So let me tell you about Changovers. It’s a term that Guy introduced me to. His name was actually Guy, I’m not slacking here. I thought it was a joke that he made but when I googled Chang it was the first thing that came up. I had been wondering why I was getting buzzed so easily when in tiny lettering the bottle stated that the beer was only 5.5% ABV. Of course I was drinking the larger ones.
There are three main beers you will encounter in every bar. Chang, Leo, and Singha. Chang in my opinion is the least flavorful and what I drank the most of initially. It’s similar in taste to a Pabst Blue Ribbon or a Budweiser but less pissy and goes down smoothly. Singha is the most hoppy somewhat resembling an IPA. Leo falls somewhere in between and over time has become my favorite.
So why was I getting drunk off of two beers? I hadn’t been drinking as much in the past couple months as I avoided spending my money at bars. But two beers?
Turns out Chang which is the Thai word for elephant is aptly named. There is a popular rumor that I have been unable to confirm. I am not a beer expert by any means. I’ve heard the answer to my original question has to do with the lack of internal beer regulations. It is said that alcohol percentage is not strictly tested and abided by and that in 1993 a local newspaper found that bottles ranged from 4-12% ABV. However that was over twenty years ago. Feeling old now? Other rumors surround the brewing process and claim that the beer continues to ferment after bottled.
Internet searches have gotten me nowhere. I have not come up with anything reputable to confirm or dismiss these common traveller stories and haven’t been able to find corresponding information about Thailand’s beer regulations.
So are you really playing Chang Roulette or are you just not drinking responsibly? In all likelihood the probability falls more towards the urban legend scale. But the Changover? The Changover is real. We’ll keep using the rumors as an excuse.