Waiting, always waiting, the coffee O.K., an improvement over Thailand, and the Lao people do enjoy their bread, nice croissants, a baguette at breakfast with fried eggs, I even sampled some cheesecake, which I thought was quite nice. In Laos you pay, but I don’t mind paying for something that’s good—a fair price, in Thailand sometimes the food is too cheap and it shows in the quality. A good slice of cheesecake should cost around 3 USD, and in Thailand sometimes I think twice about what I’m really eating.
Everything is exported into Laos, except one thing—the beer. It’s genuine, and it’s very, very good. On the way to the Friendship Bridge you pass the state-of-the-art Lao brewery, amazing, looking like it would fit right into the landscape of any European city…
Lao Brewery Co., Ltd. was founded in 1973 as a joint venture between foreign investors and Lao businessmen originally under the registered name of Lao Beer and Ice Factory. After National Liberation in December 1975, the Lao Government took over the foreigners’ shares and followed by the voluntarily handing over of shares from the Lao businessmen to the State.
Today Lao Brewing Company is 50% owned by the Lao government with the remained foreign owned, with a large stake controlled by Carlsberg Breweries. The original formula has changed, from mostly imported ingredients to its current formula of high quality Jasmine rice, hops and wheat. The brewmeister learned her trade in Europe and in shows in both the taste and quality of the product, which is far superior then most of the beers brewed in neighboring countries.
Thailand has it’s own beers, the popular Singha which in my opinion is undrinkable, too preservative heavy, I’m assuming because of the heat, Leo, which is not bad, and Chang, the backpackers favorite beverage, most likely because of it’s alcohol content and price. None of them measure up to Beer Lao in either taste, or quality. I’d like a Beer Lao, but it’s difficult to find, and at nearly double the price, cost prohibitive if you’re traveling or living on a budget.
“Great beer,” people say. “But where’s it from? Where is Laos, anyway?”