Khmer Booze: Must-Try Beers in Cambodia

Aside from temple-hopping by bike and sampling crispy bugs and spiders, we ended up trying a lot of different local beers in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh during our week-long trip to Cambodia earlier this year.

cambodia beer travelup

I was surprised at the variety and quality of Cambodian beers. Most were very distinctive in flavor (compared to other Southeast Asian brews) and pretty affordable, costing in the range of 50 cents to a dollar each. The stouts, in particular, were really good. Another thing I like about Cambodian beers is that they have clear branding related to the country and culture in terms of their names and label design, which isn’t the case for most beers in the Philippines. I’m sure we missed a lot, but here’s a look at some of the beers we got to try during our beer-quest:

Angkor Premium

  • Alcohol content: 5.2% to 5.5%
  • Bonus points: Widely available, very drinkable any time of the day
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 mugs

angkor lager beer cambodia

Angkor beer, brewed at the Cambrew Brewery in Sihanoukville, is named after the iconic Khmer Angkor temples near Siem Reap, which is depicted on the beer’s bright red label. As the country’s national beer, Angkor is the most widely consumed beer in Cambodia. Classified as a lager, the beer is full bodied with soft bitterness and light hoppy aroma and a pleasant aftertaste. The beer is refreshing, light and very drinkable especially on hot days. We had a few of this to beat the mid-day heat while going around the temples and at night in Pub Street. The beer can be found in 640ml bottles, 320ml cans, 320ml bottles and on tap.

Angkor Extra Stout

  • Alcohol content: 8.0%
  • Bonus points: Distinct flavor, high alcohol content compared to other beers
  • Rating: 4.5 out of 5 mugs

angkor extra stout beer cambodia

Brewed by the same Brewery as its Premium counterpart, Angkor Extra Stout, is a foreign / export stout style beer with a pretty good kick. When poured, the beer looks dark with a dense white foamy head. Good aroma, with flavors of roasted malt and hints of coffee/chocolate and a slightly sweet aftertaste. Unfortunately, Angkor Stout didn’t seem to be widely available in restaurants. We got this from a convenience store in Siem Reap and enjoyed it back in our hotel. Seems great as a dessert beer. Available in 330ml Pint Bottle and 640ml Quart Bottle.

ABC Extra Stout

  • Alcohol content: 8.0%
  • Bonus points: Rich flavor
  • Rating: 4.5 out of 5 mugs

ABC extra stout beer cambodia

ABC (Archipelago Brewery Company) Extra Stout is another pretty good beer with a distinct roasted malt taste that we got to try out. The beer, which shows a lion on the can, is brewed by Cambodia Brewery Limited under license from the Singapore-based Asia Pacific Brewers. The beer is a full-bodied dark beer topped with a thick foam. The beer has a rich flavor, with a roasted malt aroma and silky-smooth finish. The beer is reputed to be made from quality ingredients like roasted malt and hops and a unique strain of yeast that is specially-cultured in Holland. We got this in a convenience store in Pub Street and had it with some street food. Pretty good.

Black Panther Foreign Extra Premium Stout

  • Alcohol content: 8.0%
  • Bonus points: Energizing & refreshing
  • Rating: 4 out of 5

black panther extra premium stout cambodia

Another pretty strong stout! Black Panther Stout is “brewed with the finest roasted barley, malt and hops for a distinctive, smooth and full-flavored stout to specially boost energy and revitalize strength.” The dark black beer, which shows a black panther on the can, is named after a symbol for strength, energy and health. It is full-bodied with special bitterness and a strong hoppy aroma and hints of coffee. Black Panther Stout is available in 320ml cans.

Cambodia Lager

  • Alcohol content: 5.0%
  • Bonus points: Good beer for a hot day
  • Rating: 3 out of 5

noodles fruit shake cambodia beer siem reap

From Khmer Brewery, this pale lager is brewed exclusively in Cambodia using European Ingredients. The beer pours clear and light golden with a small white head. The taste is light with a mild bitter aftertaste. Very drinkable during the day, but can feel a bit watered down at night if you pair it with a heavy meal. like Angkor premium, this is a good beer to drink after (or in between) temple-hopping and sightseeing especially on a hot day. Widely available in food stalls in the Angkor Archaeological Park and on Pub Street.

