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?