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  1. #1
    Cabbaged Member Chittychangchang's Avatar
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    Drinking Thai Craft Beer in Bangkok

    Despite facing fines and jail time for pursuing their passion, home brewers have made Thai beer more diverse and delicious than ever.

    In Thailand, home and small-batch beer brewing remains as illegal today as it was 83 years ago, when the launch of Boon Rawd Brewery (Singha Beer) laid the foundation for a monopolized domestic industry. Yet, in the past few years, a craft beer rebellion, led by an eccentric cast of home brewers, has altered the landscape of Thailand’s drinking culture.

    Almost all Thai “craft beer” is technically home brew, but no matter how the end product is defined, making beer in your kitchen still breaks the local laws. Despite facing fines and jail time for pursuing their passion, home brewers have made Thai beer more diverse and delicious than ever, with porters, pale ales, wheats, stouts, and saisons available in bottles and on draft at dozens of places in the capital alone. You can taste Thailand’s best bootlegs at these Bangkok bars....

    1. Chit Beer
    Essentially a lean-to on Koh Kret, a small island in the middle of the Chao Phraya River, Chit Beer may seem one good gust of wind from tumbling into the brown water, but it has nevertheless become a Bangkok mainstay for Thai craft beer. It's run by the lively, eponymous Chit, army colonel by day, rebel brewer by night. (Rebel for now, at least—he recently received a license to open his own microbrewery in the city suburbs). Featuring more than a dozen taps and a fridge full of bottles, the weekends-only bar doubles as a brewing academy, where Chit teaches the tricks of the trade over two days. Stop by for the best selection of Thai-made beer in town: an assortment of ambers, pale ales, porters, and saisons, as well as the much-loved lemongrass kölsch, most of which are brewed by the bar owner.


    2. Changwon Express
    Bangkok's only Korean-Mexican fusion joint also serves Thai craft beer on draft. And it's some of the most consistent Thai beer on the market, too. Owner Ted Ahn, a craft beer enthusiast, selects kegs from locally loved labels Sandport, Happy New Beer, King Kong, and X Beer, among others. The restaurant even boasts its own beer, the Changwon Session IPA, brewed by Happy New Beer, a small operation based in nearby Khao Yai. The kegs change frequently—often multiple times in the same night, which makes the chalkboard the tap list is scribbled on a veritable beehive of activity—but there are usually a few different pale ales to pair with dooroo or kimchi tacos. A narrow space painted black and yellow, with a graffiti-covered accent wall, Changwon Express is only capable of seating maybe 20 people at a time—and at least that many are always there.


    3. Let the Boy Die
    The only bar for miles on the border of Bangkok's warren-like Chinatown, Let the Boy Die cops its name from a line uttered by Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. "Kill the boy and let the man be born," he says. In this context that quote is meant to urge Thai brewers to cast aside fear of failure or running afoul of the law and give the people the beer they crave. The bar has only six taps, at least three of which are typically reserved for the bar owners' brews: Pieak Pipattanaphon’s Goldencoins and Avi Yashaya's Uppercut Brews. But never mind the seemingly limited selection. There's live music each night and cool interior design punctuated by patina on the walls, warm hanging lightbulbs, and long benches designed to encourage conversation. The atmosphere alone makes this one of the most exciting places to try Thai craft beer.


    4. Craft 'N Roll Cafe
    It's a trek to get to this riverside bar, which is so far out it's almost in another province, but those who make the journey are rewarded with 10 taps of quality Thai craft beer in a sprawling and surprisingly relaxed space. The massive waterfront patio is as ideal for sundowners as any location in Bangkok, but Craft 'N Roll also offers more intimate seating in a minimally furnished main floor and a loft that overlooks the bar, where draft beer predominantly comes by way of Sandport and Happy New Beer, both friends of the bar owners. Expect a rotating selection of pale ales and wheat beers from other top labels, as well, like What the Pug and Outlaw Brewing, the latter an expat plying his trade in rural northeastern Thailand.


    5. Where Do We Go
    All puns aside, Where Do We Go is the latest destination-bar to preach the gospel of Thai craft beer. Located in the narrow alleys of the Lad Phrao neighborhood, the bar is loosely connected to Craft 'N Roll Cafe, and it shows in the Spartan decorations, upcycled seating, and raw concrete softly illuminated by hanging lightbulbs. On tap are a mere four beers, but the kegs rotate as soon as they run dry, so you can still try a good half-dozen (or more) brews on any given night. The tap list features the likes of Triple Pearl and Thomas, as well as the ubiquitous Sandport and Happy New Beer.


    CCC

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
    NZdick1983's Avatar
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    ^ Now we are talking! I love craft beer! good thread, Chitty.

