Thailand’s craft beer scene is more optimistic than ever with the hope of decriminalization, and its growing number of brewpubs – including one reopening Wednesday.
Operating brewpub allows brewers to skirt home laws by meeting certain criteria and limitations; namely, they must show registered capital of THB10 million (US$300,000) and have the “capacity” to produce at least 100,000 liters annually. Any beer produced there can only be consumed and sold on-site.
In recent years and months, more craft brewers have been opening small-scale microbreweries throughout Bangkok – from the Prachachuen and Bang Khae areas to the roofs of downtown malls. That means there’s always a brand new brew to try.
While grabbing a four- or six-pack to chill at home is the easy option, true beer fans know that hitting the breweries to drink beer freshly poured from the vat is far better.
Here are six places in Bangkok and its metropolitan area.
A trio of entrepreneurs – Champ Vongsawad, Petch Boonchoochuay, and Manak Narula – under the name Bootleg Brothers recently opened their own microbrewery and brewpub on a breezy roof of the luxury EmQuartier shopping mall.
Tucked in the same venue as Escape Bangkok, Bootleg Brothers’ brewpub now comprises seven tanks and nine taps that pour fresh craft beers like brown ale Naughty Nut, hoppy lager Island Hopper, and super hop-forward pale ale Boy Wonder.
The beers will rotate periodically. A pint is THB300 and smaller glass is THB150.
Soak up the bar’s beachy Bali vibes or the Phrom Phong skyline from a cozy balcony spot. Since the venue shares the same space with rooftop bar and restaurant Escape, customers can order Escape’s menu to go with the Bootleg Brothers’ drinks.
The Londoner Brew Pub
A British pub-slash-sports bar with its own microbrewery, The Londoner Brew Pub is the oldest in the city.
It first opened in 1997 in Soi Sukhumvit 33 before relocating to a spacious venue on Pattanakarn Road. Today, the three-story pub is run by general manager Dan Pratt (formerly Wishbeer Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh’s Heart of Darkness Brewery).
With fermented and brewing tanks set in the back of the kitchen, The Londoner serves three fresh beers brewed in house: malt-forward English-style IPA, nicely-balanced Bavarian-style lager, and aromatic low-carb pilsner. The shelves also stock some other libations like gin, whisky, wines, and more.
The commodious place that spans throughout the three floors offers so many to do apart from drinking. Head over to the Game Room for dartboards, foosball table, 8-foot pool table, pinball and retro arcade games. Sports fans can hang out in front of the giant TV screens that show games from rugby and cricket matches to Wimbledon tournaments and Formula 1 races.
The venue now also hosts weekly specials like family-friendly Sunday Roast, where four meat dishes and one vegan option is available. Beer buffets last three hours every Monday and Tuesday and that costs only THB599.
After making illicit beers at home and selling them in underground market, three cousins – Prichpichai “Golf” Techavichien, Nathachai “Heng” Techavichien, and Kittikun “J” Techavichien – decided go legit by opening their own brewpub in Bangkok’s western outskirts.
It opened earlier this year in a spacious warehouse filled with everything from a cafe and restaurant to a microbrewery and beer bar that rotates 12 taps daily. Across from the bar, it’s impossible to miss the stainless steel tanks where the trio brews their own beers to serve at the bar.
Being the first such place in Bang Khae area, Brewave has been packed with people.
The house, domestic, and imported beers are sold at relatively low prices – as little as THB150 per glass. Now that live music is roaring back, Brewave hosts Thai bands and artists on the stage every day except Monday.
Further towards the south of Bangkok is Underdog Microbrewery. It became popular among beer stans for its cutting-edge self-serve beer wall where customers tap an RFID card and get the beer pouring into their glasses by preferred milliliters. A few tanks are visible next to the bar.
Among the 12 taps pour beers like Underdog Hoppy Weizen, Raspberry Berliner Weisse, Pradyabeer Irish Stout, Juti Berry Ale, and Yellow Sub Pale. Each tap costs roughly THB300 per every 1,000 milliliters.
The microbrewery has been forced shut for months due to COVID-19 and will reopen on June 22.
Tucked off Tiwanon Road in Nonthaburi is a brewpub and microbrewery run by Thailand’s craft beer pioneer Col. Wichit “Chit” Saiklao and his associates in the scene.
Upon its opening in August, 2020, Mitr Brewery made a buzz for becoming the first few places in Bangkok that raised Thai craft beers’ presence into the microbrewery level.
Behind the brewpub are six brands of craft beers: Chit Beer, Devanom, Wizard Beer, Red Stone, Lazy Fat Cat, and Mickleheim. Over a dozen taps usually feature beers from these brands but beer enthusiasts can also expect “special” brews when Mitr collabs with other breweries
Live bands currently play Friday and Saturday. Food trucks will serve hungry patrons with pizzas, grilled meats, and some baked goods.
The next door of the brewery is a hop farm, which is billed to be Thailand’s first. It’s run by the brothers of Devanom beers who want to “experiment” with hops and see if they can actually grow in Thailand’s hostile climate. It turned out they grew just fine.
When the hops are fully grown, they are used to “add new flavors” into the beers that are brewed at Mitr, according to Nattachai Ungsriwong, co-owner of Devanom and partner of Mitr Brewery.
In late April, the northern neighborhood in Chatuchak district welcomed a new kid on the block called Saha Prachachuen, (“United Peoples Brewery,” roughly).
Inside the spacious warehouse, expect to find Thai craft beers on the common-to-rare spectrum like Triple Pearl’s Galaxy Villa pale ale, Whale pale ale, and Samata’s raspberry and lemon cheesecake fruit sour. Its 11 taps will rotate periodically.
Expect to pair the drinks with a few bar bites of local flavors like bacon-wrapped northeastern sausage, raw beef salad and beer-marinated raw shrimps.
The folks behind the venue are no strangers to the craft beer scene: booze distributor Group B Beer, and the brewers of local labels Sandport and Yod Beer – the latter of which operates a nearby craft beer hangout called Yod Bar.