Brews Around the World: Malaysia and Thailand

Long time, no see! That’s right, it has been two months since my last Brews Around the World Update. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been drinking beer. It just means I have been waiting to share all of the awesomeness until I finally had enough to write about. Get ready for a dual post of Brews Around the World – Episode Four: Beer of Malaysia and Thailand!

S1E1 Brews Around the World – Beer of Idaho, USA 

S1E2 Brews Around the World – Beer of Florida, USA 

S1E3 Brews Around the World – Beer of China 

Malaysia Brews

The month of February was spent in lovely Malaysia, where brewing beer is illegal! Drinking beer, however, was still OK, yet it was all imported and decently expensive. We did the best we could, though, walking miles out of our way to try something interesting. My favorite find was the Penang Craft Beer IPA, which we drank in Penang… but is brewed in California. I also really enjoyed Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale. This is one of my all-time Oregon favorites, so it was really nice to have a taste of home while in Kuala Lumpur.

As a result, I did not collect any new Malaysian brews. I did add a few things to my Life List though. We left Malaysia with six new brew flavors, bringing my unique brew total to 54.

Anchor Smooth Draught, Heinken Asia Pacific - The Places e Live  Dead Guy Ale, Rogue Brewing - The Places We Live  Guinness Draught, Guinness - The Places We Live  Penang Craft Beer IPA, Bay Bridge Brewing - The Places We Live  Skol, Ambev - The Places We Live  Tiger, Heineken Asia Pacific - The Places We Live


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Thailand Brews

We spent the majority of March in Thailand. Beer in Thailand was readily available, but limited in variety. Our choices were pretty much just Leo, Singha, Chang, or overpriced import beers. I was a little disappointed with only three new flavors, but all three ended up being pretty tasty. They paired very well with the hot weather and spicy food.

So, once again, I did not collect many new flavors while in Thailand. I added three new flavors to my Life List, bringing my unique brew total to 57.

Chang - The Places We Live  Leo Beer, Boon Rawd Brewery - The Places We Live  Singa, Boon Rawd Brewery - The Places We Live


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Amazon Link: All purchases earn Josh and I commission. Thank you!


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Brew Around the World S1E4 - The Places We Live Brews Around the World S1E4 Title - The Places We Live Beer of Thailand - The Places We Live


 

Today’s Adventure

“Some of these girls are really dressed up. Do you suppose it’s a private party?…. There are so many people here. It must be a super popular place… Check out that group of guys over there, they seem really friendly…” And so begins the story of how Josh and I found ourselves in…

Around ten years ago, when we were still living in Spokane, Washington, we had a moment of surprise while looking for a fun new place to hang out. It was still fairly early in the evening, and the place we’d settled on looked clean and not too packed, but with enough people that you could tell it would get busy later. As we walked in, we started critiquing our new potential hang out in hushed tones, as if we were famous bar reviewers. “The music here is awesome! I like the layout a lot. Someone really put a lot of work into designing this place. The people here are really good looking. Check out that group of guys over there, they seem really friendly.” Then, we shared a moment of silence and looked around one more time. It finally hit us and we practically screamed at the same time, “It’s a gay bar!” Every time we do something like this, expecting one thing from a place and getting something else, we re-tell this story, a fun remembrance of that time when we had no idea what we were walking into (for the record, we had a great time!).

Today, we were given a reason to tell the story again.

We were sitting at a little roadside stand, having some dinner, when we heard live music coming from a place down the block. It was time to do a little exploring and see what the fuss was about. The source of the music was a large, three walled-building. It was a bit dark, but we could see tables and people inside, so we walked in to explore. There was a stage against one wall, food stalls lining the other two, a bar, and tons of tables in the middle. “Wow, this is convenient. A food court, maybe? Some of these girls are really dressed up. Do you suppose it’s a private party? There are so many people here, it must be popular with the locals. Check out that group of guys over there, they seem really friendly…”

And so begins the story of how Josh and I found ourselves in a whore house.*

We walked in, took a quick tour of all the food stalls, and made our way to the bar to order a drink. This was my first major clue: despite this being a dirty, three-wall establishment for poor locals, there were only high end beers for sale. Interesting. We grabbed our beer and looked for a table. That is when I noticed how truly beautiful all of the girls were. Wow! Had we just stumbled on THE hottest hang out on this end of town? But wait…

Hint number two quickly followed. These girls are not only naturally hot, they are dressed in club wear. Each is wearing a tiny, sequined dress, and three inch heels. Make-up? Check. Expensive looking hair? Check. It is 6:30PM. Those clothes aren’t supposed to be seen in the light of day. Maybe that’s not the custom here? Also, why are none of the men good looking? I looked closer at the man closest to me. He wasn’t aging well and had a stain on his shirt, but the woman next to him was younger and absolutely stunning… and had her hands…. O… M… G!

