Angkor Beer is the most famous beer in Cambodia, but does fame translate to good? Stroll around the streets of Phnom Penh, or Siem Reap and you will see plenty of bars selling Angkor Beer draft for as little as 50 cents (I have heard tales of 25 cents in Siem Reap). But how does Angkor stand in the taste test?
The currencies of Cambodia
I find it weird being in a country that uses grown-up money instead of its own currency, like the Euro in North Korea, or Montenegro. In Cambodia they have a weird dual currency system, generally using dollars, but instead of coins using their own notes for change – 2000 being 50 cents for example. And through the great streets of Phnom Penh they sell draft Angkor beer at 75 cents, and a dodgy hotel room for $10. Surreal in its cheapness.
To read bout how Cambodian money works click here.
Angkor Beer – the national drink?
The beer is named after the famed Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. Fun fact I have been to Siem Reap 5 times (and lived there), and never seen Angkor Wat. I have though drank in Angkor What bar. Again I digress….
For expats at least it is is not as popular as Cambodia beer. Locals seem to like Ganzberg over Angkor Beer. I do not agree with this analysis! Ganzberg beer ins horrible.
What’s the history?
It is the most widely drank and acclaimed, beer in Cambodia, although it does not (yet) have the international prestige of Beer Lao or Tiger for example.
Originally created by SKD Brewery in 1960 it was essentially the first lager to be mass-produced in the country, sadly in 1975 production cased during the tyrannical rule of Pol Pot and the rest of the Khmer Rouge.
There’s no real information on what people drank during communist times (1979-91), but Angkor Beer made its big comeback in 1991 as the country was starting to open up, and has been a bit of an institution since.
Who owns it?
In 1991 Cambrew LTD of Malaysia purchased the facilities, and brewing began in earnest in 1992, and in 2005 global behemoth Carlsberg purchased a 50 percent stake in the company. Thankfully they didn’t change the flavour or adopt the current god awful marketing of Carlsberg.
Aside from the Beer they also produce a number of other drinks, such as Angkor Extra Stout, an amazing dark beer that is not only a whopping 8%, but has won global awards.
And how does Angkor Beer taste? Pretty damned good on a hot day in Siem Reap
Which is better Angkor Beer, or Cambodia Beer?
Update; As time has gone by living here we’ve drifted away from Angkor Beer and more into Cambodia Beer. Cambodia Beer seems to be unknown out of the country, but is the local weapon of choice, for expats at least.
Win free stuff!!!!
If in doubt give people a chance to win something. When you buy cans of Angkor they come in the old school can type, with the pull-off ring-pull. This fascinates many a visitor to Asia. We have probably not had these since the early 90’s in the west.
When you pull it off, you get a chance to either win a free can, or a whole heap of other goodies, such as money! Cambodia beer also do the same, but a truly great marketing gimmick.
But that is not to say we are not always on the lookout for something new from Angkor Beer, so we were really happy to discover Angkor Extra Stout. Cambodians like their black beers and this was every bit as good, if not better than ABC Stout! The Cambodian beer quest continues.