The Great Thai Beer Tasting
You’re hanging out on the beach after sending some awesome routes and the sun is beating down on you. Nothing sounds better right now than an ice cold beer. But which beer do you choose? Have no fear, RollGlobal has undertaken rigorous research to bring you scientific data on the best beers in Thailand.
You can get foreign beers in Thailand but they are really expensive and not much better than the Thai beers. As a side note it appears that Heineken is the most distributed beer in the world, too bad that fact doesn’t make it taste any better than the local stuff. There are 6 main Thai beer brands available in most places. They are Singha, Singha Light, Chang, Leo, Archa, and Cheers. We also tried Siam Sato, which we mistook for beer, but we quickly learned it is really cheap (and terrible) rice wine. On the price scale Cheers is most expensive, followed by Singha and the others all come in about the same.
Thai beers generally come in 330ml or 640ml sizes. This is where decision time comes in: you know more than one beer is in your future so do you buy the big beer so you can save a little money and make fewer trips to the beer vendor or do you buy the small beer so you can enjoy your beers cold? Personally we opted for the latter because we found out from experience that warm Thai beer is terrible. But when you know what you’re getting yourself into before you choose, you can maximize your drinking experience.
And now for the taste test. As with any scientific process you first need to gather materials. For this we headed to our local 7-11. We picked up one of each beer and were thoughtfully given straws with each can. We tried each beer both cold and warm because there is no way to avoid a few swigs of warm beer while on Ton Sai and some (I’m looking at you, Chang) taste considerably worse than others. Our good friend Kevin weighed in on the beer rating. We intended to judge based on color, mouth feel, alcohol content, and taste (both warm and cold). But they are all the same color and mouth feel is kind of irrelevant especially after tasting a few. So here are some notes we took about them. Read on to find out the winner of the great Thai beer tasting.
“The Original Thai Beer;” 5% ABV; $0.95; Mascot – Lion
Kyle: Tastes bland, but isn’t so bad you can actually taste some malty sweetness.
Briana: Good clarity, nice head retention, why have we been drinking Chang for months?
Kevin: I don’t know what you call it but it’s about as good as miller light, which is not.
“The light of your life; smooth, cool and refreshing;” 3.5%ABV; $0.90; Mascot – also the lion
Kyle: This has even less flavor, if that’s possible.
Briana: Surprisingly water-like.
Kevin: I call that being more smooth, but why would they make a beer with less alcohol and expect people to buy it?
“Full flavored lager;” 6.4% ABV; $0.75; Mascot – Elephant
Kyle: Terrible mouth feel.
Briana: Initial alcohol flavor with water-like aftertaste. This is kind of flat, how does that even happen?
Kevin: Tastes like metal
“Smooth and Great Taste;” 5% ABV; $0.75; Mascot – Leopard
Kyle: Kind of sweet but otherwise no taste.
Briana: This is just like PBR, which is not that bad and totally drinkable.
Kevin: I could drink this, but I got an Asahi why don’t we just drink that and skip the rest?
“Finest Quality Lager;” 5.4% ABV;$0.75; Mascot – Horse
Kyle: This is kind of more flavorful than Leo but not as much flavor as Chang.
Briana: I think by flavor you mean alcohol taste.
Kevin: I can’t even tell anymore they all taste the same.
“Gold medal quality beer;” 5% ABV; $1.10; Mascot – Past awards
Kyle: This is pretty smooth.
Briana: Yeah, smoother, rounder, soft finish. Too bad it’s expensive.
Kevin: I think you’re just giving into the clever marketing. Seeing as how it says smooth on the can.
“Something in Thai that likely says that it’s is not actually beer;” 8% ABV; $0.44; Mascot – Person in traditional dress
Kyle: Whoa people actually drink that stuff?
Briana: It’s not that bad [takes another sip and gags]. Wow this just keeps getting worse.
Kevin: This tastes like gasoline mixed with sugar. There is no way I’m drinking that warm.
The Warm Tasting
Kyle: Well it’s drinkable. I wouldn’t want to drink a full can of it warm, but a couple sips are manageable.
Kevin: Yeah that’s gross.
Kyle: This tastes just like warm Singha
Briana: Yeah I taste no difference between warm Singha and Singha Light.
Kevin: Do we seriously have to keep tasting these?
Kyle: This tastes more like alcohol.
Briana: This is practically undrinkable.
Kevin: Yeah, kind of like Siam Sato.
Kyle: So far this is the most drinkable warm, but I could be too drunk to tell.
Briana: This tastes the same warm as it does cold, just like PBR.
Kevin: Can I poor the next round because I think you gave me too much?
Kyle: Way to give yourself the least amount Kevin, are you even going to try this one?
Kevin: Well you guys wanted to do the warm tasting.
Briana: Wow, super skunky.
Kyle: Man, we still have one more left at least it’s still better than warm Chang.
Kevin: I nominate you to finish that I’m going for a cold one.
Briana: We’re all in this together, there’s not that much, take one for the team.
Kyle: We still have the Siam Sato what should we do with it?
Kevin: The only thing that is good for is removing paint.
Briana: [Tastes a little bit more] Ok, fine, pour it down the toilet.
With the highest alcohol content we can see why Chang is popular, but just make sure you don’t get caught with it warm. In the end the consensus was that while Cheers Beers tasted the best Leo was by far the best beer for your Baht. Now if I could only find some place to purchase matching his and hers Leo tank tops…