Thai Post 2 – Thai Beers

prologue; often when I go on holidays I write a journal, random thoughts scrawled down in a book of some sort, often with a beer in hand. Last October (2011) I went to Thailand, scrawled a few things, think I’ll post them. This one is on beer…

17/10/2011 Railay, Thailand.

It’s about 9 pm and thanks to a bout of food poisoning for Jacqui I’m dining alone.

This means I have spent an afternoon with a very unwell girlfriend and, as part of that I ended up watching a terrible girl surfing movie “Blue Crush 2”. As I missed “Blue Crush 1” I have no idea if this movie was an improvement on the original.

The upside of all this (if I can call it that) is that I get some time alone to write in my journal. In the past I have spent a lot more time writing in my journals. Not so much on the last couple of trips.

My journal from Canada “The Serenity Journals” from a trip in ??? actually I can’t remember but its been long enough for people I traveled with to get married, get divorced and have kids since (that is spread between the whole crew) it was 2002? no 2004?

Anyway not so much writing these days, more lying by the pool and reading. Right now this reading and lying is happening poolside in Raylay Thailand. I am also sampling the local beers. I do not need to add that Thailand is not a mecca for beer geeks. Its more a tropical beauty with excellent food, beaches, weather and where I’m staying excellent sunsets.

The beers however are cold, food friendly and cold. They are also cheap. Did I mention that the weather is hot and the beer is cold?

ah yes, now for a cold beer

OK so now to the beer reviewing. Three beers, Chang, Tiger and Singah. All locally produced lager that can be purchased from most any bar or shop in Thailand (as well as more than a few Aussie bars and bottle shops). I’ve also seen another beer with a lion on the bottle. Havent tried it yet, but will give it a go if I get a chance. There are also a couple of imported beers here, Miller Genuine draft (draft beer in a bottle? really?) and Heineken. I’m going to give these a mis. I cannot see how these beers offer anything that the locals can’t deliver. Now on to the beers.

Chang. Through some quirk as well as being the cheapest beer in Thailand Chang is also the strongest at 6.4% ABV (I think that’s right, working off memory here). The last time I was in Thailand people spoke of this as being an inferior beer, full of chemicals that played some role in the nasty hangover it was rumoured to deliver. I strongly doubt that the beer is “full of chemicals” but as it has a boozy hot ferment character to it, and a higher than average ABV for beers of this nature, or certainly more than its local rivals. I think that the likelihood of this beer kicking your beer is high, much like Coopers Sparkling, or Red as I prefer to call it. Drinking 5 of these is like having 6 of the other alternatives. The boozy, and a little sweet note on this beer reminds me of hot fermented beers. Perhaps even a Belgium ish profile, or maybe a bad homebrewed version of this. It makes sense to imagine that this beer is fermented hot, I mean its bloody hot here.

I don’t want to try to say that Coopers Sparkling and Chang are similar beers, but I think they fill a similar role in their respective countries. Both pale, higher than average ABV, fairly crisp and easy to put away, but with the ability to be falling down beers. I need to add here that i really like Coopers Red, apart from the falling down bit.

Now to Tiger. A well packaged yet unremarkable beer that I really havent been getting into on this trip. I’ve drank plenty of it in the past (a fair few years ago) but it just seems too sweet for me. Not a bad beer, it’s just that it’s a passenger in the long tail boat of Thai beers. And that will do for that.

Now to Singah. According to the bottle on my table, the original Thai beer since 1933. Is going very well with my Pranang chicken curry. I’d say that this beer goes well with more or less all of the food I’ve had in Thailand (which has all been good except for what ever poisoned Jacqui). This includes a full range of spicy noodle soups, stirfries and curries, as well as pizza and burgers (surprisingly the margarita pizza at the Railay Bay Resort is really good). It even went well with the lamington fried prawns. OK that’s my name for them, on the menu they refered to them as coconut battered fried prawns. I’m certain they were inspired by a deep-fried lamington (how good would that be?).

It’s an easy drinking food friendly beer. Not much malt, a little bit of bitterness, no after taste beer. It’s also my pick of the three beer with Chang sitting in a close 2nd place.

So as the Singah takes a little of the Pranang curry heat of my lips, that will do for this evening.

Idle Cheers

D

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