Category Archives: Food

Thailand’s underground home brew & microbrew craft beer scene

Coconuts Bangkok just published this excellent video on the underground and illegal craft beer home brewing scene in Thailand. This is something that I investigated, but never got into due to the dubious legal situation with brewing beer yourself (Especially as a foreigner) and importing hops from overseas. The team at Coconuts Bangkok did a great job in explaining the situation, and profiling some local brewers.

While the fine is small (only 200 baht for brewing), there is a potential 6 month jail term if you sell home brew – a penalty that puts many home brewers off even trying, or at least keeps the practise underground.  There are however a few new home brew or craft beer collectives popping up over the place – though officially they don’t sell beer to the public, unofficially however – you’ll have to try your luck.

I never spotted these when I was living in Thailand, only hearing rumours of them and the odd Facebook post of someone brewing on their roof in Bangkok.  Instead I settled on the wide range of imported beer that was popping up in bars around Bangkok.

Brewers profiled include:

Team Alpha Brewing (Location Unknown – Bangkok):

Established in September 2013 according to their Facebook page. These guys are brewing a few different beers at the moment “Bangkok Sunburn” and “Single But Unavailable” both APA style beers. They are currently working on a new brew “Lion Funeral” which should be ready about now. These beers aren’t available for sale, you’ll have to get in touch with them via Facebook, convince them that you are a home brewer and earn their trust.

Team ALpha Brewing BKK

Chit Beer (Ko Kret, Nonthaburi)

These guys are interesting as they appear to brewing very openly, serving their beer in a retail bar and selling it to the general public. They are located on the small (2km by 1km) island of Ko Kret which is actually on the Chao Praya river in Nonthaburi, 20km north of Bangkok. You can find out how to get to the island on this blog.  They appear to brew the largest range of styles in Thailand.

Chit Beer appear to be brewing a wide range of beers as well as operating a shop where you can purchase home brewing kits and supplies. Their beer styles include include an Amber Ale, Porter, IPA, Stone IPA (is this a clone of the famous San Diego beer?), American Wheat, Stout, Wisen, Kolsch, Pilsner, Vienna Lager, Dunkel Munich Lager, Chrysanthemum Ale (an APA), Pandanus Ale and even a seasonable Pumpkin ale!  They are serious about brewing, even teaching the locals how to make their own beers with specialist home brewing classes.

Chit Beer

Sandport Beer (Location Unknown – Bangkok)

Another one that I had not heard of until this short documentary. Formed in 2014 Sandport appears to be more a club of mates brewing for themselves, and sharing their creations at the odd party, clandestine event and pop up shop.

They’ve got a few different beers on the go, including Broken Sword Red Ale & Bang Bang IPA in bottles as well as Rah IPA and Wheat Boom White Ale.

Who else is out there?

Do you know of any more home breweries or bars selling locally produced craft beer in Thailand? Add them in the comments!

Wine Connection Wednesdays – All You Can Drink For 300 Baht

We’d been meaning to give Wine Connection a visit for a while, but between the Bangkok protests and university exams we just hadn’t had the time or ability to get to the area on a Wednesday afternoon. Wine Connection 4We’d heard about this place from students on the international exchange programme at Thammasat Univeristy, there was a bar in Suhkumvit that had all you can drink wine and all you can eat tapas for only 300 Baht! Expect to see lots of expat locals, foreign teachers and international students taking advantage of the cheap food, drinks and networking opportunities.

(Excuse the shaky photos, thats what happens when one is taking pictures at an all you can drink event!) Wine Connection 3

How It Works

Wine Connection offer free flow red and white house wine and tapas (including cheeses, cold cuts, bread and pastas) for 299 Baht + Tax from 5:30 until 8:30pm every Wednesday night.  Wine Connection 6It is strictly limited to 250 spaces, and it sells out every single week.  To guarantee your spot you will need to pop in early to grab your tickets in advance (we got there at around 4pm and it was fine, but by just after 5 they’d all sold out). Wine Connection 5I’m not really an expert on anything wine related, so I have no idea what the wines are like or how they compare to what else is out there, but even to me this seems like a great deal, especially when you consider you are paying at least 100 baht for a glass at most places, it only takes a couple to make it worth while.

Me, I was there for the cheese and cold cuts, which can get pretty expensive (I will happily spend 400 baht on a cheese and meat platter elsewhere, heck I even paid 195 baht upstairs for cheesy fries!).  Where else can you find all you can eat parma ham, salami, cheese, bread, cured meats, fish balls, sun dried tomatoes and more!

