Thai Beers: Debunked

For many expats such as myself, you come to Thailand thinking its going to be a binger just like the movies told you. And for many it is. Take a stroll down Khaosan Rd. in central Bangkok and you can see plenty of expats and tourists alike filling their bellies with the sauce, the strong stuff and having a hell of a time doing it.

While that may be the reason some people came to Thailand, that is not what I am here to do, I’ll save that for Berlin, where the beer is cheap, cold and ever-flowing.

Thailand is really all about the little things, the stuff you need to see but simply don’t. The beer here is something to take a closer look at if you ever have a chance.

Generally in most Thai shops you have three or four options for beer. You got your Chang, your Singha, your Leo and may a Beer Lao as far as local beers go. Each one is a pilsner style and comes in either .33 ml bottles or .62 ml, my size of choice with an alcohol content floating around 5%.

I noticed that the booze here is disproportionately expensive when you consider the food price. A can of Chang in a restaurant can easily cost the same if not more than your chicken curry at nearly every place you end up.

While it is cheap for Western standards paying 1.50 for a meal and then 2 dollars for a drink doesn’t make sense.

Regardless of this I still appreciate Thai her for what it is and what it serves.

What you may not have known is that each brand represents an animal sacred in Thai culture and the name of the beer is in fact the animal. If you follow me “Chang” in Thai means “elephant” and the mascot of Chang is indeed two elephants. The same follows for Singha “lion and Leo “Leopard”. Thai’s often pick the beer depending on what night they want to have as they generally last about the same.

What you could have expected but didn’t want to accept is that yes, here too is a booming microbrew culture reminiscent of the American brewing style, and they do a damn good job. Soon, even all the way in Thailand, bearded men wearing scarves and Birkenstocks will too be sitting in a brick building evaluating the hops to malt ratios of  a flight of IPA’s. And I can’t wait to be a part of it.



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