Getting to the Chit beer home brewery isn’t the easiest of enterprises. Tucked away on Koh Kret, known for it’s artisan pottery community, it’ll take you around two hours to get there. Yet, the trip comes with a reward. Khun Wichit’s riverside brewery slash bar is a beer lovers paradise.
Wichit Saiklao is the godfather of the Thai craft beer scene. He started home brewing three years ago and many followed his example, creating the present craft beer scene. Unlike Boonrawd Brewery which is set up alongside the Chao Praya river as well, the operation is somewhat smaller. A bar, a couple of brewing kettles, tables and chairs and a fridge to ferment the beer in. The manual barley crusher makes the set up truly DIY.
When asked weather he thinks the law can change he says:
“It’s all illegal. The police has come a couple of times, they write me a ticket, take pictures and leave. Somebody must have reported me and so they had to come and take a look.“
He explains further that to get a brewing license you need to produce 100.000 litres of beer per year and that this is the only license available. Producing such quantities of beer is obviously impossible for small brewers. When asked if he thinks the law can change he says:
“Yes but not now, now there are maybe around two hundred to three hundred craft brewers in Thailand. If we get that number up to a couple of thousand the law will change.”
He doesn’t like industrial brewed beers and has the approach of an artisan. He wants to brew on a small scale, enough to be self sufficient. His mission is as much about beer as it is about economics. Economics, not commercialization.
“I’d like to see a class A, class B, class C…different brewing licenses. Allowing people to brew for themselves and be self sufficient. Phuket beer, for example, outsources their brewing to San Miguel but this is an industrialized process, it’s not craft brewing.”
This Thai revolution is a lot more pleasant than the one taking place last year. It’s a hot day and the beer drinking, buffalo wing eating crowd consists mainly of beer lovers and other craft brewers. The beers on tap are refreshing with a nice flavour balance without being too complicated. A minor flaw is the rather weak carbonation but that might just be this batch. He brews new batches every week, experimenting with different local flavours like mango and lemongrass.
If you want to try Chit beer yourself or want to take part in one of the brewing workshops, you’ll have to take the Chao Praya express boat to pier 30 (Nonthaburi). From there you can take a boat to Koh Kret or take a cab to Wat Klang Kret pier where you can crossover to the island. Chit home brewery is not far from the pier. Look for soi Moo 1, the house number is 66/1. Only open on weekends. More info on their website and Facebook Page.
Go and try it yourself, it’s good Chit.
Article by Alexander Eeckhout