What Is The Best Alternative To Kingfisher?

indian beers

According to Buzzfeed; a website as synonymous with journalistic integrity as it is with intricately catalogued pictures of potatoes that look like Channing Tatum, the best beer in the world is, Kingfisher. And that’s not as far fetched an idea as it may seem to us Indians and our overwhelming inferiority complexes. Kingfisher Strong was conferred a very similar title back in 2013, so clearly the world appreciates something that we’ve always known; Kingfisher is masterpiece. This mighty lager, brewed to perfection in a Willy Wonakesque factory in Aurangabad, is perhaps the greatest achievement of our nation since the invention of 0. But what if, like its owner, it suddenly just disappeared? Is there another great Indian beer that could ever take it’s place? Let’s find out:

The criteria I selected are fairly simple. The beer needs to be the proud embodiment of Indian exceptionalism, so no Budweiser, not that it would ever make the cut to begin with, no Corona, because it triggers my PTSD, and sadly; no Tuborg. I’ve decided to ignore the fact that most Indian beers are technically owned by foreign companies, because being run by Europeans is a proud Indian tradition. The second rule, is that the beer needs to be available at all liquor stores; regardless of which part of Maharashtra you’re in. And finally; it has to be mass produced, so all craft beers are eliminated. I also made this rule so I wouldn’t have to suffer the indignity of being forced to drink Bira White.

After much analysis, drinking, and struggling to collect my thoughts, I was able to narrow down the search to not one, but three possible heirs apparent;


For generations, brave travellers to the distant land of Goa spoke of a stout brew that dulled the senses and soothed the weary. They called it Kings. For the longest of time it was out of the reach of people who couldn’t afford to go to Goa or didn’t have any friends who could smuggle it across state lines. All that changed in 2015 when Kings finally started being sold in Mumbai’s liquor stores, it’s a good Rs. 20 more than a bottle of Kingfisher but still a hell of a lot cheaper than going to Goa every time you need your fix. Kings is a stout beer and rather bitter, but most importantly, it tastes of Goa.

London Pilsner

London Pilsner as its name suggests comes from the small British colony of Wadala, Mumbai. It’s to Bombay what Kings is to Goa; it’s a drink of the people and in many ways one of the most genuine beers out there, once you get past the misleading name obviously. As far as beers go, London Pilsner (or LP as they call it on the streets) is fairly light and pleasant to taste, a lot like Kingfisher Premium. It’s not the most exciting beer out there and despite its reputation of being uncouth and classless is actually pretty tame and civilised. It’s the cheapest beer on the list, a good 15 bucks cheaper than a bottle of Kingfisher even though it’s pretty much the same in every other way; it even has Kingfisher engraved on the bottle. London Pilsner is the only true Bombay beer in existence, it’s about time we showed it some respect.


Haywards is the wildcard of the beer universe, you either love it or hate it, there is no in between. It takes a veteran beer drinker to truly appreciate the bitterness that a Haywards 5000 leaves in your mouth. If you’re looking for a pure, unadulterated beer to get your kick, then Haywards is the way to go, though I have to warn you, it’s strong; really, really potent. It makes Kingfisher Strong look and taste like virgin snow, and takes some time to get used to, but once you get to know it you’ll never look back.

The Decree

Of the three great challengers to the throne, I would have to bestow the title of Best Kingfisher Alternative, to London Pilsner. It’s by no means everyone’s favourite beer, but it takes everything we love about Kingfisher, particularly the smooth and refreshing taste, and does so for significantly cheaper. LP drinkers are the lepers of the beer world, but I’m certain once more people truly experience the impeccable form of this incredible brew, they will see the error of their ways, and repent for their insolence.

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