“Why haven’t you picked a table yet? That one you passed looked just fine,” says Josh.

He hasn’t figured it out yet.

We find a table and I tell him my theory. He looks around and I can see his whole face change as he realizes it’s true.

Hint number three came next. A man came over, introduced himself as one of the singers for the night, and sat down with us. He said he was one of the 160 people that work there and that he was pretty sure I was the only woman in the place that wasn’t on staff. They were all “singers, dancers, masseurs, or… you know…”

As with everyone else we have met here, he was very kind and answered all of our questions without judgement, and I asked a lot of questions. I discovered, with the help of our new table mate, that this was one of the most well known local’s clubs in town. He told us what this sort of establishment was called in the local language, but we’ve since forgotten. This style of building is very common for these places, though, with a stage, food stalls, and large center floor. These establishments are for the poorer class.

“There are many more all over too,” he said as he pointed towards the night club across the street that I have been complaining about all week. “Those kinds are much more expensive though. They have many private rooms, but you must pay a minimum of 300RM. Some men can spend over 1,000RM in just a few hours. Here is easier. Better.”

As the conversation lulled and the other man was obviously trying to hint at something, we downed the rest of our beer and made to leave. “Thank you for having a beer here. Maybe a 10RM tip for my company?” Josh gave him a five and we left. The girls all stopped this time when we passed and waved good-bye to me and giggled.

Now that I am safely out of that large, dark, and crowded room I can say that this was, not necessarily a fun experience, but certainly an interesting one. We won’t be going back anytime soon, but I’m glad we decided to walk in. It was a candid peek into parts of the local life that you won’t find in any guide books, the type of experience that makes traveling worthwhile.

*Note: Prostitution is illegal in Malaysia, so I’m sure I just misunderstood the situation. 😉

Cover photo by: Caitlyn Wilson

China Brews

China isn’t really known for their beer and it is obvious why at the first sip. Now, that isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy my beer in China, because I absolutely did. I enjoyed it the same way I enjoy a refreshing Coors Light. Sometimes I just really want a Coors Light, sue me.

China isn’t really known for their beer and it is obvious why at the first sip. Now, that isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy my beer in China, because I absolutely did. I enjoyed it the same way I enjoy a refreshing Coors Light. Sometimes I just really want a Coors Light, sue me.

My favorite brew of China was Guilin Liquan’s 1998 LiQ beer. It was very smooth, refreshing, and a great price at only ¥10 ($1.55). I would also put Guilin Liquan as my favorite brewer in China. I tried two of their crafts. I couldn’t taste much of a difference between the two, but they were both better than the others I had.

On our last couple of days in China, we bunked with a Chinese brewer at the hostel. He was in the middle of a brewery tour in Chengdu. He gave us a list of places to try and talked to us about the growing micro-brew culture in China and how he sees it around the world. It was super interesting to talk to him and we are looking forward to our next trip to Chengdu to check out the breweries he suggested.

I only got a taste for the flavors around me. Please share your favorite China beers in the comments, and if you’re an Untappd user, add us as friends!

Top UnTappd Badges Earned This Month


Brew Update – China

New China Flavors: 9

 New China Breweries: 8

Flavor Life List: 51


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Beijing Yanjing Brewery – Beijing, China

  • Yanjing Beer North American Adjunct

China Resources Snow Breweries – Beijing, China

  • Snow Beer 8.0 P Lager

Harbin Brewing – Harbin, China

  • Harbin Beer Pale

Master Gao Craft – Nanjing, China

  • Baby IPA

Panda Brew – China

  • Outlaw Witbier

Shandong Hande Brewing Co. – China

  • Baishi Royale Lager

Tsingdao Brewery – Qingdao, China

  • Tsingtao Pale

Yanjing Pijiu (Guilin Liquan) – Guilin, China

  • 1998 LiQ American Light
  • 10P LiQ North American Adjunct

The Eagles Have Landed

We’re here! Despite a couple of small hiccups, it was a surprisingly easy travel day.

We’re here! Despite a couple of small hiccups, it was a surprisingly easy travel day. Our plane had some technical issues in Seattle causing us to be grounded for the night. It was a wonderful little side trip though. The airline booked us in a decent hotel near by with some food vouchers. We ate well, slept well, and woke up refreshed for the next day.

