I was lucky enough to travel through Cambodia the past two weeks. Wow. Impressive!
Apart from S21, the Killing Fields & Angkor Wat, which were all life events, I got to kayak through the jungle, see monkeys, sleep in a tree house… Yeah, it was GOOD.
But of course I also had to try the local beer! The local lager is Angkor or Cambodia. Perfectly serviceable when nice and cold, because it was HOT out there! In Phnom Penh there was no shortage of nice cold mass produced lager, but in the countryside I occasionally struggled to find anything below lukewarm. No wonder as there is limited electricity and a lot of the cooling depends on blocks of ice. So whining about it to very poor people in the middle of the jungle felt in very bad taste!
Craft beer brewery Cervesia is in Phnom Penh, and the location, Botanico beer garden, is absolutely delightful. A garden, with water features, and you can even rent an officethere! How cool is that… The beer still tasted a little amateurish, as if they’d brewed too many, too soon. But perhaps over time their brews will become a little more memorable.
In Siem Reap – home of Angkor Wat! – there’s the Siem Reap Brewery. And again a wonderful location, a lush garden, water features, great service, lovely food and oh boy did they have some cool brewing gear! But it felt as if they should have taken a little more time to develop their different brews, get a flavour of their own. As it was, we weren’t even sure which one was supposed to be the IPA…
And then, in the middle of Phnom Penh’s Red Light District – by the way I chatted to some of the girls, we kicked some ass playing pool, and Cambodian working girls make most of their money getting paid for every drink they sell and don’t seem to have pimps. Interesting. Anyway, we accidentally suddenly came across a Belgian Beer Bar in a very unpromising street. It’s called La Patate (The Potato, basically they sell fries and beer) and they had all the proper glassware, knew exactly how to pour, very impressive!
Basically it’s early days for Cambodia. Most of the people are struggling to get by, if I remember correctly the average income was $70 a month. Not much room in that budget to indulge in fancy beers. But like all over the planer craft beer is on the rise and in a few years it’ll be booming.