When I planned my trip to Siem Reap Cambodia, the land of $0.50 draft beers, I wasn’t expecting to find a brewery. I didn’t even search for one until I was already a week into my trip, relaxing at my hotel in Penang Malaysia. To my surprise I found one right off the bat, because the brewery knew how to market itself as craft beer. Siem Reap brew pub is located a little bit away from pub street, where most visitors spend the evenings enjoying cheap beer. Thankfully Google knows where it is and it is fairly easy to find because of its large space and bright lights. They have five beers available, a blonde, a golden ale, a honey wheat, an ipa, and a stout (which the simply call a dark ale). I tried all five over two separate visits because the flight of tasters only includes four.
The blonde ale is crisp and delicious with notes of citrus and honey with detectable floral hops but nothing overpowering. Most drinkers might not notice the hops at all. The Golden ale is fruity and medium bitter and to me resembles a pale ale more than a golden ale. The beer has notes of banana, Apple, and spice with a strong bitter finish. Those who aren’t much into hops should skip this one. The honey wheat is smooth and not too sweet, and drinks like a good wheat ale with hints of honey. The spice notes typically from a Belgian yeast are present and balance nicely with the honey.
The ipa mostly has flavors of tropical fruit and apple with a light body and good balance. The Golden ale was almost more hoppy. The ipa is neither a classic British style nor northwest style nor West Coast style. After speaking to the brewer and learning that this primarily uses galaxy hops I was less impressed because it didn’t taste anything like what I’m used to with the hops. It isn’t terrible but I ended up drinking more of the lighter styles instead. The stout is medium body with molasses flavors dominating and supported by dark chocolate notes in the back. The molasses is a nice nod towards the local stout flavors but this beer is much more complex.
The Brewpub has a fancy feel to it with a pond in the center of the outdoor area and comfortable seating outside. Inside tables have white table cloths and folded cloth napkins. For a Cambodian brewery I was glad that they charged only $3 for a flight and the same for each individual pour of beer. This is a nice change from Malaysia where the imported beers are usually $8 to $10, though they are also a Muslim country and so alcohol is not as common. I found the beers at Siem Reap brew pub to be overall very impressive and much better than any craft beer offerings I’ve tried in the Philippines. Before heading home I stopped by the Philippines to try some craft beer to see how they improved. As you will read in my next post, a few breweries are making some solid beers in the Philippines as well. If you care about quality local beers when you travel be sure to stop by this brewery if you are ever in Siem Reap.