Where to have a beer in Phnom Penh

Do you really need a guide?

What we say: 3.5 stars

You’re never far from a beer in Cambodia — the market is dominated by the jingoistically named Angkor, for sale alongside beers called Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Banker, Anchor (pronounced An-chor to distinguish it from Ang-kor) and Klang — strong by name, strong by alcoholic content. But if you’re bored of Asian lager and have a hankering for a ‘proper’ beer, Phnom Penh‘s microbreweries and imported tastes of home will have you smacking your lips and saying “Ahhhhh.”

Could be a long day.

Could be a long day.

At the far end of Sisowath Quay, the Himawari Hotel has opened its own microbrewery, serving made-on-the-premises beer and cider at a bijou bar. The brewery may be micro but the price tag surely isn’t. Happy hour deals are your best bet to sample the bitter Gem and Jade, Nelson Blonde light ale and Red Dragon Cider fresh from the shiny kettles behind the bar. There’s an Asian twist to the flavours, using ingredients like dragon fruit, black pepper and Mondulkiri honey to add a little kick.

One from the top and three from the bottom.

One from the top and three from the bottom.

Close to Wat Botom, the Munich Beer Restaurant isn’t lost, it’s just spreading the love via big glasses of the frothy good stuff poured fresh from their latest batch. Very popular with local drinkers, with a menu of beer snacks to match, there’s a choice of two of their beers served in big or small pots. Downstairs has air-con while upstairs has breezy views of the Vietnamese Friendship Park.

Kingdom Brewery, a short tuk tuk ride from the most popular part of riverside, was set up in 2009 as a craft brewery making pilsner and dark lager in the German style. Check for details of their next TGIF night, featuring a brewery tour by the brew master and an all you can drink and eat session in their tap room, for the princely sum of $12. If you don’t get to the brewery, Kingdom is widely available in bars around town.

The drink of champions?

The drink of champions?

Brunty’s Cider is Cambodia’s first cider produced on a commercial scale, set up by some apple-crazy guys from the UK’s West Country. The first batch became available in April 2013 and it can be found in several bars in Phnom Penh, including the Green Vespa. There’s a traditional apple cider, a sweeter pear version and a strawberry flavoured option aimed firmly at the local palette. Nothing says sunshine drink like ice-cold big juicy apple tangs exploding on your tongue.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m feeling a little thirsty …

Himawari Hotel Apartments
313 Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 214555

Kingdom Breweries
1748 National Road 5, Phnom Penh

Munich Beer Garden
68 Sothearos Boulevard, Phnom Penh

About the author
Abigail has been stoned by villagers in India, become an honorary Kenyan tribeswoman, sweet talked border guards and had close encounters with black mambas. Her motto is: “Live to tell the tale.”
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