Beer Review: Bangla Premium Beer

SOME rummaging through the off-licenses of Brick Lane brings me to yet another beer from the Sub-Continent. Why do I say “Sub-Continent” instead of “India”, as was the case with Kingfisher Lager Beer and Cobra Extra Smooth Premium Lager Beer? That’s because this one is from Bangladesh. Here is a little bottle of Bangla Premium Beer.

Bangla Premium Beer bottle

The price was reasonable. And there were big versions over 500 millilitres in case you decided you liked this obscure and hard to find beer.

The neck label sums up everything to expect from the labels wrapped around this bottle. Plenty of bright, bold yellows, oranges, greens and golds. And everything written in not only English, but also, presumably, Bengali. So, can anyone out there confirm what language it is? And if you can translate any of it, do please leave a message at the end of this post.

Bangla Premium Beer neck label

As far as what it says, the message is kept simple. “Bangle Premium Beer” says everything you need to know. And what’s better, it doesn’t say “Lager” anywhere on it. Good news indeed.

The front label stays with the lively, colourful style. And it’s one that I like. It’s unlike anything else I’ve seen, and gives it a fantastic and distinctive look.

Bangla Premium Beer front label

The border looks like the decoration you see on the walls of curry restaurants. Normally, that would be cheesy, for this beer, it looks just right. Under the bi-lingual “Bangla Premium Beer”, there’s even a little map of Bangladesh. At the bottom of the label, the alcohol volume catches your eye first. 5.2% is the above-average volume for this beer. Either side of that, are things that look like medals. But I think they are just there for show.

It’s hard to see everything on there properly. And even harder with the photos taken by the Mesolithic era camera phone I’m using for the photos on this blog. There is one solution though; buy the bigger bottle version. Is there any demand out there for me to get the bigger version of this bottle?

The back label keeps things simple. All the details you want to know are there. And in both languages.

Bangla Premium Beer back label

Besides the slightly unusual 5.2% volume, the bottle size is out of the ordinary too. No 330 millilitres here. This is 275 millilitres. Why that is, I’m not sure.

The bi-lingual blocks of text aren’t anything out of the ordinary. The first part reads like a tourist brochure for Bangladesh. The next part purports that Bangla Premium Beer is inspired by Bangladesh’s cultures and “culinary delights”. And, that it’s brewed stronger to go well with “strongly flavoured foods”. Do you think they’re hinting that this should go with a curry? What a novel concept for an Asian beer.

The UK units of alcohol are on there. This little bottle has 1.4, so you’ve got room to have at least two before the Government starts wagging its finger. Like every beer, this one contains barley malt. And they have a website. Theirs can be found at www.banglabeer.co.uk. Although there’s not exactly a world of content to be found there yet.

That’s nearly it from the small print. Apart from one small and disappointing fact. This beer wasn’t imported from Bangladesh. Instead, it was brewed and bottled in Manchester, here in the UK. Disappointed? I am a bit. It’s like going on holiday to Italy and having pizza made over here. Not necessarily bad, but not genuine.

Now though, it’s time to set aside these worries and answer some questions. Such as is Bangla Premium Beer better than other Asian beer? And how does it taste?

Bangla Premium Beer poured into a glass

In the glass, the rationale behind the odd size of bottle becomes clear. It fits the half-pint glass perfectly. Fantastic. All 330 millilitre beer bottles should be replaced by proper half-pint bottles. And 500 millilitres bottles supplanted by full-pints. Who else is with me on this?

The beer itself is golden amber in colour. And the head doesn’t disappear moments after pouring. What you get is a creamy layer sitting on top. Not bad at all.

The smell is good too. It’s a blend of the usual beer smells, but it has some sort of rich quality to it. More emphasis on the malt perhaps. Whatever it is, it’s better than I expected.

All of which prepares you well for taste. Which is also rich. But also smooth and surprisingly full-flavoured. The bitterness is what you notice most. It lingers for a time, but it’s well balanced by the rest of the blend.

Amazingly, this is the most ale-like beer I’ve ever tried. The flavour is rounded out by one of the best blends of ingredients I’ve seen. Besides the tangy, hoppy bitterness, is the presence of everything else. Malted barley probably. All of which make it full-flavoured, rich, smooth and delicious. Staggering for a cheap beer brewed in this country. It’s also refreshing, not gassy at all and very drinkable.

If I had to look for downsides, it would be difficult to find many. Comparing it strictly to big, heavy ales that are full of soil and leaves, you could say that it’s rather light on strong flavours and smells. But that’s unfair, since it only ever calls itself a “Premium Beer”. What is my biggest legitimate complaint? For the time being then, that it’s not imported and that it’s so hard to find. So far, I’m only award of one shop on Brick Lane that sells it. It also doesn’t break new ground as far as flavours are concerned. There are no fruits, honeys or gherkins amongst the flavours.

