This is a guest post by Annie Kraft.
That’s not a sophomoric joke; I’m being serious. This past December, I visited my best friend in Bangkok, Thailand. Seeing that I already have trouble going two days in Chicago without enjoying a craft beer, I figured this was a great opportunity to explore the beer culture on the other side of the planet.
Out of all of the local watering holes I visited (and there were plenty), The 14th Barrel stood out the most; it is a refuge for both locals and tourists looking beyond Singha, Chang, and Leo — the mass produced lagers commonly found throughout the city.
Located west of the city’s Chao Phraya River, The 14th Barrel is conveniently situated in the Khlong San district of Bangkok, a tourist-friendly area near the downtown district. For those of you who are familiar with the area, it’s a short walk from the BTS ("Sky Train"), located at 99 Soi Charoen Nakhon 14. In Bangkok, a "Soi" is a side street.
Atmosphere and Staff
In all honesty, the The 14th Barrel would not appear out of place in most of Chicago’s neighborhoods. It’s a cozy space, decked out in quirky beer paraphernalia and littered with plenty of board games available for guests to play — something you see a lot of in our fair city. To top it all off, it had a bicycle and a turntable on display, which made me nostalgic for some of my favorite Chicago dives.
Instead of the standard line of draft beers on tap, The 14th Barrel is home to a vast fridge full of various bottled brews. Unlike many of the other beer bars I visited, this one featured a wide selection of local craft beers, which is unique given the limitations on the micro brewing industry in Thailand.
Similar to popular brewpubs in the States, The 14th Barrel offers a food menu, complete with appetizers and entrees. From what I learned, the owners have solid restaurant experience, so we weren’t too surprised when the food was outstanding.
Beat Brewing's AGO-GO IPA is a 5.7% ABV American IPA. Fragrant, citrusy, and hoppy, it was exactly what this Midwestern girl craved in a foreign land. Although this was the first beer I tasted, it was easily the best Thai beer I consumed.
What the PUG Citra Bomb IPA is a 6.2% ABV IPA. This one was a bit heavy on the citrus for my liking.
Circus the Animal Trainer is a 5.6% India Pale Weizen. A hoppier version of the traditional German style beer, this combination was refreshing, even though it reminded me a bit of champagne.
Based on all of my research of Bangkok’s craft beer scene, the 14th Barrel was the vastly superior establishment. Most of the other places I visited only carried beers from the West Coast of the United States and Australia.
Bangkok travelers in need of a local fix — look no further than The 14th Barrel.
- From Food and Wine — an interesting journey down the Bangkok beer scene’s historical archives, culminating in what is today a thriving (if semi-legal) industry.
- As police in Thailand crack down on illegal brewing, some of the nation’s top brewers have teamed up on a project to make the craft beer environment safer for brewers and drinkers alike.