Hops Brewery – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Beckie and I at Hops

I found out about Hops Brewery when a tuktuk advertising their brewery drove past me while I was in another tuktuk heading to work.  I knew it was the place to take Beckie when she came to Cambodia and I have been back several times since.  Hops Brewery also has a beer garden is in a touristy part of  Phnom Penh follows the idea of any German beer garden in the world – to convey a feeling of warmth, friendliness, and belonging to their visitors.  Plus, they let me bring Bullet, which gives it a very home-y, Portland vibe that I love.  If you need a place to relax and get a great craft beer, Hops Brewery is the place to go by the Riverside.

As Cambodia’s first independently owned international beer garden, Hops is proud to brew their beer following the more than 500 year old German purity law and brewing tradition (Reinheitsgebot).  They only use water, hops, malt, wheat and yeast to produce one of the most natural and pure beers in the Kingdom.  Apart from the water – Hops imports all-natural ingredients from Germany’s best regions. Their brew water is purpose-filtered and treated, ensuring that minerals stay in – guaranteeing that unique Hops’ taste. Beer fans are welcome to try their brew water at the counter to savor its unmatched quality!  (It’s interesting that they advertise this on their website since every time I come to Hops, I have to buy water if I don’t remember to pack my own.)  In the food arts world, craft beer is a beverage that not only enhances food when paired with a dish, but it is also often brought into the kitchen as a cooking ingredient. Hops sometimes use Hops’ beer for some of their house dishes to enhance the experience.

Celebrating International Women’s Day at Hops with friends!

Hops currently has four beers and one cider available for purchase.  Of course Beckie and I tried them all:

  • Mango Cider – Clearly, Beckie and my love of fruit beers is well documented.  This cider did not disappoint.  It is delicious, refreshing and a great welcome drink for anyone visiting Phnom Penh.
  • Golden Angel – A hit with every beer lover.  “Situated between a classic smooth lager and a German pilsner beer.”  (For the record, pilsners are a type of lager…)  Hops’ Gold Angel is a fusion between Asian and European tastes.  Gold Angel is refreshing, easy to drink and seduces to always want – more.  (It was also the beer given out at Hops for International Women’s Day.  There is a saying here in Cambodia. “Boys are like gold and girls are like white cloth.” Meaning a brick of gold can get dirty and you can wipe it off and it still retains it value. Where white cloth, once stained is ruined. There are a few great NGOs here trying to change that mindset with the saying “women are gold”. Happy to support them today on International Women’s Day.
  • Amber Witch – Hops premium wheat beer is highly refreshing and less filling than a traditional wheat beer.  It is brewed with top-fermentation following an original, south-German recipe.
  • Red Fury – The essence of 32 years of experience by our brew master and was created for beer connoisseurs.  A full-bodied beer composition, higher in alcohol but smooth in its finish.  Brewed following a German recipe itself based on an English stout, this unique beer is of sensational quality.
  • HOPS’ IPA – A shiny, dark-red English beer with a bulky taste and an increase bitterness rooted in Hops special “Cascade” hops.  (This is funny to me since my motorcycle here is named, Cascade, for the hops and valley I grew up in – in Oregon, definitely not Germany…)

Have you ever been to Phnom Penh?  What is your favorite beer there?


Meet Beckie

Beer Bestie, Beckie with #DannerBrasston and Jenna with #BulletTheDog at Gigantic

Meet Beckie.  She is my best friend, dog-auntie to #Bulletthedog, bad ass Athletic Trainer, professional beer drinker.  I first wrote about Beckie on this blog back in 2011, “I don’t have a sister, but I’m lucky enough to have an amazing best friend who is like a sister to me.”  Since then our friendship has only grown stronger.  She has been drinking beer with me for years, in two different countries, and two different states.  She also does some beer drinking on her own and I’d like to highlight that as well.  So look forward to seeing more blog post from her on this blog.  In her own words:

I’m an Athletic Trainer by trade, but also consider myself an exert beer taster. Member of the “Frommates” friend-family and been Jenna’s best friend for 10 years. My opinions can sometimes be seen on here, especially if I’m able to finish my beer before Jenna steals it to take a sip (that doesn’t happen often).  

[Jenna’s Note: This only happens when she gets strawberry beer!]

