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What Is Red Horse Beer? The Philippines' Most Popular Beer

Norah Clark
Red horse beer in a bucket.

Red Horse Beer is a popular and strong lager in the Philippines, known for its robust and distinctive flavor.

As one of the country’s signature beers, it holds a special place in Filipino culture and has a widespread fan base.

I want to take you through the history and impact of Red Horse Beer on the Philippine beer scene.

A Guide To The Philippines’ Beer Scene

The beer landscape in the Philippines is primarily dominated by two brands: San Miguel and Red Horse. San Miguel Light, or SML, is a popular light beer influenced by American brewing preferences.

On the other hand, San Miguel Pilsner (SMP) is a well-loved beer in the Philippines and is often exported to countries with a significant Filipino population.

Red Horse beer in an ice bucket. Credit: Unknown
Red Horse beer in an ice bucket. Credit: Unknown

Red Horse is considered a 'masculine' beer due to its robust flavor. Filipino Rum and Brandy are also popular choices, with a strong global presence.

The History of Red Horse Beer

San Miguel Corporation, a major beer producer in the Philippines, introduced Red Horse Beer in 1982. At the time, the market was ripe for a stronger lager, and Red Horse, with its 8.2% alcohol content, filled that void. Since its inception, Red Horse has become a popular choice.

Red Horse Beer’s Awards and Accolades

Red Horse Beer has received recognition for its quality, earning two gold medals at the Australian International Beer Awards. While Australian beers such as Castlemaine XXXX and Fosters may be more well-known, Red Horse’s awards show that it is a strong contender in the world of lagers.

Red Horse Beer’s Role In Filipino Society

Red Horse Beer, particularly its 500ml bottles, is popular among the Filipino working class. Its strong taste and character make it a favorite at parties and gatherings.

However, it’s worth noting that the term “wife-beater” has been used to describe strong beers, including Red Horse, due to their ability to intoxicate quickly.


Red Horse beer with a sunset background. Credit: Unknown
Red Horse beer with a sunset background. Credit: Unknown

What Does Red Horse Beer Taste Like?

Red Horse Beer has a strong bitter taste, which sets it apart from other beverages in the Philippines.

While it may not be everyone’s 'cup of tea', its bold flavor has garnered a loyal following among those who appreciate a brew with a kick.

Red Horse is available in 500ml bottles and smaller 330ml cans.

Read also: Cooking With Beer – A Chef’s Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

What alcohol content level is Red Horse?

Red Horse is a type of alcoholic beverage known as a strong lager. With an alcohol content of 8.2%, it is considered a robust and potent beer popular in the Philippines.

What is Red Horse beer made of?

Red Horse Beer is made from a combination of water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. Like other lagers, it undergoes a fermentation process that produces its distinct flavor profile and higher alcohol content.

Is Red Horse the strongest beer?

While Red Horse is considered a strong beer, there are many other beers with higher alcohol content, such as BrewDog’s Tactical Nuclear Penguin (32% ABV) and Snake Venom (67.5% ABV). However, Red Horse is one of the strongest beers produced in the Philippines.

Is Red Horse a good choice of beer?

Red Horse is a popular and well-liked beer in the Philippines, known for its robust and bitter taste. Its bold flavor and higher alcohol content have earned it a loyal following among those who appreciate a more potent brew. Whether or not it is considered a “good” beer is subjective and depends on individual preferences, but it is definitely worth trying if you’re looking to explore the Filipino beer scene.

Profile Image Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, Editor of Boyd Hampers! Norah is a food writer with over a decade of experience in hospitality as a pastry chef, sous chef, and barista; former chef at the Savoy Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Plaza Hotel.

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