I’ve not had time to review restaurants, lodging, etc. much, wanting to experience the trip rather than spend too much time writing. But, since I’ve got a day on the river, I thought I’d take some time to write up 1 or 2 of my favorites. Besides, it’s fun to sit at my little “desk” with David on a daybed in front of me, watching the banks of the Mekong slip by.
Since we had an evening flight out of Siem Reap, David was eager to use that time to try the new brewpub Eddie (the founder of Kompangkhleang.org and the Bridge to Life School) had told us about. With its combination of good beers with local flair, lovely atmosphere, friendly service and fantastic food, the Siem Reap Brewpub may be my favorite brewpub yet!
The Siem Reap Brewpub offers 6 beers, all its own brews: a blonde ale, golden ale, honey weiss wheat beer, saison, IPA and a dark ale. We tried them all. This is made easy by a $3 4-beer flight. Each beer is $3 a full-size glass. Bargain combinations with “snacks” are offered, too, and a flight counts as “1 beer” for these packages. “Snacks” go way beyond peanuts (which come with your beer anyway). The grilled curried shrimp were so good we had two orders. We also tried fresh spring rolls with minced pork, beer batter calamari and crispy fish rolls with mango salsa. Heftier meal items are also available.
The beer flights arrive in a nifty tray kept cool with ice water in the bottom compartment. (Although, the base of the glasses lifted them a tad too high for the ice to do as much good as it might.) Local ingredients make the beers really unique and we found them all interesting. Even the lighter ones were not of the so-boring lager variety. The honey weiss wheat beer, brewed with “100% local organic Wild Honey from Mondulkiri” was surprisingly honey-forward, reminding me of a mead or honey wine. The saison, made with rye and local lemongrass and green peppercorn was delicious, unique, and David’s choice for a full glass. The IPA was well-brewed and hoppy-good with a flavor reminiscent of American IPA’s. The dark ale, made with Cambodian palm sugar, was bitter and rich and was a shoe-in for my second flight.
The brewpub is located downtown and occupies a pretty outdoor courtyard centered around a fountain. Big umbrellas shield you from sun or rain while fans keep a nice breeze going. Delightful!