Previous articles mentioning Beckie include:

Siem Reap Brewpub – Siem Reap, Cambodia

Himawari Microbrewery – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Dead Lizard Brewing Company – Orlando, FL

Cascade Brewing Sour Fruit Fest 2016

Great Notion Brewing – Portland, Oregon

Oregon Brew Fest 2014

Biketobeer 2013

Fruit Beer Festival 2013

First Annual Portland Fruit Beer Festival




Arch Rock Brewing Company, Gold Beach, OR [Guest Post]


Leave a comment and say “hi” to Beckie.  You’ll be seeing her and hearing from her more on BiteSize Brews!

Siem Reap Brewpub – Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia

A few months ago, my best friend and fellow beer buddy, Beckie and I, traveled to Siem Reap to check out Angkor Wat.  This was mostly a thank you present for watching Bullet for three months and a little bit of a birthday present and a professional congrats to her being kick ass at her job celebration.  Like all best friend trips, I googled breweries in Siem Reap and stumbled across the only brewery in the area.  Siem Reap Brewpub is a microbrewery with own restaurant and bar in the heart of Siem Reap.  You can walk to it from the Night Market / Pub Street.  The restaurant provide relaxing atmosphere for you to enjoy fresh beers. All their beers are produced in this microbrewery using the finest Malt from Germany, Hops from Australia, Craft Yeast from New Zealand and Clean Local Water.  (I thought it was interesting that they openly advertised this last fact.  Since most tourists are nervous about the local drinking water.  However, beer brewers know that most impurities are killed in the process of making beer).

Their Brewmaster, Neo Say Wee, was a hobbyist turned professional brewer.  Neo has been brewing crowd favorites and award-winning ales and lagers for both locals and foreigners alike for the last 10 years, satisfying hundreds of thirsty customers daily. Neo setup Singapore’s first Homebrew store in 2004 becoming the go-to source of all brewing ingredients and equipment to help local hobbyist develop their home brewing craft. Being a brewer and owning Singapore’s first Homebrew store didn’t stop Neo from setting up the first Homebrew Club where he conducts beer tasting and brewing sessions, beer related discussions and even regional microbrewery tours for members. Always the market leader in the local beer industry Neo continued to fine-tune his skill and became Singapore’s first and only accredited beer judge certified under the Beer Judge Certification Program in 2010.

Siem Reap Brewpub

Here is what we tried:

  • Blonde Ale – Light and delicate maltiness. Low level of bitterness. Floral hops aroma.
  • Golden Ale – Malty with a touch of toastiness. Medium level of bitterness. Piney hops aroma.
  • India Pale Ale – Rich and rounded flavor of malt. High level of bitterness. Fruity hops aroma.
  • Dark Ale – Complex malt body. Low level of bitterness. Intense dark chocolate aroma & flavor. Brewed with 100% local organic Palm Sugar for the unique Cambodian taste.  While it was a little too hot to be drinking a dark beer.  I really enjoyed this beer, the story about the palm sugar and the taste.
  • Honey Weiss – A naturally cloudy Hefeweizen (Wheat Beer).Low level of bitterness. Rich honey aroma and flavor. Brewed with 100% local organic Wild Honey from Mondulkiri for the unique Cambodian taste.  This beer was a close favorite of mine.  I loved the taste of the local honey, which is definitely something to taste when you come to Cambodia.
  • Saison Ale – A touch of Rye malt. Medium level of bitterness. Delicate lemongrass aroma with pepper corn aftertaste. Brewed with 100% local organic Lemongrass and Pepper Corn for the unique Cambodian taste.  This was both Beckie and my favorite beer.  The gentle spice from the pepper corn gave it an impressive saison feel without being overwhelming.

Have you been to Siem Reap?  What was your favorite beer there?

Cerevisia Craft Beer – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cerevisia CRAFT Brewhouse originated in Phnom Penh when the founding brewer made his exodus from the cradle of civilization, and into the heart of Cambodia.  I recently met with the founder, Erich, who has introduced me the the Cambodian homebrewing community!  I’m super thankful for his insights – looking forward to homebrewing here in Cambodia soon.

Cerevisia Craft Beer offerings.

In 2013, a few more like minded imbibers joined their brew-master in a common goal.  They roamed Phnom Penh in search of a craft beer, microbrewery, or libation reminiscent of home.  Due to the limited options, they took matters into their own hands and began crafting full bodied beers with iconic aromatics and a pleasing finish.  They don’t cut corners.  You will not find them in every tap room in Phnom Penh, only the finest.