Everything went off without a hitch the following day. The flight from Seattle to Beijing was a quick(!) eleven hours. We were fed more than we needed and offered beer and wine regularly. I tried the Yanjing Beer, but mostly enjoyed one of my final opportunities to enjoy copious amounts of coffee for the next couple months.

20180101_170145.jpg

We landed in Beijing about 30 minutes late, but customs went quickly and we made it to our connecting flight just as it started boarding. We were two of only three foreigners on the plane. The other one sat between Josh and I for some reason. She was… different. Needless to say, we made it pretty obvious that we were not with her whenever we could.

The flight from Beijing to Guangzhou was a very long(!) 3.5 hours, but once again we were fed way more than necessary and able to keep pretty busy despite the fact that we had to power down our cell phones… not just airplane mode… POWER DOWN.

fc93bf6319a04aad8504003f_298x199

We landed in Guangzhou just a little past 1:00AM. We hit the bathrooms, the ATM, and grabbed a taxi to downtown. Due to the delay in Seattle, I had to cancel our reservation at our hostel and just showed up this morning hoping they would have space. Thankfully, they did, but in separate dorm rooms.

[I’ll get you all a full rundown on the hostel once my roommate wakes her lazy butt up.]

We kissed good-night at the top of the stairs and agreed to text each other once we got settled into our bunks. Of course, it wasn’t until we got into our bunks that we experienced some of our first issues with the Great Fire Wall of China. I messaged him in every medium I could think of. I eventually got through to him by commenting on one of his beer tastings in Untapped.

I had a short, but nice sleep. I only had one roommate and she did not get in until 4am. Josh and I met again in the morning, got him worked out with Skype messaging (the best way to get a hold of us currently), got dressed, and went on a hunt for breakfast.

There are plenty of things that turn me off to China, but the food is something that just keeps bringing me back. Even just a walk down the crowded and dusty street after very little sleep was punctuated by greatness from all of the sights and smells of the food stalls and restaurants.

We ended up eating at a little hole in the wall place serving up some of my favorite breakfast pastries. Since we are in Southern China, they also had a nice collection of dim sum. Everything was amazing and immediately got me excited for the day.

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Left to Right: red bean paste stuffed sweet pastry, egg and green onion pastry thing, steamed bun, and some pork yummies.

The plan for the day is to run a couple of major errands, but otherwise take it pretty easy. I’m not totally stoked on our hostel, so we are going to head to the train station and book our tickets to Guilin. Then we need to do some shopping to pick up some little things. Besides that, our only other goals are to eat delicious food, meet a couple of the other hostel guests, and maybe/hopefully take a nap.

That’s it. We are safe, well fed, not particularly well rested, but ready to adventure.

Idaho Brews – World Beer Collection

Idaho has a pretty decent beer scene and is growing in popularity for wineries as well. Here is my collection of Idaho brews!

Idaho, USA has a pretty decent beer scene and is growing in popularity for wineries as well. Since my birding in Idaho didn’t seem to be going very well, I figured I better put some extra effort into my world beer collection. We participated in a couple organized pub crawls and did some of our own Idaho brew adventuring as well. I was pretty happy with just about everything we tried.

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Idaho Brews

My favorite Idaho brew was Udaho Gold by Salmon River Brewing in McCall, Idaho. I didn’t get to try this while I was in McCall, but if you get the opportunity, I strong suggest going. McCall, Idaho is, in my humble opinion, one of the best places on earth.

Read about our short trip to McCall from Boise. ♥

I set up a Happy Hour tour for Josh and I with several stops scattered throughout downtown. We didn’t end up making it to a single planned stop because we kept getting distracted by other pubs and breweries along the way. One such place was Barbarian Brewing Downtown Tap Room. Very few locals I have talked to have even heard of it, which surprises us, since it ended up being our favorite Boise brewery! We only had time for three tasters, but each one was better than the last. We enjoyed the service, the vibe, and really enjoyed the delicious beers. My favorite was The Everman, a honey beer.

World Beer

Idaho ended up being a great stop along our world beer tasting journey. I only got a taste for the flavors around me, as there are so many local breweries. Please share your favorite Idaho brews in the comments, and if you’re an Untappd user, add us as friends.

