For years, Corona has shrewdly marketed itself as the beer to order at any beach, anywhere, claiming to possess "the unparalleled flavor of relaxation." Whatever that means. Personally, television ads featuring tropical shorelines and a soundtrack of crashing surf won't persuade me to buy a bottle of fizzy corn juice disguised as alcohol. Besides, I'd rather drink something brewed locally. Which is why I was happy to share some of my recent beach beer finds in the September issue of Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia.
No, Grupo Modelo's popular lager isn't particularly hard to come by in Thailand, Cambodia, or Vietnam, but given the choice, I'll take a fruity Red Ale or a citrus-tinged Passion Beer at Nha Trang's Louisiane Brewhouse any day of the week. Reserve an umbrella and a beach chair with views of the South China Sea for 35,000 Vietnamese đồng (about $1.68) and spend a leisurely afternoon choosing a favorite by working your way through their tasting tray ($4.80 for four 200 ml glasses). Or, if you find yourself island hopping in Cambodia and craving some refreshment with a shade of bitterness, ask for Clouded Leopard Pilsener (usually around $2), made by Kingdom Breweries in Phnom Penh. The mildly spicy Saaz and Hallertau hops used in this beer mean that even without a wedge of lime, you can count on plenty of taste.