Unregulated & Refreshing: Thai Beer

Lots of posts about Japanese beer but none about Thai beer yet!   So, after a minor working holiday with a vacation long weekend following, figured I should remedy it.  
Wine was rarely available and very costly in Japan so I was hoping for some offerings in Thailand.  But, it appears to be the same.  Costly and a bit difficult to come by. I do enjoy beer and particularly in hot weather which both places have had plenty of!!!  
I had my first glass of wine last Wednesday and it just wasn’t that satisfying so I happily have returned to beer with the occasional cocktail or hard alcohol.  
There seem to be three predominant Thai beer brands: Chang, Leo and Singha. Beer is sold in 330mL cans or 640mL bottles.  I have been told that the domestic beer is unregulated and some bottles are super strong and others have low alcohol content.  However, this doesn’t really seem to be the case from my experience except from Chang beer.  It is a bit of a surprise it seems.  
Chang is the pronounciation of the Thai word for Elephant, the nations beloved animal.  The bright green bottles and Thai style elephant logo are distinct.  Being unregulated, you never know with each bottle what percentage of alcohol you’ll get.  It’s a bit like roulette!!  Chang is usually medium priced. It’s my go-to beer as its very available, even in the village I live in.  The small convenient store two doors down from the volunteer house we adfectionaely call “Old Lady Shop” because of its proprietor who, bless her, often will even sell beer through the gates in her nightgown if she hears you searching for beer after she closes.  Hmmm, now I realize that  I don’t know, in fact I have no idea, what time she actually closes.  It’s possible it’s not a consistent time. She seems to be open every day unless she is ill. 

Leo has a picture of a tiger and is milder.  It costs less than Chang and its taste is refreshing.  Old Lady Shop stores beer in the freezer as it comes in large bottles (or cans which are found in the usual beverage fridge) which are too tall to fit in the typical sized fridge. Usually there are lots of Leo in the fridge as Chang is more popular and goes more quickly. Leo is generally the cheapest beer. 

My favourite, though, if I can find it, is Singha.  A Thai stylized Buddhist character that appears to my western eye to be dancing makes up the logo and I find it a bit expensive but downright delicious and refreshing on the hot days in Thailand. 

Both Chang and Singha also produce bottled water. I actually had Singha water before the beer and loved the logo so much my friends told me it’s actually a beer company, so I tried it out next time I saw a bottle and…. lol and behold a love affair began. 

Anyway, perhaps one day local beer in Thailand will become regulated which I think will take some of the fun and mystery of it away, but I expect the fresh taste will remain forever. 
Cheers!  Chalk dee!   


4 thoughts on “Unregulated & Refreshing: Thai Beer”

  1. I loved all three of these Thai beers when I visited Thailand this spring. I think that Chang will always be my favorite because it has so many amazing memories tied to it – evenings in bars that were basically living rooms with fellow-volunteers & drinking it from empty water bottles during Songkran. Great times and thanks for sharing your perspective on Thai beer! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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