If like me, you aren’t too much of a wine drinker and prefer a beer, they still have a reasonable choice of imported beers, mainly from Belgium, I managed to grab myself a Bar Bar Belgian Strong Ale and a Lefebvre Floreffe Blonde for around the 160 Baht mark each.

How to find Wine Connection

Take the BTS and get off at either Thonglor or Phrom Phong stations then walk towards Soi 47 (which is roughly in the middle of the two stations), you’ll it on the lower floor in the Rain Hill Plaza.Wine Connection 2

Wine Connection, Rain Hill Plaza, Soi 47 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok

House of Beers – Loads of Choice For Sukhumvit Beer Lovers

We ended up at House of Beers quite by accident.  Sarah had wanted to check out Wine Connection’s free flow Wednesday, and had just picked up her Burmese Visa so was in the area.

We’d come in via the BTS, had purchased our ticket (Wine Connection is limited to 250 people) early and had an hour or so to kill.  Walking upstairs for something to do we spotted HOBs and walked in for a bar snack.

I hadn’t heard of the place before, and was impressed the minute I saw the fridge – full of imported beers from Belgium and beyond.

The Beers

House of Beers carries a wide range of beers from various breweries that are now being imported into Thailand including BrewDog, St. Bernardus, Chapeau and Krombacher.

If you’ve read any of my previous beer related posts, you’ll be aware that I’m a beer drinker who loves IPAs and beers with high IBUs while Sarah isn’t too much of a beer drinker, but is partial to Lambic fruit beers and a crisp lager. HOBS6 I grabbed a Brew Dog Hardcore IPA, while Sarah got herself a Chapeau Pêche Lambic BeerHOBS4 Followed by a Mikkeller The American Dream lager which was perfect in the hot Bangkok afternoon sun. HOBS3 Sarah grabbed herself a Krombacher Radler, which while too sweet and weak for me, was a nice and refreshing primer before we went downstairs for Wine Republic’s all you can drink free flow event. HOBS22 and a half hours of wine and we were ready to go back to the beers (I’m not a wine drinker after all), with a couple of new friends we’d met downstairs, they tried Lambics and Brewdog’s Punk IPA while I tried the Tokyo, which unfortunately just wasn’t my think and ended up getting ditched, a reminder of why I stick with the IPAs.

Beers ranged in price from around 195-430 Baht depending on the beer, with the Brewdog beers being at the top end of the scale.

The Food

The food menu is mainly bar snacks and pub grub, we weren’t really looking for too much with the all you can drink/eat downstairs later on, but grabbed the cheesy fries which were tasty, but quite pricy at 195 Baht.HOBS5

All in all, I like the place – its a little pricy, but you get a wide selection of imported beers (which a considerably amount of their cost is excise taxes) and its a really nice atmosphere.  They didn’t appear to have any proper vegetarian meal options, so that would be a nice addition to keep Sarah happy – I’m pretty sure we’ll be back again if we are in the area.

You are charged a 10% surcharge in addition to the standard 7% VAT which seems to be a habit in many of the hi-so type Bangkok bars (Wine Connection downstairs does it, so does Brew – I think the only place that doesn’t at the moment is Mikkeller Bangkok, which actually has the best service out of any place I’ve been to!), which quite frankly is silly considering that you are merely paying a 10% premium on a beer for them to open it with a bottle opener – then again, this seems to be the norm in Bangkok nowadays.  Bars should either give additional service to justify the surcharge or include it in the cost of what they are selling – I have no problem with tipping if I receive good service, but having it forced upon you is a bit strange for a kiwi.

How To Find House of Beers (HOBs)

Take the BTS and get off at either Thonglor or Phrom Phong stations then walk towards Soi 47 (which is roughly in the middle of the two stations), you’ll find it above Wine Connection in the Rain Hill Plaza.

