• Ben

Blog #56. Chang Classic Lager Beer. Bangkok has me now.

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

Hello all, another beer today that has a special place in my heart. Yes, that may be the motto of someone who is in denial and won't go to their first AA meeting, but in all seriousness, lots of good (but very hazy) memories attached to this beer.

I am breaking down international borders today and once I poured the Thai beer into my Spanish San Miguel class, it sits in there, a clear golden colour, with a zillion bubbles.

It smells fresh and a little bit sweet, but with a slightly spicy smell as well. It is super bubbly and all of the tastes are light and clean. There is a little sweet warmth at the beginning, then a watery nothing happening middle, then a slight bitterness and dryness in the finish.

It cannot be compared to crafts, but I'll try. Lager uses a different yeast - it ferments at the bottle of the carboy or demijohn or container, unlike IPAs and many other crafties, in which the yeast ferments at the top. All of it's flavours are subtle, compared to most of the crafties I've tried. It does hold its fizz for long after its poured, which is a selling point I suppose. It is better than most mass produced lagers, but not the best. For the purpose of drinking on a hot summers day on a beach some where, it is pretty good. I am, however the sentimental type, so of course there are stories attached to it.

Here we go: I love Thailand.

I love it so much I've been there twice and had tickets to go there for a third time, until the bloody coronavirus put paid to that.

Anyway, second time we went there, this time with a big more money (first time was the last month of travelling the world - my wife and I had £100 to last a month and it did!) we headed straight for Khao San Road, Bangkok.

The saying 'Bangkok has him now' was made for a very good reason. In Bangkok and in particular the Khao San district it is easy to buy whatever your heart desires. Whether that be fake ID's, Rolex's, knock off clothing, massive towers of beer for under 18's, 'ladyboy' shows, 'intense' ladyboy shows, a wife - it has it all.

Luckily, we were only in the market for lots of beer on our first night back on Khao San, but every time we've visited the legendary street, adventures happen.

So, we found a restaurant/bar that looked quite busy (that is the standard litmus test in Asia) and ordered Massaman curry and Thai yellow - standard, first night food. We had a couple of beers at the hotel and a couple more with dinner. Being the hawk I am, I noticed at the bar across the road someone had a tower of beer. Wow. Instantly jealous, I asked a waiter if they had any of those towers and unfortunately, they did not. Furious. Seconds later however, I see another waiter walk across to the bar opposite and talk to a member of staff and lots of pointing at the tower and at us - "what the hell have I started?!" I thought.

To my happiness, not more than 30 seconds later he walked back across the road, holding an empty tower and grinning at me. I give a slight nod that is filled with respect. I knew you could get anything in this city.

6 pints from top to bottom and wife and I are smashed and ready to wobble to the taxi stand, but wait a minute, that isn't possible, because there is now a small blockade around our restaurant because two break-dance groups decided to have a battle right there! That calls for another tower please sir!

During this we bumped into a couple from Newhaven, where we lived at the time (never to be seen again - Bangkok has them now) and decided to go to a club. Hold your horses, can't do that because a bright pink taxi has now broken down outside of your bar. There was only one thing for it: every person from every bar came out to push the taxi the full length of Khao San and then decided to go to the club. Superb.

The fuel that made this night possible: Chang.

Even though it isn't the nicest of beers, because of the memories it gets bumped up to a 4/10.


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