Phnom Penh Microbrew

Man Han Lou Gold Beer, Phnom Penh

I leave Phnom Penh for a month and a half to discover that firstly, there is a microbrewery that has been in operation for four months and secondly, that it is located not more than 200 metres from my house. There is some injustice that I leave Cambodia in a few days time.

Man Han Lou Restaurant, a gargantuan Chinese-Khmer eatery south of the Monivong-Mao Tse Toung intersection, has extended their lower level to include a mash tun and five shiny stainless steel fermentors for brewing four different beers: a pale ale (Gold); an amber ale (Red); a porter-cum-stout (Black); and a Green beer of unknown class. Their setup looks clean and temperature-controlled behind glass at the back of the bar. At night the restaurant is hard to miss, being lit in blue fairy lights like a low-rent Smurf casino.

The pale ale (Gold) is a cloudy change from the crystal clear local brews. It’s light on the hops and malt but unlike every other Cambodian beer, you can actually discern that hops and malt are used in its manufacture. The Black is a neutral stout at the bottom end of the alcohol range. It’s no Extra Klang. For a stout, it makes for easy drinking and a great beer to convert the non-stout drinking masses to the concept that stout can make for a top tropical heat tipple. Both the amber (Red) and the Green beer are undistiguished, which does beg the question of what colorant is used in the Green and for what purpose?

Price: Man Han Lou Gold Beer, US$2 for 400ml, others $2.50

Location: Man Han Lou Restaurant, 456 Monivong Blvd, Phnom Penh

12 thoughts on “Phnom Penh Microbrew”

  1. Wow. I wish I knew about it when I was in PP. There seems to be a serious lack of microbreweries outside of North America and Europe. Hopefully the microbrew spirit will start spreading.

  2. I live and work in Phnom Penh, and MHL is might as well be Jesus.

    There are better micro breweries outside Cambodia, but this is a great effort, and at the moment, the prices are low.

    Try starting on the golden ale, move to the Red, then progress to the black (then go back to the golden, etc).

    The green lacks depth and character, but it is a nice novelty.

    The actual restaurant is nice, but needs to kill the overuse of fluro lights to create some ambience (and also add some live music).

    This place could very easily become a cult, ‘next big thing’ place to go, with some minimal changes. Above average beer, fresh and chilled, is a fabulous way to start, in a city that subsists mostly on medium-temperature, mediocre, mass produced beer.

    Melbourne, Aust Ex-Pat / Phnom Penh

  3. I just brew my first batch of beer at home it is West Coast Pale Ale. I hope I can start a micro brewpub in Phnom Penh. But, friend and family laugh at me cuz they think I am stupid as they saw my little fermenter they believe it is not economicly possible. :)

    But look at the price at Manhanlov I believe this is profitable as long as there are people willing to try. I hope I can start a micro brew pub in Phnon Penh soon. :)

  4. Borin – Congratulations on your first brew. A microbrew pub in Phnom Penh could really take off. Where did you get your ingredients? In Phnom Penh?

  5. I’ve been brewing for 10 years now and have worked in a homebrew store here in the US for 8. It’s a very addicting hobby and after 100’s of batches it hasn’t lost it’s charm.

    I’m moving to PP in Jan and am eager to try this place out. As for opening a place let me know if you need a brewer as it would be my dream job.

  6. I’ve import the ingredient from US, now the problem is how to stransport heavy ingredient cost effectively… The beer would be very expensive if i can’t find the best solution to do this.

  7. Hey,

    Great blog. I only caught snippits from Cambodia–usually really peculiar foods like beetles and imported Norwegian cereals. I like the name of your blog too!

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