  3. #3
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    A friend recommended this place and a group of us had a very enjoyable evening.

    Our Beers | Bees Knees Koh Samui Brewpub

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUser..._Province.html

    The owner gets around the law by brewing on the premises and serving draft direct from the vats. No bootled or keg beer. All the beers are deliberately light and refreshing to suit the tropics, even the porter. The owner Jim is real ale buff and will happily explain the process and you can even enjoy a cheap taster of all 4 beers before you get stuck into a session.
    Recommended for the flavour and the unique hoppy aroma. It actually tastes and smells like proper beer should.

  4. #4
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    It's like Germany but in reverse: a beer law designed to keep the beer pure. Purely shit.

    Only in Thailand.

  5. #5
    Bretzel stroller's Avatar
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    addresses?

  6. #6
    Can I still change this?
    Bogon's Avatar
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    Chit Beer
    219/266 Baan Suan Palm 11120
    089-799 1123

    Changwon Express
    37 Asoke-Dindang Rd Makasan Rachathewi
    10310 Bangkok

    092 251 8661

    Let the Boy Die
    542 Luang Rd, Pom Prap, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok 10100
    082 675 9673

    Craft 'N Roll Cafe
    115 Charan Sanitwong 92 Alley, Bang Ao, Bang Phlat, Bangkok 10700
    098 260 9292

    Where Do We Go
    Chok Chai 4 Soi 78, Lat Phrao, Bangkok 10230
    094 548 2326
    Last edited by Bogon; 23-08-2016 at 01:37 PM.
    Black diamonds? I shit 'em.

  7. #7
    Newbie Thailandnomads's Avatar
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    I want to drink for drunkenly.

  8. #8
    Cenosillicaphobiac
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    Damnit, could have done with reading this thread last month when I was in Bangers.

    Whilst there a google of craft beer Bangkok only came up with 'Craft' a fairly new (for me) beer garden just up the road from Soi Cowboy. I spent a few nights there sampling some lovelies (At the beer garden, not Cowboy). They have 40 beers on tap, mostly American and some British and Kiwi.

    It made me think Bangers is almost a civilised place to live now.

    I'd love to try some local craft beer.
    Sigh, next trip.
    Ronald McDonald never sells to children. He informs and inspires through magic and fun.

  9. #9
    Cabbaged Member Chittychangchang's Avatar
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    Thai craft brewers take on Singha, Chang.... and the law


    The Golden Coins Taproom in Bangkok serves craft beer that, due to regulations, is produced in Vietnam.

    BANGKOK -- The global craft beer wave is lapping at Thailand's shores, igniting a debate over strict rules that limit market access and brand independent brewers as outlaws.

    The Thai beer market is dominated by Boon Rawd Brewery and Thai Beverage, the brewers behind the Singha and Chang brands. Restaurants and bars that serve craft beer and other alternatives are sprouting up around the country, but meeting increasingly diverse consumer tastes has its pitfalls.

    One man serving up distinctive suds is Piek Pipatnapon, owner of the Golden Coins Taproom. The craft beer bar, nestled among restaurants in Bangkok's Ekkamai neighborhood, opened at the end of last year. Crowds start forming around an outdoor counter at about 6 p.m., when the bar opens. Six beers are on tap.

    A 22-year-old Thai university student who was drinking alone said the beers are a little pricey, but the unique flavors make it worthwhile to come back once or twice a week.
    A 70-something British tourist was just happy to sample something other than Singha and Chang, for a change with his side order of sausages.



    Piek said craft beer started to catch on in Thailand a few years ago. His solution for getting around the liquor law was to do his brewing in Vietnam. He shelled out a few million baht -- tens of thousands of dollars -- from his own pocket to open a brewery in Ho Chi Minh City. He is responsible for the flavors and visits the factory several times a month; he said it is an ongoing challenge to adjust his recipes to reflect feedback from customers.

    Costs are another challenge: Transport expenses and import levies of up to 60% really add up.

    Piek lamented that truly top-notch craft beer cannot be made unless Thailand's outdated alcohol law is modified.

    Brewing companies in Thailand are obliged to produce more than 10,000 kiloliters a year and hold over 10 million baht ($286,000) in capital, according to the current law and official notices. Those who wish to sell homemade brews and individually managed stores must produce at least 100kl a year.

    The primary objective is to prevent home brewers from dodging tax payments. But critics of the law say it locks small, independent brewers out of the domestic market.



    Thai craft brewers take on Singha, Chang -- and the law- Nikkei Asian Review

  10. #10
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    The controlling and suppressive Thai beer establishment is under threat.....feeling the squeeze.

