The Heavy Metal Beer Brewers of Bangkok

A few years ago, Taey Chao was dumped by his girlfriend and needed something to take the edge off. His friends got him smashed on beer.

He has been chasing after the perfect hoppy taste ever since. But domestic Thai beers are like sex on a canoe: they’re called lagers but they’re fucking close to water. A good pale lager should be dry, clean, crisp, and carry a subtle flavor profile. It can be light, shouldn’t be harsh, but doesn’t need to be brave. It’s often characterized by a smoothness, maybe even a breadiness. Some of the most popular Thai beers fail on all counts, so Taey and a handful of beer connoisseurs decided to take matters into their own hands, and the homebrewing movement of Thailand was born.

They might not be mass producers, and certainly don’t have a far-reaching distribution network—few bottles ever go beyond the capital’s city limits—but there are finally great craft beers that can call themselves Thai.

Taey Chao’s Bangkok Sunburn, released under his label Team Alpha Brewing, is one homebrewed beer that is giving other local beers a run for their money. Bangkok Sunburn’s recipe took him months to devise and improve upon, a project he took on during off-hours from Mikkeller Bangkok. It’s a beer that he shared with Kjetil Jikiun, braumeister of the Norwegian Nøgne Ø, and received nothing but praise.