The Kampot Beer festival was first held on January 30th 2020 and by all accounts it was great success. We went to check it out and see what all the fuss was about.
What the Kampot?
Kampot is a sleepy town in the south of Cambodia. You can get here by train. It is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. COVID-19 not withstanding.
Amazingly it was one of the last Khmer Rouge holdouts during the Khmer-Vietnamese war, but things are a whole lot better now!
To read about the Cambodian – Vietnamese War click here.
Why was there a Kampot Beer Festival?
The boss of Mad Monkey, one of the most well known hostels in Kampot had been to a beer festival in Phnom Penh and thought “hey I could do that”. He then set it up and invited some of the best brewers of Cambodia. Of course there is very little external tourism right now, so this was great way to push some local tourists into Kampot. It seemed to succeed. I bumped into people from Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.
What was the schedule?
It was 12 pm until late! And included live “comedy”, music and a whole heap of other events. The comedy? Well I have much respect for anyone who is prepared to get up in front of a stage, professional though it was not so much. Th bands were good though and it was overall a pretty good vibe.
And the beer at the Kampot beer festival?
Let’s deal with the important issues here! There were a number of different brewers that showed up, but the highlight (for me anyway) was Fuzzy Logic. Fuzzy Logic are a Siem Reap based brewer that make the famous Hard Lemonade, a bit like Tanduay Ice if you know anything about Filipino drinks.
To read about Tanduay Ice here .
How did it all work?
You had to buy tickets at the bar, each ticket cost 5000 rials ($1.25). Generally speaking beers cost 2 tickets ($2.50). For the quality that you were getting it was amazing value. They also had food, as expected and from a few restaurants. I had a slider burger, very good, but not the best burger in Kampot.
To read about how Cambodian Money works click here
To read about the best burger in Kampot click here.
Overall on the beer festival
Times are tough for everyone and anything that inspires, or makes people travel locally is very much welcomed. A beer festival is always welcomed (obviously). In this case the Kampot Beer Festival was an absolute huge success.
People came, everyone seemed to enjoy it and a local economy including hotels, bars and restaurants was enriched with cash. The best gift money can buy in these times.
Will there be another Kampot Beer festival?
Well if there is one thing we know about things during coronavirus, it is that we know nothing! It was though a great success even though the only visitors werelocals and expats traveling from other parts of Cambodia.
It did though prove a couple of very choice points. Firstly there is a vibrant miccrobrewery and craft beer scene in Cambodia. Secondly if you put on the vent then people will come.
When the tourists eventually start coming back to Cambdoia and of course they will one can imagine the Kampot Beer Festival being absolutely heaving with revelers. In fact the main problem might be that they simply need a bigger venue .Perhaps spread it over a few days?
I’d personally come back to an event spread over a number of days and venues, but who knows what the future holds!