Friday, July 05, 2013

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Thai Beer But Were Too Drunk To Ask

Every once in a while you come across a piece of writing that just makes you chuckle like a nutter and this quickfire guide to the Thai Beer industry by Teacher Tim 85 on StickmanBangkok.com entitled "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Thai Beer But Were Too Drunk To Ask" is a funny little poke at the alcoholic powers that be in the Land of Smiles:

http://www.stickmanbangkok.com/TEFLInternational/TeacherTim85.htm

 

Of course the Thais have been brewing rice beer in their remote villages for centuries. The recipe is simple; two parts water to one part rice, add a pound of sugar, let sit in the sun for ten days, and then drink. It takes only a pint of this stuff before you start seeing white elephants. After drinking a quart of this stuff you think you ARE a white elephant and head for the Royal Palace in Bangkok.

As an ESL teacher in Thailand, you will, of course, want to investigate the culture of the Thais, and since they guzzle a lot of beer, you should become familiar with the different national brands of the country. The following list was compiled by friends and colleagues of mine in the hopes of enlightening the teetotaler as well as the tosspot. Here’s mud in your eye:

Singha. This is a lager style beer, made from hops, barley, dishwater and a touch of Bristol cream. It should be served ice cold, with ham sandwiches and paid up life insurance policies. It comes in a brown bottle or white aluminum can, and those that drink it regularly say it tastes like Lady Gaga sings. The Singha company promotes a soccer team named The Blastonberry Blatherers in Bangkok, and their mascot is the Singha Lion, which entertains at half-time by telling long, pointless stories and offering to fight anyone who doesn’t like the color green. In past years the mascot has been played by mystery celebrities, like Kim Kardashian and Justin Beiber -- the mystery being how they got to be celebrities in the first place. This year (2012) the Singha Lion is being played by Margaret Thatcher.

Chang. Old expats like to say that they used to put formaldehyde in Chang beer to keep it fresh, since ice, until recently, was a rare luxury. Whether you believe them or not, it is certainly easy to get embalmed with this brand of beer. It is made with hips, hops, hopes, and hoops, with distilled water, and filtered through layers of bougainvillea pollen. Each batch is taste tested by monkeys, who are thrown into the vat and allowed to swim freely for an hour. If none of them drown the batch is declared “Premium” and reserved for holidays. If only two or three monkeys die in the vat, the batch is labeled “What the Hell” and bottled quickly for sale throughout Thailand. It has a bouquet that reminds some people of a sunrise in Cleveland, Ohio.

Leo. This brand is known around Thailand as “the breakfast beer”, for no other reason than that when poured over Rice Krispies it not only makes them go ‘snap, crackle and pop’ but also produces an ear-splitting Swiss yodel. Leo is unique among Thai beers because it does not use any hops; instead it gets a malty, yeasty flavor from roasted gravel. Leo beer is the official beer of the Thai Jute industry, which supplies 90% of all twine world-wide; their slogan is “Tie One On with Leo”. Recent studies indicate that Leo beer contains resins that help prevent osmosis of the sphincter. Some hospitals are now using Leo to disinfect their operating rooms, as well as unclogging drains. Leo has fewer calories than the other major Thai brands, mostly because it contains so much carbon dioxide that most bottles turn completely into foam when opened. To prevent this, beer aficionados will usually serve Leo at room temperature – they won’t drink it themselves, they’ll just serve it that way.

Phuket (pronounced “puke it”). This is a new product from the Boombadeeboomdeeay Brewery. Using a secret formula that combines old style German brewing with the game of ‘tagraw’, the brewing company claims that Phuket beer is so smooth it can be fed to silk worms or wall geckos without harming them. It is also quite high in alcoholic content, so many auto drivers carry a six pack with them in case they run out of gas. This new brand has not caught on in the north or northeast of Thailand yet, but is very popular in Bangkok nightspots that cater to the ever-growing Tickle Me Elmo collectors expat community. Some people have called its taste ‘raw’, but most of those people are dead now anyways, so who cares?

 

Funny farang think too much or drink too much? Sometimes hard to tell but this guy is spot on based on my lengthy experiences and torturous Thai beer drinking sessions and "Changovers".

More Thai focused reviews, commentary and bitter arguments about Chang, Singha, Leo, Cheers and the other usual suspects can be found in the Beer Asia Blog section on Thai Beer: http://beerasia.blogspot.com/search/label/Thai%20Beer

Cheers for now!

 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Global Top 10 and Totally Non-Asian Beer Brands in 2013

Global Top 10 Beers by Brand Value in 2013,  via Kantar "Brandz"
 
This is a nifty update courtesy of Kantar's Global "Brandz" Tracking initiative and while they focus on anything and everything of brand value from electronics to baby formula there is plenty of data focus on international beer brands.

Basically the United States of America is responsible for either making or drinking most of the brands on the list, though some beers are from other parts of the continents of the Americas such as Corona (Mexico), Brahma (Brazil) and Aguila (Columbia).

Europe is well represented by iconic beers like Guiness (Eire) and Stella Artois (Belgium) while Skol remains a beer without a home since it was actually concocted back in the 60's to be the first beer branded for globalised markets from Scandinavia to Africa and is now top selling in Brazil.