More of the World Beer Collection ♥


Beer Update – December 2017

New Idaho Brews: 12

 New Idaho Breweries: 9

Flavor Life List: 35


Laughing Dog Brewing – Sandpoint, Idaho

  • Cream Ale

Salmon River Brewing – McCall, Idaho

  • Udaho Gold

Edge Brewing Company – Boise, Idaho

  • Edge Lager

Barbarian Brewing – Garden City, Idaho

  • The Everman Honey Beer
  • Wolf Pup Pale Ale
  • NeoWolf 001 IPA

Powderhaus Brewing Company – Garden City, Idaho

  • Hinterlander Porter

Wallace Brewing Company – Wallace, Idaho

  • Compressor SMaSH

Bear Island Brewing Company – Boise, Idaho

  • Christmas in Your Mouth Winter Warmer

Boise Brewing – Boise, Idaho

  • Broad St Blonde Ale

Payette Brewing Company – Boise, Idaho

  • North Fork Lager
  • Hazelnut Mutton Buster Brown Ale

 

Idaho Brews – December 2017

Idaho has a pretty decent beer scene and is growing in popularity for wineries as well. Here is my collection of Idaho brews!

Idaho has a pretty decent beer scene and is growing in popularity for wineries as well. Since my birding in Idaho didn’t seem to be going very well, I figured I better put some extra effort into my brew collecting. We participated in a couple organized pub crawls and did some of our own brew adventuring as well. I was pretty happy with just about everything we tried.

I think my favorite brew of the month was the DBA (Double Barrel Ale) from Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles, California. My favorite local brew was Udaho Gold by Salmon River Brewing in McCall, Idaho.

I set up a Happy Hour tour for Josh and I with several stops scattered throughout downtown. We didn’t end up making it to a single planned stop because we kept getting distracted by other pubs and breweries along the way. One such place was Barbarian Brewing Downtown Tap Room. Very few locals I have talked to have even heard of it, which surprises us, since it ended up being our favorite brewery! We only had time for three tasters, but each one was better than the last. We enjoyed the service, the vibe, and really enjoyed the delicious beers. My favorite was The Everman, a honey beer.

I only got a taste for the flavors around me, as there are so many local breweries. Please share your favorite Idaho beers in the comments, and if you’re an Untappd user, add us as friends!


Brew Update – December 2017

New Idaho Flavors: 12

 New Idaho Breweries: 9

Flavor Life List: 35


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Laughing Dog Brewing – Sandpoint, Idaho

  • Cream Ale

Salmon River Brewing – McCall, Idaho

  • Udaho Gold

Edge Brewing Company – Boise, Idaho

  • Edge Lager

Barbarian Brewing – Garden City, Idaho

  • The Everman Honey Beer
  • Wolf Pup Pale Ale
  • NeoWolf 001 IPA

Powderhaus Brewing Company – Garden City, Idaho

  • Hinterlander Porter

Wallace Brewing Company – Wallace, Idaho

  • Compressor SMaSH

Bear Island Brewing Company – Boise, Idaho

  • Christmas in Your Mouth Winter Warmer

Boise Brewing – Boise, Idaho

  • Broad St Blonde Ale

Payette Brewing Company – Boise, Idaho

  • North Fork Lager
  • Hazelnut Mutton Buster Brown Ale

Brew Collections

I don’t like to collect physical things, but I do enjoy collecting moments. That is why, with each new place, I will post a wrap up of the new beers I tried.

It drives Josh crazy when I play video games because I am a collector. I rarely pay attention to the progression of the game. I just run around breaking and collecting as many things as I can. I find that I live my life in much the same way (without the destruction, of course). I don’t like to collect physical things, but I do enjoy collecting moments. That is why, with each new place, I will post a wrap up with not only my Birding Update, but also my Brew Update. And, who knows, I might start more collections later 😉

First off, a quick story about my relationship with beer:

It was a long time ago in a state far-far away. I was attending my first party in Eugene, Oregon (consistently rated the top hippy town in the USA) after moving there from Eastern Washington. Martini bars were the hot thing and I was disappointed to find that it had not caught on in Eugene. People in Eugene drank beer. That is why, at my first party, I brought the only “beer” I actually liked, Mike’s Hard Lemonade – black cherry flavor. The gift I had so thoughtfully procured was immediately and discreetly confiscated and hidden under the sink. This party was filled with locals and they weren’t going to be caught dead drinking my bitch beer. So began my journey to try and become a beer snob.

About the rating system:

My bestie and I enjoy the finer things in life, but are ourselves maybe slightly less fine than we expect the world around us to be. So we have adopted a way of living I like to call (excuse my language) Classy as Fuck. Upon participating in our first classy tasting adventure, we needed a way to look as snooty as the people around us: “Yes… hints of dirt and cardboard… yes… quite.” We had a difficult time remembering the rating scale as well (is 5 the highest or is 1 the highest?) and therefore created the simplest, classiest, and funnest rating system: Smiley Faces. 

rating

And finally, the app… because there is an app for everything.

The only thing better than collecting things is to also collect badges as a reward for all of my collecting. So, please join me (and help me get friend badges) on the Untappd App.


Beer Life List: 51