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.
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.
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!