Hong Kong is ranked the second most expensive city worldwide for beers… unless you know what brands to buy.
It’s stupidly easy to break the bank on a night out Hong Kong. A pint at any given bar will run you $50HKD if you’re lucky, or $80+ if you pick that shiny new place with the cool decor. God help you if you ever need to buy a round for your coworkers.
To help you avoid the phantom pain of an empty wallet, here’s a handy compilation of the best cheap beers in Hong Kong. With the exception of one, every beer on this list can be found at your local convenience store. Yep, you bet that includes the Club 7-Elevens in Lan Kwai Fong.
Note: All prices refer to 500ml tall boys, taken from 7-Eleven. Quasi-Local is in no way affiliated with any of these brands, no matter how much I wish we were.
5. Hoegaarden | $19 – Best ‘Girly’ Beer
For those of us who from North America, think Kronenbourg Blanc, but better.
Hoegaarden is a wheat beer hailing from, well, Hoegaarden (Belgium), that is well worth its steep price of $19 (though convenience stores often run discounts when you run two cans).
On a hot, sweaty day, there’s nothing more refreshing in the 7-Eleven beer cabinet than a cold Hoegaarden. Better yet if you can find a bar pouring it from tap. Squeeze in a slice of lemon or orange and you’re in beer heaven. Oh god, even talking about it makes me drool…
Anyway, if you’ve ever found yourself enjoying the taste of a Belgium White, then you owe it to yourself to at least try Hoegaarden. Careful though, one Hoegaarden could lead to many more. And if any heathen dares to tell you Hoegaarden is a ‘girly drink’, then give them the finger and often them a sip. I guarantee their attitude will do an immediate 180. In the 0.001% chance that doesn’t happen, then you better run, ’cause you just picked a fight.
Of course, since today’s theme is about cheap beeru‘s, let’s proceed onward to greener pastures.
4. Blue Girl | $16 – Most Palatable
In terms of palatability, Blue Girl is hands down my favorite beer in Hong Kong.
Blue Girl is a sweet pale lager (whatever that means) that goes down dangerously smoothly. In other words, yes, it kind of tastes like water – which, depending on your goals, can be a very desirable trait. This is a beer that won’t make you gag on a long night out in Lan Kwai Fong.
Were it not for its hefty price of $16 per can, Blue Girl would rank much higher on our list.
3. Tsingtao | $10 – Most Distinctly Chinese
You can’t travel through Asia without trying Tsingtao, so this one’s a little bit of a no brainer.
Since it’s inception, Tsingtao has long puzzled scholars and people-too-lazy-to-Google-aka-me alike as to why the hell it’s called Tsingtao and not Qingdao – where the friggin’ beer is made.
Seriously man, not only is Qingdao easier to pronounce, it would also save many drunken debates as to whether the ‘T’ in Tsingtao is silent or not. Kind of like how no one seems to know how to say Tsim Sha Tsui.
As for its taste, I honestly don’t know what to say. Tsingtao tastes like regular beer. Not bad, but nothing noteworthy either. But hey, it’s cheap and it’s distinctly Chinese.
Tsingtao is sold in two versions: a) Tsingtao Lager, aka OG Tsingtao, which comes in its native green packaging;
b) Tsingtao Draft, which is unpasteurized (also don’t know what that means) and has a smoother aftertaste. But most importantly, it’s cheaper by a few dollars. So clearly, the Draft is the superior Tsingtao.
2. Blue Ice | $9 – Coolest Name + Most Local
Get it? ‘Coolest name’, because it’s ice? Ice is cool? Okay, whatever.
Blue Ice, brewed locally in the New Territories, has always been my go-to for two reasons: its price and its flavor. Price wise, while it retails for $9, you can often find it on sale at $13 for two. Considering two tallboys means an entire litre of beer, that’s pretty darn good bang for your buck!
On the taste side, your mileage may vary depending on how much you want your beer to taste like actual beer. I’ve had friends (plural) swear off Blue Ice because they hate its taste. For me, I usually just want to get drunk, so Blue Ice is perfect, as it packs absolutely zero bitterness and tastes even more watery than Blue Girl (Blue Girl is infinitely classier if status is what you’re going for).
On a side note, I should mention that Blue Ice currently boasts a whopping score of 1.47/5 on RateBeer and 2.26/5 on Untappd. If you toss out Blue Ice after the first sip, don’t come saying I didn’t warn you.
1. Party Beer | $3 for 330ml – Best Value
Remember in the opening when I talked about how there’s one beer you won’t find in Convenience stores? This is it, and there’s good reason for it.
Party Beer tastes like poop. It’s probably the worst beer you’ll ever have. The fact that I can’t even find its website on Google should give you a pretty clear idea as to what you’ll be getting into. God knows what kind of chemicals goes into it, but you won’t find a cheaper alternative in Hong Kong. At $3 a can, you can get a 6-pack with a $20 bill and still have enough change to buy half an ice cream cone at McDonald’s.
Brave souls can buy Party Beer at supermarkets like Wellcome or ParknShop. Not every location carries it, so you may have to run around a little. Kai Bo, a super local supermarket chain you’ve probably never noticed, sells Party Beer for 33% cheaper at $2 a can (the last time I checked, anyway, which was some time ago).
For those traveling on a dime or if you’re going to be drinking with an acquaintance you really hate, I wholeheartedly recommend Party Beer.
Tried any of these beers? Know of better options? Let your fellow Quasi-Locals know in the comments below.