Beer Lao is so much more than a beer. It reflects Lao culture so perfectly. There are some cultural rules surrounding Beer Lao, that I quickly found out.
#1: It must be had with ice cubes. Many of my Lao friends will refuse to drink it, unless there's a fresh heap of ice cubes in their glass. These ice cubes can sometimes partially save you from the worst hangover imaginable, which Beer Lao proudly delivers approximately 3 hours after you start drinking it.
#2: It is shared. A far cry from American beer culture where every person buys their own bottle and drinks only their own bottle; Beer Lao is a social beer. It is bought in large bottles by a group of friends, who then go through them one by one together, pouring the beer into small glasses. You never have your own bottle of it.
#3: It is finished. No one is going anywhere, including you, until the entire series of bottles has been gone through. We are all in it together. We all go down together.
#4: You pour for each other. And, if you have any self-respect as a friend, all of your friend's glasses will be filled up immediately and often prematurely.
#5: You must clink glasses and cheers, often. Approximately every other sip, you all have to clink glasses and say "nyok nyok." Once in a while, someone will "mot" you, and that means you have to drain your entire glass.
#6: You can't cheat: If you are 'motted', you must respect the 'mot.' You can't pretend to drink. Besides, people will notice.
#7: More beer must be procured subtly, whenever there's the slightest risk of running out of bottles.
#8: You most boldly display your drunkenness
#9: Any wishes to abstain or 'go easy' will be promptly ignored. Begging illness, religion, preference, health, will do nothing help you.
#10: Whenever possible, foreigners must be drunk into a beautiful stupor. This usually isn't too hard, as most foreigners usually haven't shared beer with lao people before.
#11: Everyone you vaguely know (or sometimes don't know) must be invited over to have a glass. You must also make them drunk too.
Beer Lao traditions, like Lao people, reflect a focus on sharing, community, openness, and fun/silliness.