If you have ever been to Thailand, then you know about Chang Beer, pronounced like the pot comedian’s last name Tommy Chong. This beer is strong for a lager at 6.4% ABV, and was my preferred beer while traveling in Thailand. I was there a few years ago, but I remember this beer being really affordable, around 50-80 cents a bottle for a half-liter size. The brewery was founded by two partners, Carlsberg Group of Denmark and Beer Chang, which was acquired by Thai Bev in 2004. I tasted every beer I could find in Thailand, and there are basically three options, all pilsner style lagers. Tiger Beer, which tastes like Budweiser, Singha Beer, which has a unique pilsner flavor, and Chang Beer, the strongest of all three and arguably the best. Chang, Thai for elephant, is modeled after the Elephant Beer by Carlsberg. This adjunct Asian beer has roots in European tradition, about as much so as Budweiser is modeled after a Czech-style pilsner. Mostly, the beer is cold and yellow, and tastes great after swimming in the really warm sea. Also, a very tasty malt beverage after riding an elephant. Beer in Thailand is readily available at restaurants at all times of the day for only about a dollar a bottle, poured into a nice little glass, so you can share if you want. Buying beer at a convenience store was more complicated. We picked out several bottles, went up to the cash register, and were told that we couldn’t buy beer until 3 PM. When we asked why, the clerk told us in broken English, “Because this is a communist store.” I think he meant convenience store, because I don’t think 7-11 is communist in anyway. So you have to wait until the proper time of day in some stores to score bottles for half the price of the ones at restaurants.
Cheers to Chang Beer – the elephant beer with a bite! Don’t have too many of these in the sun, or you won’t be able to go out clubbing! “Chok dee Krap!”