Kampot Cider – Cambodia [Cider Review]

Cambodia may not be famous for its cider, but it does have a secret! Kampot Cider is actually made in Sihanoukville but it is still Cambodian Cider.  I’ve tried to find more information about this cidery but haven’t been able to dig anything up.  The only other hard cider I have been able to find here in Cambodia is Hops’ Mango Cider, which Beckie can attest to is amazing!  Everything else I have seen has been imported from Australia or Europe.  I have had a few Kampot Ciders and I can tell you it is lovely, sparkling and refreshing on the tropically hot days here in Cambodia.

Kampot Cider is made with Cider with Champagne Yeast which gives it a beautiful sparkle, I have been told it carries on fermenting in the bottles so the strength could be higher than what is on the label.  It’s also got the classic hard cider gunk at the bottom of the bottle so you know it’s really local.

Know of any other cider shops in Cambodia?  Please let me know, I’d love to check them out.

Riel Brewing and Distilling – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Just when you think you know about all the breweries in Phnom Penh, Cambodia surprises you.  Bullet and I went to a dog meet up here in Phnom Penh and Riel Brewing was pouring craft beer at the event.  I was fascinated to find another brewery here in Cambodia.  I did some more research on this brewery and this is what I found:

It all started in July 2013, when the founders were relaxing in their apartment in Toul Kork, Phnom Penh. In love with Phnom Penh and Cambodia, there was only one thing they missed – great beer!  The founders had brewed for many years in the past, but a lust for adventure had put an unfortunate end to that.
And so a plan was put in action. Returning to their home countries of America and Australia, they began building funds and putting together resources.

Returning to Phnom Penh in 2015, they set to work building their dream brewery. Finally able to bring the beer they missed so much, to the country that stole their hearts.  Their head brewer also happens to be a software engineer and so was able to custom-build our entire brewing and fermentation system. These systems allow for any style of beer you can imagine and all at the press of a button!  Well, maybe a few buttons.

While at the dog meet up, I tried their newly released Smash Cream Ale.  I’m really looking forward to trying a few more of their beers the next time I’m near their brewery in Toul Tom Poung in Phnom Penh.  Here are a few of the other beers they make:

  • Toasted Coconut Brown Ale – This smooth brown ale was made with both dark and non-dark beer drinkers in mind. With its light roasted malt flavors blended perfectly with toasted coconut flesh for a fresh, mild, easy-drinking brown ale. Even if you’re not a fan of dark beers, you’ll love this one.
  • India Pale Ale – For those familiar with IPAs you already know what this is all about: hops, big beer. We use varieties of hops from around the globe, and we use a lot of them! Along with a hefty malt bill to give a great body and smooth taste.
  • Grapefruit Pale Ale – This refreshing pale ale is created using varieties of hops all the way from New Zealand. We add fresh grapefruit zest to give the perfect zesty compliment to the specially selected hop varieties. We then match this with a carefully chosen malt bill to give this ale it’s refreshing, easy drinking flavor that just begs for another sip!
  • Summer Session Ale – A lighter beer than our other selections, this refreshing and smooth ale is crisp and clean tasting. It is a very drinkable beer while still being aromatic, with a fresh malt character. Perfect for a hot Cambodian summers eve!

Ever been to Cambodia?  What was your favorite brewery there?

Kingdom Brewery – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Kingdom Brewery’s Export Beer

I recently rode a little outside of the Phnom Penh to check out Kingdom Brewery.  They offer a tour, with “unlimited” beer.  The tour book said it would be $7, then when we arrived we were told it would be $8, but in the end we were charged $12.  I’m still not 100% sure why.  To be completely honest, the tour isn’t great.  The hops they have to “smell” are pink with age.  The woman giving the tour spoke very limited English and the tour itself is very, very basic.  For example: “This is where fermentation happens.”  ”This is a water pipe.”

