If there’s one thing backpackers love above all else, it’s cheap beer. Thailand has it in spades, though it might not always taste as wonderful as the wide array of choices here in the States. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t test the waters, though. Here are some of the best and most popular beer brands found in Thailand.
Chang certainly won’t be popping up on anyone’s list of favorites, but it is far and away the best bargain for your buck when in Thailand. It’s famous for what’s affectionately known as the “Changover,” a massive hangover that generally occurs from drinking more than your fair share’s worth thanks to ridiculously low prices. This light pale malt has next to no head, but the flavor is better than PBR and enough to satiate the budget backpacker in all of us.
Taopiphop was recently in the news after being arrested for operating a microbrewery. Undeterred, he’s since moved his brewing operations to Stone Head Brewery in Cambodia in order to comply with the law, and Hurster is the delicious, once-forbidden fruit of his endeavours. A Saison, it comes with floral notes that are to be expected, and it pours a light-medium amber colour. Available at several bars in Bangkok.
Chalawan Pale Ale
“Chalawan” is an old Thai word for alligator, and much like its namesake it certainly bites, with fruity, slightly sour notes. At 4.7% it’s an easy drink for those long, hot nights, with an exotic taste to suit its tropical climate. Phuket’s Full Moon brewery is one of the breweries leading the craft brewery charge in Thailand, with this beer taking gold in the World Beer Awards 2016.
Eleventh Fort Black India Pale Ale
With an overall score of 94 on, Eleventh Fort’s Black India Pale Ale is about as far removed from a Chang you’ll find in Thailand. Dark brown in colour, it’s malty with coffee and chocolate notes and very drinkable. Good, long-lasting head with a medium-bitter taste and light carbonation. One of many fine beers that have emerged from the Eleventh Fort brewery in recent years.
What the PUG Citra Bomb
Recognisable by the pug on the label, as the name suggests this is an IPA with a strong citrus flavour. Like citrus fruits, it’s slightly sour tasting yet pleasant, with a herbal, pineapple aroma that’s inviting and intriguing. Deep amber in colour and with good lacing, as well as citrus you’ll find mango and wood notes in this delectable IPA alongside a smooth, medium body.
Silom Pirates Stout
With average temperatures in the 30s, one wouldn’t typically associate Thailand with stout beers, but the Silom Pirates Stout makes it work. With rum and raisin notes, it’s perfect for the heat and more than deserving of its pirate title. At 10%, it’s not one to knock back at a rate of knots, but rather one that’s to be enjoyed. A deep, softly-carbonated typical stout drinking experience, watch out for hints of chocolate and coffee that come through.
(To be continued)
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