Rain Hill Plaza, Soi 47 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok

Bombay Blues – Indian Curries in Backpacker Central

I’ve been a massive fan of British style Indian curries (Butter Chickens, Chicken Korma etc) since visiting the UK in 2011 and generally speaking these aren’t too common in Thailand, with the Indian community eating more traditional food, vegetarian or local variants. Bombay Blues 1That said, you still find reasonably good western style Indian food in most of the touristy type areas in Bangkok.  One of my favourites is Bombay Blues – which has one of the better reputations in Bangkok for takeaway style Indian food that we are used to from home. If you are looking for more authentic Indian food that that hasn’t been “westernised” and aimed at the Thai Indian community – there are plenty of options in the Little India area of Chinatown. Bombay Blues 4Bombay Blues is a brightly coloured but dimly lit restaurant offering a range of indian dishes, thai beer and flavoured shisha.  Expect to pay a bit over the odds for the food, but this is the same as with any situation ordering “Farang” food, and its still cheaper than Burger King down the street. I ordered a Chicken Korma and Garlic Naan, while Sarah went for one of the vegetarian curries and steamed rice. Both curries were tasty, but nothing too extreme in either flavour or spiciness. Definitely not the best curry I’ve had (that would go to a place in Brick Lane, London) but one of the better I’ve had in Thailand which is what keeps me coming back. Bombay Blues 5It turns out however that the best dish on the menu isn’t one that you’d order at first glance.  I noticed this one advertised on a poster in the bathrooms – Chocolate Naan.  Words can’t explain how delicious these things are – far from traditional, but absolutely amazing, sweet naan Bombay Blues 7Music tends to be the same sort of abrasive music that you get anywhere in the Khao San Rd (bad hip hop, trance etc) area if you are inside, so you are far better off getting a seat outside where its fairly relaxing and you can enjoy watching all the fresh tourists walking past in their elephant pants and braided hair.  Bombay Blues 3The trashy backpacker vibe does extend to some of the advertising as well – I’d probably avoid Thursday nights if you are an expat or on a date, with it being their “Boozers or Losers” drinking challenge, which to put it bluntly tests how long you can drink until you need to take a piss. The bathroom also has a sink that is made specifically for vomiting.    Bombay Blues 6    

How to find Bombay Blues

Bombay Blues is located at 51 Soi Rambutri, Banglampoo Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, 10200, to find it go down Soi Rambutree and go past the VW bars, you’ll see a bunch of tents on the side of a road.  They are open daily from 6pm until 1am. 

Other Locations:

  • Thonglor Soi 10: 139 Soi Thonglor 10, Sukhumvit Rd, Klongton-nua, กรุงเทพมหานคร 10110, Thailand

Wine Republic Bar and Bistro – Finally Sarah Gets To Drink Wine!

We originally spotted this place on the taxi ride to Scene Space when going to Brew Bar.   After deciding against Apoteka Thonglor which was jam packed with its ladies night crowd we walked down Thonglor (Sukhumvit 55).  We spotted Wine Republic on the corner of Soi 10 and Thonglor and decided to go in – so far we’d only really been to beer places, and haven’t had a chance to visit Wine Connection on a Wednesday yet.

Wine Replublic 2

We’d already had a few drinks and food at Brew, but it was now Sarah’s turn to get something she liked.   I managed to spot a huge 750ml champagne style bottle of imported Italian craft beer – Birrificio L’Olmaia La 5 which at 600 Baht wasn’t cheap but wasn’t expensive either, which Sarah spotted some French Rose on the house wine list.

Wine Republic 5I’m not really a wine drinker, so must confess my ignorance to all things involving grapes – but she assures me it wasn’t half bad. If you are looking for something a bit more interesting than the standard house wine list (that consists of about 6-8 choices of wine) they also have a full range of imported wines available inside – for some strange reason there isn’t a menu available, which isn’t exactly convenient, but other reviews seem to suggest that there is a sommelier on hand to give wine advice.

Wine Republic 3

We still weren’t completely full (heck we had to celebrate the end of mid-term exams in style right) from dinner earlier so decided to really pig out and grabbed ourselves a second dinner of Funghi pizza.  Generally speaking Pizzas in Bangkok are pretty shit – this was an exception.  The base was just right, it had real cheese and fresh mushrooms. I can’t really comment on the other mains, other than the fact that those other people were eating seemed top notch, but the Pizza was great.  When you consider that the pizza cost less than a burger combo from somewhere like Burger King, it really is great value.

Wine Republic 4Then of course we spotted the group on the table next to us pigging out on dessert. We grabbed ourselves a Panna Cotta and a Chocolate Soufflé.  These were absolutely amazing and worth every baht.   All in all dinner and drinks cost us around 2000 baht, which while not cheap – isn’t terribly expensive considering the fact that all of our booze as imported and the food was of a high quality and customer service was excellent. Wine Republic 6

Music in the venue was great too, with a couple of the local Japanese expat DJs providing a mixture of deep house, soul, jazz and electronica to give a really eclectic lounge vibe to the place.

All in all we were impressed with the Wine Republic and will definitely be back.

How to find The Wine Republic

Address: Wine Republic, 137 Thonglor Soi 10 Bangkok, Thailand

Wine republic is on the corner of Thonglor (Sukhumvit Soi 55) and Thonglor 10 and is about 1km from the Thonglor BTS.  Its probably easiest to take a taxi.