The best part of the tour was walking into the only white guy in the entire facility, he apparently worked at the brewery and suggested we ask for “something in the fridge” after the tour was done.  At the end of the tour, we did that.  The bartenders had no idea what we were asking, so I physically walked behind the bar and opened the fridge.  Inside was a treasure trove of beers that Kingdom Brewery brews for export to other parts of Asia.  Being able to try beers not available in Cambodia was a real treat.  Since we were on our motorcycles, we opted to split a beer.

My advice, skip the tour, hang out in The Taproom and try beers from call over Asia, made in Cambodia, but not sold in Cambodia.  You feel like you are in an exclusive club.

Here is what we tried:

  • Kingdom Pilsner – Light, golden colored lager brewed and matured as a real, traditional Pilsner using European malt and hops with a long, slow fermentation and cold maturation to allow flavors to develop. Reasonably full bodied with a crisp finish, well balanced bitterness and continental hop flavor. Citrus fruits and Saaz are evident on aroma.
  • Kingdom Dark Lager – Dark, amber colored beer, reasonably full bodied with distinct malty tones and a hint of caramel. Moderately bitter and smooth with a distinctive Continental hop aroma.
  • Kingdom Tommy Brown – Dark, full bodied beer, matured and aged to allow flavors to develop. It has a satisfying mouth coating malt sweetness balanced by the pure flavor and taste of the finest Continental hops. Distinctive cocoa and velvety milk chocolate notes come through on the flavor and aroma, making this a fine beer for special occasions.
  • Indochine Belgian Wheat – A refreshing, citrusy Belgian-style white beer with coriander notes.
  • Indochine Indian Pale Ale – Deep, golden colored ale, full bodied, malty and extremely well balanced with distinctive bitterness and hop character from the finest East Kent Goldings and an unmistakable aroma from traditional British Fuggles hops along with very evident citrus notes.
  • Bruntys Cider – A smooth refreshing taste with a crisp dry finish.
  • Brewlander Love Wild Yeast IPA – Brewed with bucket loads of New World hops and fermented with a wild yeast.  With a simple malt bill instead of the crystal heavy grist so that the hops and yeast driven flavors can shine. Love explodes with a beautiful tropical medley of pineapple, mango and passionfruit aromas finishing with a long, clean hoppy bitterness. The mouthfeel is silky and teases with a hint of tartness. The decision to use Extra Pale malt ensures that the bare grist still packs a solid punch. This brew’s enticing fruity aroma will make you fall in love! The hoppiness of this IPA pairs well with stews and all kinds of meat. For more flavor, swirl the bottle and get all the yeast into your glass!

Have you been to Cambodia before?  What is your favorite brewery?

Meet Joy of Sweets & Joyness

Joy and I at Ross Island Brewery

I have this amazing friend name Joy of Sweets & Joyness.  She is an extremely talented baker.  You can check out her website here.  On top of her baking talents, she has a huge passion for beer.  She loves combining the two in really creative ways.  She once made a stout beer cake for our friend’s birthday!

Joy is a wonderful baker that has over 15 years of experience in traditional baking and pastry and would be happy to make your next occasion the best with contemporary style of cookies or cakes to order.

Texagonian (a native Texan living in Oregon or a native Oregonian living in Texas) Joy Childress is a pastry chef focused on making the world a sweeter place one dessert at a time. She founded Sweets & Joyness in 2011 to capture fun events and personalities in custom cake and cookie designs.

Joy’s love for pastry-making started early with a cake decorating course at a local craft store when she was in junior high. From there Joy spent her formative years nurturing an interest in calligraphy and design and building her decorating expertise with a cake decorating job at Cold Stone Creamery.

Joy received her Patisserie and Baking Associate of Arts degree from Western Culinary Institute in 2007. Since then, she has worked for a number of Portland, Oregon’s finest bakeries – including three-times Cupcake Wars winner Crave Bake Shop (now Kyra’s Bake shop), Helen Bernhard’s Bakery, and Marsee Baking – honing her confectionary crafts and creating her unique approach to custom desserts.