    One could only wonder what might become of their products if a free and open market was allowed to work it's magic.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chittychangchang
    Those who wish to sell homemade brews and individually managed stores must produce at least 100kl a year.

    The primary objective is to prevent home brewers from dodging tax payments. But critics of the law say it locks small, independent brewers out of the domestic market.
    Yeah, right.
    Prevent tax dodging by preventing the industry. An illogical excuse for allowing a duopoly.

  12. #12
    Merry Christmas
    DJ Pat's Avatar
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    Chang was ruthlessly cut from it's traditional 6.4% and Singha from its original 6% a few years back... What the fuck were they thinking? That they were gonna sober up the nation?

    Idiots. Luckily I'm not a regular drinker now but the injection of a strong Chang while having a few 'regular' beers was mind bending at times.

    Does a Changover still exist?

  13. #13
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    A 70-something British tourist was just happy to sample something other than Singha and Chang, for a change with his side order of sausages.
    wonder if he is a member here?

  14. #14
    Sukhumvet
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    Phuket Lager, sold mostly to foreigners in small bottles, used to be brewed in Nontaburi. They are not doing the outsourcing for quality reasons!

    Government get tax on the importation so unless there is more tax to be made locally then nothing will change.

    All this means to the average Thai is that beer prices will increase.

    They are mostly all bottled Euro-Fizz anyway.
    No one on TD is gay. If suspect, it was probably because of the way they were reared.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Pat View Post
    Chang was ruthlessly cut from it's traditional 6.4% and Singha from its original 6% a few years back... What the fuck were they thinking? That they were gonna sober up the nation?

    Idiots. Luckily I'm not a regular drinker now but the injection of a strong Chang while having a few 'regular' beers was mind bending at times.

    Does a Changover still exist?
    The domestic version of Chang still gives a unique hangover, I believe. Something to do with them short-cutting the brewing time by adding stuff (used to be formaline) to the junkie's piss they have the brass neck to label 'beer'.

    The "Export" variety that gets sent to proper countries is a different brew altogether.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chittychangchang
    A 70-something British tourist was just happy to sample something other than Singha and Chang, for a change with his side order of sausages.
    Heh...

    Quote Originally Posted by taxexile
    wonder if he is a member here?
    Very subtle, tax...

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmart View Post
    The domestic version of Chang still gives a unique hangover, I believe.
    Would not doubt it. Got drunk on it once and never again, the hangover and associated headache made death seem a decent option at the time.

    Just yesterday I noticed Chang are now bottling something (surely not beer?) in Champagne magnum bottles .

  18. #18
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    Chang is vile.

    Sing is a little better...

    Beer Leo is Ok, or San Mig.

    Beer Lao, is easily the best beer - I've tasted in that region.

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat Thai3's Avatar
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    Leo is cat piss, that's what Thais told me when it came out in the late 90's. Pretty sure is was the cheapest at 23 baht for a big bottle. How it became so popular as it is now i'll never know as it has no taste or strength, one of the worst beers in the world IMO. Cheers extra, Red Horse and Lao dark are the only one's worth buying these days, Chang and Sing shot themselves i the foot by continually lowering the strength and the bottle size, maybe they thought nobody would notice. Hope these guys carry on, I do find the term craft beers a bit daft though.

  20. #20
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    ^ Price...It's the cheapest, innit?...Wasn't Budweiser the world's best selling beer?...

    Sheeit!...

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat Thai3's Avatar
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    No it's more than Chang now

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Pat View Post
    Chang was ruthlessly cut from it's traditional 6.4% and Singha from its original 6% a few years back... What the fuck were they thinking? That they were gonna sober up the nation?

    Idiots. Luckily I'm not a regular drinker now but the injection of a strong Chang while having a few 'regular' beers was mind bending at times.

    Does a Changover still exist?
    Chang [domestic] was never beer and remains that way today.

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat Thai3's Avatar
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    The Chang Export did not last long, shopkeepers said Thai no like.

  24. #24
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    Thai beer is just crap across the board. Carlsberg is probably the only domestic beer worth drinking. Expensive though

    There is also another one brewed in LOS that has a picture of a feather on it with some German name. Tastes ok, but can't really find it many places. Feiderstein or something. I don't know. Pretty expensive too.

  25. #25
    Sukhumvet
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    ^ Federbrau.



    Haven't seen that in 7-Eleven for a long time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thai3 View Post
    The Chang Export did not last long, shopkeepers said Thai no like.
    Because more expensive or 5%?

    It's all 5% now so they could bring it back. Oh wait they did. It is called Chang.


    What's the other one that is no longer available, that I used to drink. Not Amarit!
    Last edited by VocalNeal; 28-02-2017 at 12:38 PM.

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