Like Pencil and Spoonwho was also sent some ChangBeer for review, I don't feel obliged to say something nice about it, just because it was free. To be fair I don't do much by way of beer reviews these days, but having tried some Chang with food before the GBBF, I thought I'd do a much more difficult pairing today - accompanying Wallender on TV, in Swedish with subtitles.
My first pairing, a couple of weeks ago for the handsomely bottled Thai pretender, was with my home made spicy pork and vegetables with noodles and I thought it did its job quite well really. The sweetness and lemony citrus doused the fires and it was a pleasant if unexceptional drink. It was a bit more exposed in the company of the Swedish detective, where its underlying dry, metallic twang struck a harsh note amongst the sweetness of the malt and the citrus annoyed rather than complemented. Now this really is an issue. While I can see it selling in Thai restaurants as an alternative to the hoppier Singha, I can't really see it as a beer to drink on its own, unless you are in some sweaty Thai bar, drinking it from the neck.
The importers have to face the fact that it is up against a lot of competition and to my mind it will only sell on its authenticity, not its taste. Since my authentic noodles were made here in the UK, I would probably have found a sweet UK brewed premium lager doing the job just as well. Would I buy it just for its authenticity? Unlikely, unless "forced" to in some late night Thai Restaurant. Would I buy it in preference to Singha? Almost certainly not. Would I neck it down in a sweaty Thai bar? Of course I would.
It's about place really and its place is probably back in Thailand.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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