Who says the craft beer scene in Southeast Asia is slow or non-existent? It’s exponentially growing, and these breweries are here to prove it. As much as we’d like to name all them out there, this isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list of craft beer breweries in the region. Plus, the sheer number is enormous. Rather, this is for beer drinkers new to the craft movement as they traverse Southeast Asia during their travels!
Brewlander & Co.
With eight core beers in its ranks, Brewlander is currently one of the hottest names in the Singapore beer scene – and the thing is, it’s a gypsy brewer that doesn’t actually have its own facility. Not that it matters, because the beers are top notch. Using malts from England and Europe, classic beer are styles played up with founder-brewer John Wei’s own energetic interpretations: the bone-dry Pride saison is layered with spice, lime, and orange marmalade, while the high-ABV Courage Double IPA is full of malty fullness without finishing excessively sweet. With other beers like the Wild IPA Love, lush Respect Porter, and Vienna-style Lager Freedom, we can only suggest you try everything and figure out your favourite.
Brewlander & Co.’s beers can be found at Smith Street Taps, Temple Cellars, Good Luck Beerhouse, American Taproom, 3rd Culture Brewing Co., and more. See here for the full list of stockists.
Little Island Brewing Co.
Despite being a small city-state, Singapore boasts a massive number of breweries helping to push the local craft beer scene. Little Island Brewing Co., situated in the island’s far east is is one of the veterans, having been operating since 2015. Go for brew-master Steve Spinney’s signature Ale YeahSingapore Pale Ale, an oak-matured IPA with flowery aroma and notes of raisin, or the fun Flaming Lips Ginger Beer with malt, spice, and everything nice. Fans of stout can get the That OldBlack Magic, a dry Irish stout that’s dark, creamy with a satisfyingly dry finish. Changi too far for you? Find select beers on tap at sister establishment Alchemist Beer Lab in the city.
Little Island Brewing Co. is located at 6 Changi Village Rd, #01-01/02, Singapore 509907, p. +65 6543 9100. Opens Mon-Thur 12pm – 11pm, Fri 12pm – 12am, Sat 11am – 12am, and Sun 11am – 11pm.
Pink Blossoms Brewing
A new addition to the local beer scene, Pink Blossoms Brewing was founded in late 2018 by Teo Hong Han, a man determined to introduce great beers to Singaporeans. Oh, he has a Diploma in Brewing too. Their flagship brews: the generously dry-hopped and citrusy Lean on MeNew England Pale Ale and sweet full-bodied Hundred YearsMilk Stout can be found at beer joints such as Smith Street Taps and Freehouse. Then, there are seasonal beers like an intriguing Smoked Saison and tropical double-dry hopped Pink Blossoms No. 5 – yum!
Pink Blossoms Brewing‘s taproom is located at 50 Ubi Ave 3, #01-12, Singapore 408866, p. +65 6612 0215. Opens Mon-Fri 5pm – 11pm, and Sat-Sun 2pm – 11pm.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Think of Cambodia’s craft beer scene and Kingdom Breweries is likely the first that comes to mind. And that’s hardly surprising considering it’s the largest in the country. They’re not trying to compete with mass-market beers, rather choosing to concentrate on their own-brand bottled brews. The Kingdom Pilsener, a full-bodied dark lager with a crisp finish and well-balanced bitterness, as well as the caramel-hinted Kingdom IPA, are crowd favourites. Aside from guided tours of the brewery, you can also sample their assortment of beers at their on-site bar and lounge.
Kingdom Breweries‘s taproom is located at 1748 NR5, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, p. +855 23 430 180. Opens Mon-Sat 1pm – 5pm. Closed Suns.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
It’s not every day that you’ll find a microbrewery stationed inside a hotel, but that’s exactly the case with Himawari Microbrewery. Most of their recipes are derived straight out from Singapore, and crafted with premium malts and hops from around the world. Their six exclusive brews – three of which have won international awards – include the malty-caramel Gem & JadeGolden Ale brewed from five different malts and a combination of Pacific Gem & Pacific Jade hops, and OatS, a sweet stout that’s low in bitterness but robust in oatmeal flavour. For a truly idyllic experience, you’ll want to enjoy your beers at their al-fresco Garden Terrace.
