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The Magic In The Foam: A Look Into Thailand’s Long Overdue Brewing Revolution

The Magic In The Foam:  A Look Into Thailand’s Long Overdue Brewing Revolution - Krabi Magazine article

The Dawn of man began in suds, or so some would say.


 

People have been brewing beer since the dawn of man and civilisation (actually some might even argue that the accidental invention of beer is one of the building blocks and cornerstones of agriculture). With beer comes a variety of flavours and opportunities to dance on ones palette. So why does Thailand not have a multitude of beers to try to compliments the multitude of flavours in their food? The reason is multi faceted, microbreweries in Thailand are very regulated by the government, the desire for new flavours in ones glasses is not so impressively widespread and necessary minimum production quotas make the whole endeavour rather expensive to start up. There are a number of reasons why the government might have these regulations in place, but nonetheless these regulations are looking like they might be loosening up.

There are a number of Thai citizens who have taken to the art of home brewing (the act of making beer in ones home), some of them have gotten so engrossed in the art that they have actually started selling it in local bars and restaurants. The love for these new flavors is taking over Thai society when now in the Hi-So regions of Bangkok and around Thailand it has become hip to drink these home-brewed beers. A number of them have even made names for themselves, and started Facebook pages showcasing their products. Many of these brewers are sold out before the beer is even bottled. These brewers have joined together and are now forming a movement to petition parliament to make home brewing legal and allow these radical brewers to step from the shadows.

A number of them have already stepped from the shadows, some of the many new brewpubs/breweries operating across Thailand can be found on our brewers map. There is even a brewing academy called Chit Beer located on the Chao Praya river in Bangkok. There can you actually learn the art of brewing and create your own recipe.

hops-in-the-garden

Beer is an essential part of our society, over a glass of the suds business ventures are sealed, first kisses happen, sports dynasties are watched and of course numerous laughs are to be had. It can be found in nearly every country (even in dry courts you will find beer), it a building block for our civilisation, a cornerstone for who we are. most of the beer you an enjoy worldwide is a basic lager, most of the major brand names will taste basically the same, Heineken, Tiger Beer, bud Light, San Miguel are just a few of the many basic pale lagers which overwhelm the beer market today. Still over 80% of the beer drank today is this pale lager style, kind of boring but thats changing with the onset of people caring whats in their glass.

beer-foam-on-top

Believe it or not this pale lager style of beer being so widely available is only a recent option to those living in the 21st century. Without the invention of refrigeration, lagers could only be produced during the winter months as it required longer storage times at lower temperatures. Before the onset of refrigeration and modern distribution systems every town and city would have a number of brewers and breweries which would only have their product available in their tavern, or at most a few taverns in relative close proximity. Now you can enjoy a cold Bud light in Bangkok or an icy fresh Carlsberg in Argentina, it basically all tastes the same but lacks feeling, love and energy.

Thailand has been under the chain of the pale lager for decades, now we are starting to see the flowering of a new generation. A certain group more focused on quality, a new generation ushering in a range of sweet pilsners, bold and bitter stouts, robust and smoky porters and a plethora of hoppy ales. These craft brewers concocting up fantastic suds are all hoping that within the next 3-4 years local brewing will be an option to not only multi million dollar multinational conglomerates, but everyday people like you and me.

We talked with the so called grandfather of the brewing trade in Thailand Khun Chit who owns a brewing academy located on the Chao Phraya River in Nonthaburi, just outside Bangkok. He is a self taught brewer and the current main teacher for other aspiring Thai brewers who want to see a change in this ocean of lager. In just over 3 years since opening over 500 students have graduated form his academy, and with the constant pressure for more classes Khun Chit feels Thailand’s population is thirsty for a change and expects home brewing to be completely legal by 2020.

Currently Bangkok is home to some 30 different underground beer labels who are brewing, bottling and selling their good throughout the city, so you might get lucks and find a bar or restaurant which has one of these revered bottles on stock.

chit-beer-pouring-beer

If your interested in attending Khun Chit’s brewing academy get in touch with him on Facebook:

 Chit-Beer

or you can send him an email:

 wichit.saiklao@gmail.com

Classes are ongoing so if your not available for the next class inquire about the next class.

In out stretches of Loei, Thailand A Microbiologist from Canada has been brewing up come great beers from the pale ales, wheat beers to the robust smoky porters and rich stouts, he has been creating a wonder of beers for friends and family to taste and enjoy.

Outlaw Brewing’s lead brewer, a lover of new frontiers is excited for the repeal of the restrictive laws prohibiting those like himself from doing what they love to do. He explains “In Canada we have so many local breweries, each of them is brewing up the next crazy batch, some of these new beers are good, some not so. It doesn’t matter, at least the brewers are inspiring friendly competition, this competition has lead to the creation of some great new styles of beer.” In fact a number of some of the more modern styles of beer are offsprings of these new experimental beers.

Thailand is ushering a new era in creativity, experimentation, and ingenuity. Neighbouring Vietnam has lifted it’s restrictive brewing laws years ago and now home-brewing, and local commercial brewing has taken off, spurring the creation of thousands of jobs, businesses and opportunities for many. Thailand is soon to unveil the magic in the suds and open the asme market for the masses. We all wait in anticipation eager to see how 2016 plays out for home brewers and craft brewers alike, will laws prohibiting home brewing be lifted or will Thailand continue the century old tradition of boring pale lager. Only time will tell.

We urge you to get in touch with Khun Chit at Chit beer, or with Outlaw brewing as both have fantastic brews to try and are at the forefront of the burgeoning beer industry in Thailand.