Saturday, March 9, 2019

Episode 28: Singha Beer with Christopher Kolakowski

I. Introduction

"He body-painted a bunch of dudes for an Oscar Mayer commercial." 

Thailand is a country dominated by macrobrews – strict beer and brewing laws mean that craft and home brewing are nearly absent from the nation (at least legally).  Not only that, it remains a nation in which locally brewed beers remain the dominant type.  Today’s beer is the flagship of one of the two breweries that utterly dominate the small, southeast Asian nation, a beer that assiduously (and purposefully) follows the German purity laws, a beer that since the late 1980s has become a global export, found now in nearly every country of North America, Europe, and Asia, as well as Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia. 

Today's episode features Syd Valentine’s Patent Leather Kids 1929 “Rock and Gravel”.

II. Our Guest, the Astute and Genteel Chris Kolakowski

III. Rubrics, Reviews, and Talking Points

BeerAdvocate: 3.04 of 5

RateBeer: 2.25 of 5

Untappd: 3.02 of 5

ABV: 5%

Ingredients: Malted Irish, French, and Australian barley; Hallertau, Perle, and Saaz hops from Germany and "Czechoslovakia" (?); and German yeast

Cost: $ to $$ in the States - an import made of such high quality ingredients, worth a nudge in the price.

Appearance: Pale golden, translucent, mostly transparent, a nice head that recedes fairly quickly.  Holds its bubbles fairly well, 

Aroma: Malty on the opening, retains some mild smells after opening.  

Flavor: Good sipping beer, a nice lager that leans malty, avoiding too many sweet notes, retains its flavor, probably would be perfect for spicy food.  Clayman noted a mild, pleasant hoppy bitterness.  

Mouthfeel: Crisp, pleasant, mildly dry. 

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors:  Brewed essentially as it always was, though Singha now has three breweries (all in Thailand) - in Samsen (Bangkok), Kohn Kaen, and Bang Len.  Still brewed with the Thai royal seal, still beautiful in its labeling and advertising.  Bottled around the world by Carlsburg, though, which is interesting.  Still independent, still family-owned, yet globally owned.  Hot damn, guys, hot damn.  And, as Kolakowski points out, their logistics chain is impressive - the quality hasn't deteriorated despite being shipped from the other end of the planet. 

Overall: Kolakowski gave it a 4.25, Clayman a 3.1, and Eric a 3.75.  Overall? A very respectable 3.7!

IV. Our Sponsors

Today we have two magical sponsors:

Leben Farms of Abingdon, Virginia

Leben Farms is a community supported-agriculture (CSA) program that offers locally grown fresh vegetables in weekly boxes to its members in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.  Using organic and regenerative practices to grow nutrient dense food, community-supported agriculture is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers. In short: people buy "shares" of a farm's harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they're harvested.

Check them out on Facebook or Instagram.


Glade Pharmacy in Glade Spring, Virginia
33472 Lee Hwy, Glade Spring, VA 24340

Locally owned and managed, Glade Pharmacy provides the highest quality pharmaceutical service in the Emory/Glade Spring area,

V. Plugs

Norfolk, Virginia

Abingdon, Virginia

VI. Selected Readings and Viewings

Laurence Civil. August 20, 2014.  "My Beer, My Country."  Look East. 

Hannah Ellison.  April 3, 2017.  "Singha Beer to Bring Thai New Year to Life in London."  Campaign.

Thomas Fuller.  January 10, 2014.  "Thai Beer Loses Esteem After Heiress's Remarks."  New York Times, via CNBC.  

Arno Maierbrugger.  February 14, 2013.  "Singha Starts Rollout in Asia and Europe."  Investigative. 

Suzanne Nam.  February 11, 2018.  "Top Thai Beer Brands."  TripSaavy.  

Staff. October 22, 2013. "Singha Beer Gets an Exclusive Show on History." Marketing.  

Ronald Theriot. October 5, 2011. "Louisiana Lager."  Louisiana Beer Reviews. via YouTube.