Checking out Botanico for the first time – and not the last!

Beer is the cause for civilized society, technological innovation, and manages to keep them going.  Just like Kermit’s plan for the show was to share jokes and put a smile on everyone’s face, their plan for Craft beer is to share a good ale, and help you find joy in the bottom of your glass.

I’ve been to Botanico a few times, here is what I’ve tried:

  • Irish Red Ale “Priteni” – Malt forward, full bodied, gentle bitterness, and velvety finish.
  • American Amber Ale “Road Trip” – Dark copper color with amber hues.  Aromatic nose of melon, malt, and sweet caramel.  Balanced malt and hops palate on a toasted biscuit backdrop.  Slightly bitter finish that comes away cleanly.
  • IPA “Apollo C” – An ale for a true “hop head.”  This beer has a hop forward bitterness, medium body, and a citrusy nature.  I never thought I would miss IPAs but being in Cambodia has definitely made me appreciate hops more than ever.
  • Honey Pale Ale “Rattanak” – With a fragrance of Cambodian honeysuckle, this medium bodied ale balances even bitterness with hits of caramel malt and honey.  A strong, clean finish closing with a “taste of honey.”  This is definitely my favorite beer from Cerevisia.
  • Porter “Dark Star” – The silky feel of this medium bodied brew is layered with roasted coffee and chocolate flavors.  Hops balance the sweetness with a finish that begs for more.  We don’t get many “dark days, dark beers” here in Cambodia.  But if you are every a little homesick – this is definitely the beer to warm you up.

Botanico is a wine and beer garden restaurant/bar. They serve great food, wine, and the much-loved “Cerevisia CRAFT beer”, which is brew locally. They also host community events.  They serve lunch and dinner and have live music on Friday and Saturday evenings.  Also, their space is pet friendly, so even Bullet has been there!

Entrance to Botanico.

Evening: Their services focus on the bar offerings of wine and CRAFT beer! They also serve mixed drinks and cocktails. Their menu includes a well-rounded selection of food that pairs well with our drinks. Several vegetarian offerings are included.

Perfect evening in Phnom Penh, with craft beer in hand.

Daytime: They are open all day for coffee, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks. Their lush garden space also offers private Workspace offices and their full menu right in the heart of Phnom Penh. Combining the best elements of a home office and a café, their workspaces offer the ideal solution for the professional freelancer.

Workspaces include:
– Turnkey private, air-conditioned offices.
– Shared common areas for socializing, meetings, and events.
– Service staff.
– Color printer.
– WI-FI access.
– Coffee & refreshments menu.
– 24/7 security.

Have you been to Cambodia?  What had been your favorite craft beer there?

Himawari Microbrewery – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

What is a girl to do when her best friend, Beckie, comes to visit her in Cambodia?  Check out the local breweries of course!  Himawari Microbrewery is the 1st and only microbrewery launched by it’s 5-star hotel in Cambodia. Made from the finest malt and hops, the beers crafted here are unique in flavor and of the highest quality.  You can also enjoy an idyllic experience outdoors, at the Garden Terrace overlooks the Mekong Delta with stunning views and a fresh breeze.

Himawari Microbrewery’s brewmaster, Neo, has had many years of brewing experience and has designed five exclusive brews, two of which have won international awards. There’s definitely a craft beer for every palate.

Jetlag and beers – great combination.

Here is what we tried:

Apsara Gold – An Australasian-style pale ale brewed using a blend of Nelson Sauvin and Cascade hops.  Light and delicate in malt flavor with a distinct hops aroma.  This beer is the winner of the International Beer Competition 2013 for the category of Australasian / International Style Pale Ale.

Gem & Jade – A golden ale that showcases the balance of malt and hops flavor.  The combination of Pacific Gem and Pacific Jade hops together with five different malts gives this beer its unique profile.  This beer is the winner of the Asia Beer Awards 2013 for the category of Pale / Amber Ale.  This is hands down my favorite beer at the Himawari Microbrewery.

OatS – A sweet stout that is low in bitterness but robust in oatmeal flavor.

CentenniALE – An American style IPA that highlights Centennial Hops.  High in bitterness with residual malt sweetness.

Have you ever been to Cambodia?  What was your favorite beer?