
The people of South Korea are more often than not soju drinkers, but when they do want a beer, it's usually top-selling rice beer Hite.
THAILAND - Singha
The Singha is a powerful mythological lion... and now you can drink it! It might be neck-and-neck with competitor Chang Beer, but c'mon -- Singha's gonna win every time.
TURKEY - Efes Pilsener
Efes, a large European beverage group, produces the flagship Efes Pilsener, which is said to have a sweet flavor resulting from rice added at points during the brewing process.
VENEZUELA - Cerveza Polar
Production of this polar bear-adorned beer began in the 1940s, and is still going strong today -- it's the largest brewery in Venezuela! Pairs well with arepas.