Himawari Microbrewery – Craft Beer in Cambodia
To be fair, I didn’t have high hopes when I visited the Himawari Hotels & Apartment to try out their beers recently. I was, however, pleasantly surprised about the quality of their beers. It’s Singaporean brewmaster Neo Say Wee that is behind the beers from Himawari, out of which 3 have won international awards. According to their own words they are, “the 1st Microbrewery launched by its 5-star hotel in Cambodia”, which we are not entirely sure what means, but let’s skip the semantics and get to their beers.
There are very few places in Phnom Penh where you can find Himawari Microbrewery’s Craft Beers. One of the places would be the hotel bar and microbrewery with the same name. Let’s have a look at which beers they are currently offering.
The Apsara Gold is kind of Himawari’s flagship beer. It was one of their first beers and the name is inspired by the female Hindu and Buddhist goddesses that are also often associated with the traditional dance in Cambodia. Apsara Gold is an Australasian-style Pale Ale brewed with the popular American hop Cascade and the New Zealand hop Nelson Sauvin. It is a very light pale ale with a very unique hop aroma that is difficult to describe. The ABV of this Cambodian Craft Beer is 5% and the IBU is 28. This beer also won the International Beer Competition 2013 in the category of International Style Pale Ale.
CentenniAle is an IPA that has gotten fairly popular with the craft beer lovers in Cambodia, especially since it has often been featured on draught at Embargo Craft Beer Bar. Filled to the brim with Centennial hops, high in bitterness but also quite sweet. ABV 6.5%.
OatS is Himawari Microbrewery’s oatmeal stout. It’s quite a sweet beer but very smooth and robust. ABV is 6.5%.
Bassac is a very interesting Belgian Witbier with an ABV of 5% and an IBU of 10. The Witbier is a beer style that had almost completely disappeared until it again started emerging in the 1960’s. The Witbier, which should be made by at least 50% wheat, generally has a very whiteish cloudy look and is most often brewed with Coriander and Orange Peel, but Bassac is instead brewed with Pomelo Zest and Camomille Flower. If you don’t like particularly sweet Witbiers this one might be worth a try.
Gem & Jade
Another award-winning Cambodian Craft Beer from Himawari Microbrewery is the Gem & Jade. Gem & Jade is a golden ale that focuses on the balance of hops and malts. It’s brewed by Pacific Gem & Pacific Jade hops that are quite unique hops from New Zealand that are very floral and spicy, still very rarely seen in the craft beer scene. On top of that, Gem & Jade is brewed with an incredible 5 different kinds of malts which helps to give the beer a malty caramel finish. The ABV is 5% and the IBU is 35. The Brewer definitely likes his even numbers.
Mekong Zest is a typical Blonde Ale with low bitterness and a bright zest and floral aroma. It has an IBU of 20 and an ABV of 5%. It’s one of never beers from Himawari Microbrewery.
I guess Himawari Microbrewery is an essential part of the the cambodian craft beer scene. All of their beers are not fantastic, but I would definitely recommend checking out at least the Apsara Gold which is a very unique and tasty beer.