To conclude Bangla Premium Beer, I recommend you try it. If you can find it. For me, this was the beer that thought it was an ale. It actually has taste and flavour, which is very welcome after the dross I’ve been trying recently. Those flavours are balanced nicely. It’s very drinkable and the whole package is quality.

Rating: 4.2

All of this makes it the best Asian beer yet. It’s better than Cobra Extra Smooth and much better than Tiger and the other utterly average Asian beers on sale in Britain. So if you know a better one, leave a message
Leave a message too, if you can translate anything on there. Or if you have any opinions, corrections, ideas, suggestions or requests.

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18 Responses to “Beer Review: Bangla Premium Beer”

  1. Saimon Hall Says:

    I also believe this a better beer. I discovered, majority of Indian Restaurants (some 12,000, I have been told) are owned and run by Bangladeshi. So, correct brand for Bangladeshi restaurant is Bangla Beer.

    Cobra and Kingfisher is OK, but I think Bangla Beer is better. Sad thing is not many people know about it. The other brands spend huge money in advertising.
    I understand Cobra has ‘satchi and satchi’ working for them. Bangla Beer could do better with campaign.

  2. M A SALIK Says:

    b4 3 wks i sent 3 winer caps of bangla calling card.but i dont get any cards.today i sent another 2 caps,but i dont know when i will get my cards…………………………………….

  3. Mark Harley Says:

    I agree this is a top beer, but I live in Newport (South Wales), but cannot find anywhere to buy it. Anyone know where where I can buy this stuff, I’ve tried to look for websites too, to no avail???

  4. Diarmid Langley Says:

    Hi – just thought I’d point out something to any interested readers…
    Back in 2000, I designed the labelling and glasses for the very first incarnation of Bangla and I can tell you that, despite the name, it’s most definitely NOT from the Sub-Continent, rather inspired by it instead. At the time, Bangla was a new ale being brewed by Refresh UK at the old Usher’s brewery, Trowbridge, Wilts. Refresh have since been bought out by Martson’s, with its Bangla and Lal Toofan (also delicious) brands being sold to LWC Limited, Manchester. Of course, Bangla is still a wonderful drink – so much nicer than either Cobra or Kingfisher (or even Lal itself) and I’d HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who’s looking for the perfect pint with a curry! Just thought some people might be interested in its history is all…

  5. andy dunmore Says:

    does anyone know where we can purchace vast quantities of this sublime beverage , apart from your local banga restaurant?

  6. Derek Gibson Says:

    Just had my first couple of pints of the stuff,was hooked straight away lovely golden colour fully rounded taste.Don’t wish to advertise but you can get it with a really good curry at the Royal Balti House in Farnworth Bolton.Of pheonix nights fame.

  7. Tom Says:

    Definitely going to look out for this one. I can imagine it to taste like Tsing Tao lager but i’m not too sure why, maybe its because of the “well balanced flavours” description you gave it.

    I’ll let you know when (and if) I find a bottle or two! :D

  8. John Bedigan Says:

    I haven’t been able to find this beer since my last favouraite curry house folded, but as a new convert to beer, and very much a novice I have to agree with what you say. For me Bangla knocks every other asian beer into a cocked hat-and maybe that’s because it actually tastes very nearly like an ale(and a good one at that) rather than a relativley tasteless lager, which is the basis of most Asian beers I’ve tasted. Definitely one to hunt out, and not just to drink with a curry.

  9. John Bedigan Says:

    Sorry about the spelling mistakes just now, but I’ve just noticed ‘Tom’ above, and I can assure you mate that there is no similarity with Tsing Tao, which is inded light and refreshing, but simply doesn’t have the body or taste of Bangla. When you find it, you’ll know and I’d be surprised if you were disappointed. Good hunting

  10. Anonymous Says:

    costcutters in ashford kent now sell bangla, so have a peek in your local one ….you may just be pleasantly surprised.

  11. Shak Says:

    I can confirm the writing is indeed in Bangla/Bengali. The front says “shera beer” which roughly translates to “great/premium beer”. The word above “Bangla” is in fact “bangla” in Bangla/Bengali.

    As for the back of it, it is basically a translation of what is written above.

    The only word that really needs to be translated is “chomotkar” which means “spectacular” with a ! at the end.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    The best beer to go with curry EVER. Buying it is difficult but you can get it in 660ml bottles at the Pabna restaurant in Pontefract.

  13. foysal Says:

    wht shud i write? first of all im 21 but i hav been never taste beer.
    bt i ‘ll taste it soon . aftr testng it i ‘ll join with u

  14. Geoff Reid Says:

    Sorry, I meant Saltaire Wines on Bradford Road, Saltaire.

  15. Geoff Reid Says:

    In Idle, an urban village in north-east Bradford there is plenty of good ale to be found. So our local “Taste of Bengal” matches this with Bangla, Sharing a 660 cc bottle between two and then another one seems to work. Meanwhile it is available at Saltaire Wines, actually a specialist beer outlet in the Shipley area – 3 miles away.

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