Alas poor Asia seems to be completely missing from the list and surprisingly with no signs of China's Tsingtao, Singapore's Tiger or Thailand's Chang, in fact probably Heineken would have the most Asian credentials out of the top 10 thanks to its recent mergers and acquisitions in South East Asia.

But for sure we know that Asian Beer Drinkers are growing in number, volume and purchasing power almost guaranteeing that within 10 years time the Global Top 10 Beers will be a very different perspective of the alcoholic world.

For more details on the beer infographic you can check the following link: http://www.kantar.com/business/brands/brandz-top-10-most-valuable-beer-brands-2013/

Anyhow, Cheers for all the Beers in Asia!

 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

South Korea Reaches Hite Point of Success with Noble Ice Maiden

Several years ago I was informed by various foreigners that South Korean beer is awful and when I researched this information I found many others with similar complaints.
 
But now I have found strong evidence supporting the Korean Beer improvements after much diligent research and analysis of new materials that show my original statements were not totally balanced and that indeed the Korean people are reaching a new Hite Point of Success.
 
Never mind the Gangngam style because the Hite Ice Point style is much more attractive and enticing thanks to the endorsement of noble ice maiden and world famous Queen of Ice, Yuna Kim!
 
Hite Ice Point, Korean Beer, Beer Asia Blog
In the official company announcement it was explained that this is Yuna’s first ever alcohol endorsement and she was selected as her Olympic Winning Ice Skating image matches the brand dynamics of being "fresh and cool like Hite Beer!”

Good choice guys!!!
Hite Ice Point, Korean Beer, Beer Asia Blog

Hite Ice Point is using a new and increasingly popular process of creating the beer at zero degrees Celsius using an Ice Point Filtration System.
 
This is something other well known Asia market brands like Tiger Beer and Carlsberg Chill are also experimenting with since the system helps provide certain level of quality with fresh and crisp elements that create a cooler taste.
 
It seems that Hite is willing to push itself to a higher level of beer making for a premium drinking market target.
 
Hite Ice Point, Korean Beer, Beer Asia Blog
Korean Beer drinkers, your honour and taste is certainly an improving sight to be proud of and I hope to try this beer soon to find if the taste fully matches the amazing looks!
 
Another interesting Beer in Asia...
 
Same again? Yes please!

 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

China Beer Drinkers are Fastest, Asia Keeps Pace, Rest of World are Lightweights, claims Euromonitors

Asian Beer Data Research

This is a very interesting set of global beer data showing the "Fastest Growing Beer Markets in the World" which are increasingly being pushed into overdrive by myself and some very, very dedicated Asian beer drinkers..

Honourable mention should be given to the Central and Latin American countries who are supporting their local bars and beer industries......unlike their sober, unfun loving neighbours in the north and the south.

And apparently Nigeria, Egypt and what looks to be Saudi Arabia aren't quite as dry as people might think...not exactly known internationally for their beer brands, or much other alcohol at all. Good for the locals, I hope!?!?

Anyway it is time for me to get another Beer in Asia....

Same again?

 

 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Best Beer Brands in South East Asia - Top of Mind Tipples?

Way back in 2006 I blogged about my favourite beers from across Asia - http://beerasia.blogspot.com/2006/12/best-beers-in-asia.html - since then I have travelled and worked and drank beer in pretty much every country in ASEAN (apart from Brunei which is dry....) so I figured it was time for me to refocus just on the "Best Beers in South East Asia".

When I excluded the beers from China, Japan, Korea, India etc. and instead considered only between the ASEAN countries which my top of mind & gut feeling strongly led me towards the following top 5 tipples:

1) Beer Laos - especially refreshing when served in gigantic, towering pitchers of "Beer Sot" which literally means fresh beer or draft beer and which is only available at selected outlets inside of Laos. My favourite place to drink Beer Laos has to be by the Mekong River in Vientiane while eating Laab and Khao Niao (sticky rice) and watching the world go by.

2) Bia Hoi - consistently served fresh with your noodles at food stalls all over the streets of Vietnam and hugely popular with the older generation Vietnamese who drink it from early morning time onwards - these people know a good tipple when they taste it and they have no need for excessive branding and display advertising used by international brands as these drinkers only consume consistently decent quality Bia Hoi and so that is exactly what the food stalls provide.

3) Tiger Beer - best served ice cold from a bottle and most enjoyable when the beer is combined with Singaporean specialities like Crab Curry or Singapore Fried Noodles. Tiger Beer is always worth a looksee when I am visiting Singapore.

4) Beer Myanmar - a tasty beer that really shines against the less distinct competition across the border in Thailand. This brew from Myanmar/Burma remains one of the best things the country has had to offer and is tremendously popular inside the country. Now that economic sanctions are starting to lift there is huge investment flowing into the beer industry and, hopefully, some beer exports will begin to flow outwards as well.

5) Angkor Beer - this brew is one of Cambodia's leading national brands and is popular with mostly everyone from locals to tourists to expats due to its fairly easy going fresh draft lager main caveat is that the brewery is based on the seaside in Sihanoukville province and once you hatasted the beer freshly rolled out and poured in your mug as you sit on the beach then it is hard to go back to drinking the same beer in the mainland cities since the beachside beer is impossible to compete against, even with itself...

Leave a comment below if you have a different list of Beer Brands from anywhere else in South East Asia on the top of your mind!!!