Kingdom Max

  • ABV: 6%
  • Bonus points: It’s Cambodian craft beer!
  • Rating: 4.5 out of 5

kingdom max beer cambodiaKingdom Max is a pale lager beer brewed by Kingdom Breweries, a Cambodian brewery located in Phnom Penh. The bottles of Kingdom beer (pilsener, dark later, etc.) have gorgeous looking labels that show artistically drawn sketches of wild animals. We only got the cans, however, which use the nagas (mythical multi-headed serpents) as their trademark logo. Kingdom Max is crisp and refreshing with a zesty flavor and fine, smooth taste, though not necessarily “insanely strong” as proclaimed on the can. Though it isn’t as easy to find in convenience stores, it does offer a more distinctive flavor compared to other “premium quality” lager beers.

Kingdom Dark

  • ABV: 8%
  • Bonus points: Very good flavor
  • Rating: 4.5 out of 5

kingdom dark lager beer cambodia

Kingdom Dark Lager is an export quality beer brewed by Kingdom Brewery. The beer’s darkness is the result of the use of roasted malts, though it looked a bit reddish when poured, with a light foamy head. The aroma and flavor of the beer is sweet through the middle and finish with a hint of mild sweetness from caramel. If you happen to like dark beers, this one is definitely worth trying if you’re in the region. As is the case with craft beer, Kingdom Dark (and others under the Kingdom Brewery line) has been well received among expats and tourists willing to pay more for high-quality brew.

Klang Beer

  • ABV: 6%
  • Bonus points: Stronger than average lagers
  • Rating: 3 out of 5

klang beer cambodia elephant

A strong pale lager with an elephant on the can that promises “extra strong and extra smooth” flavor. Klang is another beer from the Cambrew / Angkor brewery. With a 6% alcohol by volume, it is slightly stronger than other Cambodian lagers in terms of aroma and flavor in the market. Another light and drinkable beer with a bit of a kick. Seems to be available only in cans. Also comes in Extra Klang Stout.

Phom Penh Stout

  • ABV: 7.0%
  • Bonus points: Great flavor; nice branding
  • Rating: 4.5 out of 5 mugs

phnom penh beer cambodia

Brewed by Phnom Penh Brewery, Phnom Penh Stout is a dark beer with a pretty decent flavor. We weren’t able to buy the Phnom Penh lager variant, but we found this one in a convenience store and drank it with our last meal in Phnom Penh. It pours black with a slightly smoky, chocolate, fruity and roasty aroma and taste. There are hints of cocoa and malts in the drink. The can shows a trademark three-headed elephant and traditional Khmer script, which looks pretty cool. Its motto is “Replenish your energy” and its rich flavor was actually pretty invigorating.

Anchor Draft

  • ABV: 5%
  • Bonus points: Draft beer is usually sold cheaper in mugs and pitchers during Happy Hour
  • Rating: 3 out of 5

anchor draft beer cambodia

We made the mistake of ordering a couple of mugs of this since we thought we were getting Angkor Draft. Technically Anchor is not a Cambodian beer, but the draft beer seems to be widely sold in many watering holes on Pub Street. Locally it’s pronounced An-chore (with a pronounced CH sound) which differentiates it from Angkor. It’s not that bad, but it’s not great either (especially if it’s not ice cold). It’s generally drinkable with meals.

BONUS: Beerlao

One of my favorite beers from Laos is widely available in Cambodia so we had to have a couple of this as well. It went great with a blue cheese burger in Same Same Backpacker’s in Phnom Penh.

beerlao burger cambodia

All in all, we had a great time going beer-hunting in Cambodia. For more Southeast Asian beers, check out my post: Beer Memories around Southeast Asia.

4 thoughts on “Khmer Booze: Must-Try Beers in Cambodia

  1. I should’ve shared this post to my friend when we were in Cambodia last week. He loves beer so much! He enjoyed those $4 pitchers of Angkor premier beer in Temple Bar, Pub St. 🙂

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