The big local brands of beer in Thailand: Singha, Leo and Chang, have been dominating the market. You can find imported beer in restaurants too, but these three are a local and tourist favourite.
1. SinghaDerived from the Sanskrit word for ‘Lion’, Singha beer is the oldest, and in most people’s opinions, the best Thai lager. Sold in standard (5 per cent ABV), light (4.5 per cent ABV) and draught versions, Singha is a little more expensive than the other Thai beers. The highest exported beer of Thailand, the Thais are pretty proud of Singha. It has a bitter and sour taste in equal proportions and is perfect for a hot and lazy day in Thailand. Even though it’s not a popular choice among the budget travellers that prefer Chang and Leo, Singha is still considered the number one beer in Thailand for its taste and quality.
Made by: Boon Rawd Brewery, Bangkok
Singha Beer In Thailand Price: At 7/11 - THB 50 (INR 110 for 330 ml); At bars - THB 60-120
2. ChangSingha’s biggest competitor, Chang beer is the best bargain for budget travellers in Thailand. It doesn’t possess any extraordinary taste, smell or colour that make it ‘stand out’, but its low price is what attracts people to consider it over Singha. Not as thick as Singha, this loose watery beer is perfect for some refreshment on a sunny day. Many travellers even prefered Chang over others because of the ‘high’ it gave them was exciting, due to its previous high ABV percentage. After some quality control, the Chang Classic beer today has an ABV of 5.2 per cent.
Made by: Thai Beverages (ThaiBev), Bangkok
Chang Beer In Thailand Price: At 7/11 - THB 40 (INR 90 for 330 ml); At bars - THB 50-100
Produced by the same parent company as Singha, Leo is a mid-range beer popular among many locals and tourists in Thailand. With a fruity flavour which is not very extraordinary, Leo is well priced and has an ABV of 5 per cent. Like Singha, Leo means ‘lion’ and is just an inexpensive version of Singha. When Chang had the reputation of giving major hangovers, travellers turned to Leo for the promise of better quality.
Made by: Boon Rawd Brewery, Bangkok
Leo Beer In Thailand Price: At 7/11 - THB 45 (INR 100 for 330 ml); At bars - THB 60-100 (INR 130 - INR 210 for 330 ml)
4. Phuket Lager Beer
The first regional beer of Thailand, the Phuket Lager is known for being fresh, yeasty, a little bitter and watery. It was formerly named Phuket 'Island' Beer. If you really want to taste authentic Thai brew, then this one is for you.
Made by: Phuket Beer Thailand Company Limited
Phuket Lager Beer in Thailand Price: At 7/11 - THB 50 (INR 110 for 330 ml)
5. Thai Amarit Beer
A pale lager with an ABV of 6.5 per cent. It tastes a little malty sweet and bitter. To find this one, ask a local as this particular brand is manufactured for export. It is available mostly in Bangkok.
Made by: Boon Rawd Brewery.
Thai Amarit Beer in Thailand Price: At 7/11 - THB 50 (INR 110 for 330 ml)
6. Kloster BeerThe Kloster beer is a malty sweet flavoured beer. Known to be mouth-drying, this beer is not usually prefered, unless you’re a budget backpacker. Although its made in Thailand, the beer is made with German standards.
Made by: Boon Rawd Brewery
Kloster Beer in Thailand Price: At 7/11 - THB 50 (INR 110 for 330 ml)
7. Archa Beer
A smoother beer with only 5% ABV content, this is a new favourite among beer drinkers that like less alcohol and prefer having many beers at once, without getting that crazy hangover.Made by: Beerthip Brewery and Beer Thai
Archa Beer in Thailand Price: At 7/11 - THB 60 (INR 130 for 330 ml)
8. International Brands
Budweiser, Carlsberg, Heineken, John Smiths, Boddingtons, San Miguel and Tetleys are some of the best international brands of beer in Thailand. However, the government of Thailand, in order to protect the local breweries, has imposed import duty up to 60%, making the cost of these beers high. Besides, tourists that come to Thailand, come to taste the local flavours which taste authentic and are comparatively much cheaper. Many visitors usually find the taste of these imported beers to be bland and not of great quality. These imported beers can be found widely across most bars in the country and many supermarkets too.
Today, craft beer is trying to build up in Thailand, but due to strict home brewing laws and high import taxes, it’s been difficult. Besides, the tourists always prefer the local beer in Thailand over anything else because of the low cost, unique flavour and its refreshing quality on a hot day with some spicy Thai curry on the side!