BiteSize Brew’s Mentions of Joy:

Zwickelmania 2017 (Recap)

Zwickelmania 2015 [Portland, OR]

Holiday Ale Festival 2014

You’ll see more posts from Joy popping up on BiteSize Brews including some amazing beer reviews and recipes to try at home.  Leave a comment and say “hi” to Joy.

Samai Distillery – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Samai Distillery’s Manhattan

I recently checked out Samai Distillery, Cambodia’s first and only premium rum distillery. They create hand-crafted, premium rums using high-quality, locally grown ingredients and a process that pays tribute to age-old rum making traditions.  Samai Distillery rums are complex and full of character, displaying a flavor profile that reflects the uniqueness of the Cambodian offerings. It is rum that Cambodians can take pride in.  “Samai” is the Khmer word for ”modern,” a new generation, looking towards the future. Samai Distillery is the first generation of rum in Cambodia.

Samai hosts lots of events in their distillery space.  The fundraiser my roommate and I attended was for a local NGO, Animal Mama, that works with animals – specifically street dogs / cats and the rehabilitation of retired de-mining dogs called, Home of the Heroes.

While at the event, we tried two of Samai’s rums:

Samai Gold Rum

Identity: Fine Cambodian Molasses
Origin: Cambodia
Alcohol: 40% alc/vol
Aging: Special French & American oak barrels and Sherry Casks.
Tasting notes: This handcrafted rum has natural hints of vanilla, dark chocolate, and caramelized honey, balanced with a touch of Asian influence.
Awards: a Silver medal at the International Spirits Challenge 2017 in London and a Silver medal at the Barcelona Rum Congress 2017.

How to enjoy: Best enjoyed when sipped neat or in exceptional cocktails.

AND:

Kampot Pepper Rum – This was my favorite of the two.  I love Kampot Pepper so a rum with a little bit of a kick was right up my alley.  Definitely going to pick up a bottle in the near future.

Identity: Fine Cambodian Molasses. Made exclusively with Red Kampot Pepper from La Plantation
Origin: Cambodia
Alcohol: 38% alc/vol
Aging: Matured for 6 months in stainless steel tanks.
Tasting notes: Considered one of the most aromatic and delicious pepper in the world, Kampot Pepper gives this rum a crispy sweet aroma with overtones of guava and eucalyptus. Spicy, fresh, and elegant, Kampot Pepper adds just the right kick to this exceptional rum.
Awards: a Double Gold Medal at the Madrid International Rum Conference 2017 and a Bronze medal at the International Spirits Challenge 2017 in London.

How to enjoy: best enjoyed when sipped neat or in exceptional cocktails
Find your Samai Kampot Pepper Rum: 5cL, 20cL, 70 cL.

How Samai Rum is made:

It all starts with locally-grown sugar cane – nurtured by a warm Cambodian sun and fertile Cambodian soil. Only specially selected, high-quality sugar cane is used to produce the rich, caramel molasses that defines the complex base of all Samai premium rums.  Their fermentation step involves molasses and select yeast and takes place in specialized stainless steel vats, under carefully controlled conditions. The result is a mineral-rich mash at 10% alcohol/volume, full of character and ready for distillation.  They use a handmade, 1800’s-style copper alembic pot for distillation (which we actually saw in action during the event!)  A rectifying lentil enables a purer distillate at 75% to 90% alcohol/volume, while keeping the rich character of the raw ingredients intact.  The distilled spirit is brought down to 65% alcohol/volume, aged in French & American Oak barrels and Sherry casks. These barrels impart delicate flavor characteristics into the rum, whose character evolves in complexity, with each passing day.  The best part – they taste each barrel carefully. Only rum from select barrels is expertly blended, brought down to 40% alcohol/volume and then allowed to rest.  When Samai’s distinctive flavor profile is achieved, the rum is hand-bottled in-house and ready to be experienced – complex and intriguing rums, born of Cambodia’s natural riches.

Have you ever been to Cambodia?  What is your favorite drink there?