Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Epic Search for IPA

I have a confession to make- Eric and I are beer snobs. Which is funny considering that we spent many an hour during the beginning of our relationship drinking $1 pints of Coors Light and solving all of the world's problems. Now that we are older, and wiser we've come to the realization that the saying "Life's too short to drink crappy beer" is all too true.

Luckily, we lived in Wisconsin- one of the best states for great micro and craft breweries. We could go to almost any restaurant and they would have at least 10 different beers on tap, and these would be good beers not just Miller or Budweiser. The grocery stores were filled with beer not only from Wisconsin, but from all over the United States. Plus, in our city there was a home brew supply store where Eric could get supplies to brew his own beer.

* Wisconsin- Home of the World's Largest Six Pack!
 * Photo courtesy of World Largest Roadside Attractions- an awesome site!

Of course not all of the beer we liked was cheep, many a family gathering was filled with light hearted teasing from our relatives who couldn't understand why anyone would pay $12 for a six pack of beer. We in turn complemented them on their choice of beer flavored water. 

More often than not, our go-to beer would be an IPA or India Pale Ale. For those of you who haven't tried this drink of the gods, I weep for you. It has an intense hop flavor due to the extreme amount of hops used in the brewing process. It is definitely an acquired taste, but once you are hooked all other beers pale in comparison. ( Did you see what I did there?)

Flash forward to our arrival in Bangkok. During our preparations for moving overseas I spent many hours reading expat blogs and forums- so I knew that finding IPA beer in Bangkok would be difficult. I just never realized just how difficult it would be.

Our first place to look for IPA was at the usual place people go to look for beer- local bars. After some searching on the interwebs we were able to find two bars that might carry IPA. Our first stop was at "The Londoner Brew Pub", a bar on Sukhumvit Soi 23. The Londoner actually brews it's own beer at the pub and one of the beers is a Cream Bitter, which we thought might be somewhat similar to an IPA since hops have a bitter taste. Boy were we wrong. The beer itself was pretty good, but it was absolutely nothing like an IPA. So that was strike one.

Our next attempt was at a bar called "The Office" which is located off of Sukhumvit Soi 33. We read on a couple of expat blogs and forums that they carry an IPA. This interesting excursion did not lead to an IPA beer ( the forums mistakenly called a Pale Ale beer IPA- completely different beers, people) it did lead to us experiencing something that I knew existed in Bangkok, but had yet to see for myself. 

When you walk into "The Office" the first thing you see is a long bar. Instead of the usual selection of booze and beer you find behind most bars, this one had a selection of scantily clad women wearing numbers. The actual bar with all of the alcohol was shoved into the corner out of the way. So while we were drinking our Pale Ales we could watch beautiful Thai women do exciting things, like text on their phones and talk to each other. Of course, we did go at 6:00 in the evening, so I am sure it is much more exciting later at night. 

So that was strike two.

Strike three came when we attempted to find IPA in the grocery stores. Bangkok actually has quite a few grocery stores that cater to expats and carry a wide selection of imported goods we can't live without- like Doritos and salsa. We searched high and low, asking everyone we met if they knew of a place to buy IPA beer, but our search came up empty.

We did find Boone's Farm though. Notice the anti-theft devices
Stay tuned for the thrilling ( I swear it will be thrilling) conclusion to our Epic Search for an IPA...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

January Musings

Standard Intro:
Well, it is time for me to write another of these “blog” things. I really don’t know how to do this, so I’ll just do a brain dump, which means I’m going to ramble and meander my way around and finally just abruptly stop.

Here are some of the things that happened to me since my last edition:

About a month ago, we were coming home from work and we saw this black smoke in the distance. Then the traffic started getting really bad, almost gridlock bad. Then we saw fire trucks. As we approached the source of the smoke we found out it is a coach bus…on fire! I don’t have more information that that, but I saw a bus on fire! Weird!

That same week I received an email from a coworker and it turns out that the security guards at my work found and killed a 3.5-4 foot long king cobra snake in our parking lot! So that is exciting! For those who are coming to visit, do not Google search King Cobra- you've been warned

(image is not of the one from work...that one was missing its head)

One weekend in January we went to a place called Holland Beer Haus. It is very similar to the German Beer Haus. A bunch of people were going there after work for a coworkers birthday, but they were not going to get there until 8:00. So I went home and picked up Melanie waited an hour or so and headed back to the beer haus.

On the way back up I realized I didn’t know where I was going, well, I had an idea, but I did not know for sure. So, when we got close I pulled into a gas station and tried to ask the person behind the counter for direction. Of course I can’t speak any Thai and unfortunately they didn’t speak English. I said I wanted to go to the Holland Beer Haus, and she was like “Heineken?” I was like…wow, that makes sense. Then tried to pantomime big building, windmill, etc. She was like Oh…yeah…go that way 3 km…but this was in broken English and some Thai, but I understood and said "Thank You" and went back out to the car and we continued our journey. We arrived at the restaurant, which was exactly 3 km down the road. Our group ended up being late, but that is okay, Melanie and I enjoyed some beer and sun dried pork strips (so tasty.) When everyone showed up we watched a live band and ate lots of food. And the band sang happy birthday to the birthday boy….which brings me to another story…

I have noticed that the Thai people sing happy birthday in English….I don’t know if this is because I was present, or if it always happens that way…and the song is very similar to the happy birthday song I grew up with…but a little different…Let me sing it for you (now imagine me singing this out of key and to the with no rhythm, because I am a Rock God!)

American Version:
Happy Birthday to you / Happy Birthday to you / Happy Birthday Dear Billy Bob / Happy Birthday to you.

Thai Version:
Happy Birthday to you / Happy Birthday to you / Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday / Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday to you / Happy Birthday to you / Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday / Happy Birthday to you.

Yeah they sign it twice while clapping their hands…actually I kind of like it, plus you don’t have to remember the special person’s name.

The worlds most expensive street food!

One other weekend we went out with some friends, we started the night at the most expensive street food vendor in Bangkok …but it was very, very good. While we were there a friend of a friend showed up and was talking with us as we all enjoyed a few beers. She asked what I did and I said I was a process engineer for a manufacturing company, she immediately asks if I was from Wisconsin ….I was like..huh? Yeah…why? She said she could tell by the way I said manufacturing…I still don’t understand what she means, but very impressive none the less.

We had a Thai Massage the other day. It was 2 hours long and cost about $15. Not too bad. For those who don’t know, a Thai massage is more than just someone rubbing you, they also bend you and stretch you. The lady I had this time also stood on me….a lot. I have only had 3 massages since I was here, but each time they were able to pop my hip back in place (yay) and the first two I felt great, this last one was a little different…I don’t know if it was all the stepping or what, but I am still sore (and it has been 3 days!) Now keep in mind this is not a bad sore, it is a sore like I have been working out. I think I need to find a person I like, and get her name....maybe next time.

Standard outro?? Or whatever you call the end of something
I think this is enough words for one post…If I can convince Melanie to give up the camera for a week I will do a post called…The Crazy Things I See To and From Work.