Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
May 25, 2009 11:50 PM

Beer Lao, beerlao in SF

I doubt I will like BEERLAO, but I am interested in analyzing it.

Are there any restos or retail stores *in SF* carrying Beer Lao (beerlao)?
[so, not Champa Garden].

Recent article/NYT:

Older acticle/WSJ:

City Beer? Healthy Spirits? BevMo?

ok tnx.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've never seen it at BevMo or Healthy Spirits. Not sure about City Beer but you could try calling them. I _have_ seen it at Sunset Super on Irving, though it was at least a year ago and probably more. Didn't buy it so can't comment on freshness.

    Beerlao may not be a great beer, but it's likely the best Southeast Asian beer and a welcome quencher when you're in the middle of the Lao PDR and it's 90+ degrees outside. The dark lager (no distribution here AFAIK) I probably drank every single day when I was there. Also bicycled out to the factory and took a 10 minute tour- it's basically like any other Carlsberg factory now, with modern production methods.

    6 Replies
    1. re: bigwheel042

      "likely the best Southeast Asian beer." Better than Singha?

      1. re: Xiao Yang

        I think it's waaaay better than Singha, but definitely inferior to the good microbrews we enjoy in N CA and the PNW

        1. re: bruce3404

          since you know both the beerlao and our native microbrews, bruce3404, how does it compare with the Con Rong Chao Tien, a pale ale conceived by an asian -american brewer originally at sierra nevada, now made at Anderson Brewing in Boonville? for me, the Chao Tien has a pretty ideal flavor/body profile for s.e.asian spicy foods. from the comments, is beerlao a lager, perhaps in the heineken continuum like the Indonesian beers?

        2. re: Xiao Yang

          Easily better than Singha. There's a reason you can barely get the stuff even in Thailand - every time the Thai authorities lower the exorbitant import tax on it, it gobbles up market share from the Thai breweries, causing them to lobby for higher taxes again.

          1. re: bigwheel042

            eh, i like Singha better. But Beer Lao isn't bad!

        3. re: bigwheel042

          I don't know where Beerlao is sold in the Bay Area, but I will say that Beerlao Dark, if you can find it, is surprisingly interesting.

        4. They serve Beerlao at Bagdad Cafe, but they tend to run out of it quickly. It also seems that some of their waiters are not aware that Beerlao is served there, so if your waiter ever gives you a confused look about Beerlao, just ask for a bottle of Beerlao from the manager instead. =)

          Beerlao tastes lovely and it's nicely smooth, but only when the beer is thoroughly chilled (preferably overnight). I've had Beerlao that wasn't cold and unfortunately this beer isn't too forgiving as far as the coldness factor is concerned. Other beers may taste okay even if they're not cold, but Beerlao must be served cold. There's no leeway here.

          5 Replies
          1. re: yummyrice

            Hi, thanks both of you for the advice.
            Although my favorite non-dark beers tend to be stuff like the "Belgian Blanches",
            with summer coming up, I thought I could make an exception to analyze this ...

            YRice: I also like *cold* beer, in spite of what some beer people say about getting more
            taste after they warm up.

            BW042: yes, i suspected it was not especually unique but since i'm heading to Turkey and not the Mekong, i dont think i'll be able to experience it in it's native setting this year.

            that's funny about the BC waiters not knowing about it.

            i'll try to remember to check out SUNSET SUPER next time i go out to
            Yummy Yummy.

            i was excited to be able to pick up a bottle of Rodenbach Grand Cru last time
            i was at City Beer.

            1. re: psb

              If you're able to find and buy Beerlao at a retail store, just remember to put the bottles in your fridge and don't drink them until the following day...there's no exceptions to this rule. =)

              Anyway, most stores don't stock Beerlao but many of them are able to do a special order for Beerlao as long as you provide them with the distributor's contact information. If not, then they'll do a search for the distributor themselves. If I were you, I would just go to your nearest Lucky or Safeway store and have the manager do all of the work for you. They do special orders all of the time.

              1. re: psb

                FYI, I've now been to Sunset Super a few times in the last couple of months and it definitely seems to have disappeared. I also didn't remember seeing it on my first visit to City Beer about a month ago (not surprising as it's more of a curiosity than a beer for the connoisseur).

                1. re: bigwheel042

                  BeerLao is a session beer, for sure. It's not something that's going to tempt me away from, say, Bockor Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge on tap, but for a case to take to a barbecue, it's hard to beat.

                  1. re: bigwheel042

                    When it comes to eating spicy Lao foods, I think a cold BeerLao is definitely the perfect compliment. =)

              2. You could call the distributor (Ken Stutz of Stutz Olive Oil) and ask. When I asked him in February he said he expected to have it in some places in SF soon, but at the time Champa Garden was the only place.


                10 Replies
                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  That's funny, I definitely had a bottle at Lao-Thai Kitchen in Albany before February. I wonder where they were getting it from if not the distributor?

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I believe H.C. Foods Co., Ltd. is the biggest Beerlao distributor in California.

                      Here's their website:

                      Their Beerlao products page:

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    >You could call the distributor (Ken Stutz of Stutz Olive Oil)
                    That fellow does traffic in Lao Beer, but was not able to shed light on any other
                    SF options.

                    Thanks for the suggestion.

                    1. re: psb

                      Here's a running list of locations that offer Beerlao in the SF Bay Area:


                      1. re: yummyrice

                        Thanks for this link, I was on the way to my folks place and stopped at Genes FIne Foods in Pleasanton and they had 2 six packs left which I happily took. I talked to the manager there who said it's a slow seller so he wasn't sure if he was going to order more so anybody in the area that's interested please request it so we can keep another source of this wonderful brew!

                        1. re: oaktown_chow

                          You're welcome. It's a slow seller at that place because no one seems to want to spend money to advertise that they've got Beerlao in stock. There are people looking for Beerlao, but they have no clue where to get it from especially here in the Bay Area. I think if anyone in the Bay Area wants to make some extra cash, they should get into the beer marketing business and start promoting Beerlao and become one of the main distributors. We just need someone to air a Beerlao commercial on any of the local Bay Area TV stations to announce the locations where Beerlao is available. =)

                        2. re: yummyrice

                          Beerlao in Oakland/Easy Bay 2013 summer?

                          Checked the supermarket on 12th st Oakland next to Pho Ao Sen, International Lao market on 14th near 16th Avenue, and Sun Hop Fat #1. None appeared to carry it, only Sun Hop Fat had beer at all.

                          1. re: twocents

                            I don't think I've ever seen it at a grocery around here. In my rounds at Champa Gardens, Chai Thai Noodle, and Souk Savanh, who all have it on their menu my success rate in actually getting one is about 10%.

                            1. re: twocents

                              Cases and cases of Beer Lao stacked up at Champa Garden on Monday.

                      2. They've got it at Chai Thai Noodles now.

                        1. Champa now has both light and dark.