The craft beer revolution in Bangkok, while a couple decades late, is really coming on now. One person leading the charge is Prasert Sritaborvornpaiboon or “Geng.” He deals in imported marble as his primary business, but he also has a serious passion for great beer. He opened not one, but two outlets for imported brews in Bangkok. Niche Café on Rama 9 and Niche Beerville along Ram Inthra Expressway.
Niche Beerville is a stand-alone complex just north of CDC (Crystal Design Center) and using the expressway at the right time of day (we went at 3:30pm) you can actually get here by car in about 15 minutes from Sukhumvit Road near On Nut or Bangchak.
The short story: Over 120 premium beers. The menu is divided into American (Scotland’s BrewDog is mistakenly listed there), Belgian, German, Japanese, English…
The selection alone, at prices pretty standard for Bangkok 230-250 baht for most bottles, makes this worth the pilsgrimage. But there are some specials you can’t miss if you’re serious about consumption.
The Happy Minute: For one designated minute on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, draft beers are 77 baht each.
There’s also a Buy 3 Get One Free promotion which might be a little better on the liver than the madness that is… THE BEER BUFFET:
Our Visit to Niche Beerville and the Beer Buffet Challenge
I ventured out with my food blogging better half and friends Ray and Nok to take on the beer buffet. From a list of over 100 bottled beers it’s all you can drink for a period of three hours for 777 baht (available Sunday-Thursday). We took an inside table and started looking over the beer menu and ordered some appetizers to get started. When we finally said “beer buffet” and chose a first round, we had been inside for maybe 15 minutes. It seems they started the clock the moment we sat down. It’s like they KNEW we would order the buffet!
The bottles came and the wait staff presented them like fine wine for approval with the proper glassware, then ceremoniously popped the caps (they didn’t offer us the cap to sniff*), and poured them for us. English was a bit limited with our waiters and we had to adapt our ears to the pronunciation of a few of the brands, but with the pictures to point at, it was all fine. (Tiny pictures. Those using reading glasses should bring them!) Management is more likely to be able to talk style and taste. We went to RateBeer.com and Beer Advocate to check some ratings as we tried a few unknowns.
We knocked back a lot of beer and I don’t mean that as a boast. In the future I would likely just order off the normal menu. To “beat” the buffet you’d need to have about four beers. Not a big deal if you don’t hit the heavy ones. I got in 5 and Ray guzzled 7. But this left us pretty loaded. I’d say the Schneider Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock at 12% abv knocked me down. Very nice stuff! (though tip of the hat to Bo Belanger of South Shore Brewery in Ashland, Wisconsin — I’d say his Weizen-Eisbock a couple years ago was even better! But alas, it doesn’t travel.)
Four options of St Bernardus including the highly acclaimed Abt 12. I went easy and had the dubbel (Pater 6). Delirium was well represented with Tremens, Nocturnum, Red, and the potent Noel. BrewDog is a good bet for some hoppier brews and while it wasn’t on the buffet list, Black Tokyo Horizon could be fun if you’re on a mission (17.25% abv!). It’s a collaborative brewing of a monster stout by three brewers: BrewDog, Mikkeller (Denmark), and Nogne-Ø (Norway). (Not to be confused with Yo-Ho Brewing’s Tokyo Black, a porter I had at Popeye in Tokyo.
It’s worth asking for things that may not be on the menu. A 22-oz. bomber bottle of some “bacon beer” from Oregon’s Rogue Brewing Co. hadn’t even been priced yet. Voodoo Donut Bacon Maple Ale, named after the awesome Voodoo Donuts in Portland.
From the outdoor beer garden at Niche Beerville you can watch the sunset. That’s not so attractive an idea in the hot season, but in December when it’s more temperate it should be nice to drink outside (that’s typically the beer garden season anyway). There is a stage here for live music. We had a live trio for some background music indoors.
Three types of sausage with potato, including northern style sai ua
Food is billed as Thai fusion. Some pastas with Thai twists, all a wee bit pricey and small portioned, but not bad.
I was intrigued by a larb moo variation that I instantly dubbed chicken-fried larb moo.
Niche Cafe is along Rama IX, and while it is smaller in size and food menu, the beer selection remains as expansive. I believe it merits an independent visit. Watch here for it.
*I’m kidding. Can’t be too careful today with the general loss of a sense of sarcasm.