Tropical islands, amazing food, delicious locals… there are many things that spring to mind when one thinks of Thailand, and if cheap beer is one of them, you’re going to want to heed to this guide. These are all your basic beers - often enjoyed in Thailand over a glass of ice - but they are my no means similar, so let us help you pick your favourite one.
This one’s the elephant in the room - the one you are most likely to see pretty much everywhere. If an establishment only sells one type of beer, it’s probably this one. Don’t be fooled though, you’ll also notice it’s often the cheapest beer on a menu. It might not be anyone’s favourite, but it’s budget-backpacker-friendly and at the very least, drinkable. What you may have to worry more about is the infamous “Changover” the next day… or at least what it used to be until 2015, prior to which it was the strongest beer in Thailand with an ABV of 6.4% (it has since been reduced to 5.2%).
Chang beer is produced by Thai Beverage (ThaiBev), creators of the also-popular Sangsom rum - a perfect replacement for when you aren’t feeling so beer-worthy.
One of the most well-known brands outside of Thailand, this beer has a strong, malty and crisp flavour, making it a great accompaniment to spicy food. The brand has also recently released a Singha Light with an ABV of 4.5%, compared to the original’s 5%.
Tip: When ordering at a beer, be sure to pronounce it the correct way - ‘Singh’, with the a at the end being silent.
This one has a distinctive, strong taste… and a strong, distinctive effect! While it was not always so, Leo seems to have taken over Chang in recent years in terms of hangovers. Made by the same brewery as Singha, this beer has an easily-drinkable taste. It has been described as “Crisp and refreshing”, and a beer to be had when you just want to “chill your throat”.
This mass-market non-premium lager might not taste all that great, but at its price point, is a popular budget beer for locals. Reviews describe this beer as “lightly bitter”, with an aroma that is “funky and heady”.
San Miguel Light
Popular at expat pubs, this beer claims to have less calories (100 per 330ml bottle) yet still retains 5% ABV just like your average beer. It has a fruity, citrusy flavour which is further enhanced by poking a slice of lime through the bottletop. Produced in the Philippines, reviews classify this brew to have a “Fruity malty grainy flavour”, and “slightly sweet but watery and thin bodied.”
Come and enjoy some of these beers at The Challenge Phangan’s restaurant & bar, as you watch your friends attempt the obstacle course from up top! What’s your favourite Thai beer?