Who knew? Chiang Mai has a craft beer scene! The first day that we arrived, we looked up a few places to eat at for dinner, we decided to go with ‘Lemongrass.’ When I opened the menu, I was shocked to see ‘Chiang Mai IPA.’ The Beer itself was quite easy drinking; light fruity flavours with a dash of a hoppy taste, would be great for those with new taste buds for the craft scene. This then triggered a search for more craft beer and after scrolling through many, many blogs I finally had a list of places to look for. Which lead me to this blog, for you craft beer lovers out there I have narrowed it down to my three favourite craft beer bars.
1. Namton’s House Bar
Even the tuk tuk, drivers got a little lost trying to find this place, I ended up directing them with the map I had. Tucked away in a garden you can see the glowing lights leading to the bar. A chalk board out the front reads ‘No normal beer here’, hanging bunting leads you through a balcony terrace to indoors. Plants hang from the ceiling, candles flicker in the corners, everywhere you look you can see hand crafted arts. Then finally you see a list of 20 imported beers with a further 12 on tap.
Namton’s was my favourite craft beer bar in Chiang Mai offering a very intimate craft experience. The food served here is more so snack style, but you could easily spend hours here lingering on the wide range of craft beer.
2. Beer Lab
Right in the heart of Nimman, (which is a huge expat area in Chiang Mai) this is where you will find the upper-class restaurants, award winning baristas and craft beer.
Think big, think flashy, you can’t miss this place! Beer lab was bustling even at 9pm! The menu is extensive with each page dedicated to a country and their beers – where do you even start?! When you walk in the entrance you have the option to sit on stools at kegs, through to stools at the bar and tables that are spread and hidden, offering some intimacy if you wish. The tables are lined with empty bottles from all over the world and there’s different styles of art work hidden behind walls and doors. The only reason this place wasn’t my favourite? It was TOO flashy. I much prefer lingering in a quite crafty with my journal than bingeing through expensive craft beer in a place most people just want to be ‘seen’ in. You’re very much a table and a number here, there’s no real opportunity to talk to the bar tender about their favourite beer.
Here you can order a pint of Hoegaarden for only 280 Baht which is what you saw a lot of people drinking. Prices ranged from 150 Baht to 700 Baht depending on the size and strength and we ordered Heelch O’Hops; a Double IPA from California for 330 Baht with a whopping 8.7%!
Beers here came from everywhere! Spain, Mexico, Estonia, Sri Lanka, Korea, Norway, America, Canada, Scotland, New Zealand, Japan, Italy, Germany, England, Czech, Australia, Belgium, where do I stop!
3. Craft Beer Factory
Craft Beer Factory is located in a slightly out of town location, just down the road from Namtons. Craft beer factory is more of an upbeat dive bar. There are instruments set up in the corner, (however due to the kings passing there was no music when I was there) the bar is quite dark with quirky signs about beer all over the place, you can tell it would get quite rowdy at times. The food is tasty and reasonably priced and they also offer ‘normal’ beers for those in the party that are ‘outraged’ at the price of craft beer.
Craft beers here ranged from 230 Baht to 330 Baht and there was a range between, California, New Zealand and Japan. We tried Freshly Squeezed IPA from Oregon and paid 250 Baht for a 330ml bottle. I think you could easily spend all night here eating, drinking and then dancing the night away. I liked that the bar was in a peculiar area, it was like a treasure hunt rather than an expected location and you can escape the noise of the traffic for a while
I also checked out Beer Factory, however it was quite disappointing. There was one German IPA, then the rest of the ‘craft beers’ were steins of German and Belgium beer. This bar is also located in Nimman. There’s nothing particularly special here, just another bar serving a few European beers, but hey if that’s what you are after then this is your place! We got a pint of Vedett IPA for 280 Baht .