Himawari Microbrewery‘s tasting room is located at Chaktomuk Conference Garden, Preah Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, p. +855 23 214 555. Opens daily 12pm – 10.30pm.
Stark Beer Brewery
There’s no better feeling than chugging icy-chilled beers at the beach, and you can do just that at Stark Beer Brewery in Bali. The island’s first-ever craft brewery focuses on creating unique tropical beers that capture the flavours of Bali, including their award-winning Lychee Ale and Mango Ale – both Indonesian-style pale ales brewed with aromatics and spices from the archipelago. And Balinese mountain spring water too. Just as easy to drink is the Stark Wheat Beer, showing hints of citrus and spice with a slight tart finish.
Try Stark Beer Brewery‘s beers at selected outlets in main cities in Java, Bali and Kalimantan islands, or their beer garden at J Boutique Hotel, Jln Kartika Plaza No. 20, Kuta, Bali.
Heart of Darkness
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Rated as the best craft beer in Saigon, our expectations for Heart of Darkness is very high, and rightly so. This Ho Chi Minh-based brewery only launched in 2016, but they’re already expanding to cities like Singapore and Hong Kong. One of their first-ever brews, the Kurtz’s InsaneIPA is vibrantly hoppy and carries grapefruit and piney tones. Then, there’s the porter Director’s Cacao Nib Porter that’s richly with flavours like chocolate and dark berries. You’ll be impressed by their fantastical labels too – it’s almost like a trading card game.
Heart of Darkness‘s taproom is located at 31D Lý Tự Trọng, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam, p. +84 90 301 75 96. Opens daily 11am – 12am.See here for the full list of stockists.
Winking Seal Beer Co.
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Drinking should never be a dull experience, and Winking Seal enforces that belief through bringing pops of colour and engaging design to their Brooklyn-style taproom in Ho Chi Minh. The brainchild of Americans Brian Kekich and Mark Nerney, they’ve released a diversified range of nine year-round beers on draft and in cans. With 16 taps, including four nitros to show for it, some must-tries are the Belgian-style Mekong Mashup Ale, which has an earthy and sweet malt profile, and the flagship One Eye Imperial Pale Ale with its formidable ABV.
Winking Seal Beer Co.‘s taproom is located at 50 Đặng Thị Nhu, Phường Nguyễn Thái Bình, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam, p. +84 28 7300 0319. Opens daily 3pm – 12am.
Full Moon Brewworks
A microbrewery and a restaurant. You can’t get any better than that, especially if you’re a beer lover with taste for good food. Their deep amber Andaman Phuket Dark Ale comes inspired by classic British Ales but sees the addition of Thai black sticky rice for glorious nutty notes with a malty chocolate finish. Other notable signatures to try include the spicy, crisp, floral Bohemian Lager and citrus-forward Oriental Wheat. Their taproom also offers a variety of exotic beer cocktails as well – talk about inclusive.
Full Moon Brewworks‘s taproom is located at Jungceylon 193, Unit#2110, 2210 Raj-u-thit, 200 Pee Rd, Pa Tong, Kathu District, Phuket 83150, Thailand, p. +66 76 366 753. Opens daily 11am – 10.30pm.
Sandport isn’t just a brewery. It’s a fellowship of friends from Nonthaburi who play heavy metal together — as you might guess from their punk-ish beer labels. They usually pop up at flea markets and one-off events in the city, and you’ll sometimes find beers that are specially brewed for specific events. Interesting beers include the Sandporter, a heavy viscous porter that starts strong and mellow into a warm coffee finish. Then there’s the hazy golden Cape Gooseberry Sour replete with a fresh, tart gooseberry palate.
Try Sandport‘s beers at The Fellowship of Beer, North Park 21 345/22, Soi Ngam Wong Wan 47 Yaek 42, Khwaeng Thung Song Hong, Bangkok 10210, Thailand, p. +66 95 952 7996. Opens daily 5pm – 12am.
Not long ago, the search for 100% Filipino craft beer was pretty much hopefully. Now, Joe’s Brew is one of the bigger craft beer brands across the Philippines, and you’re almost guaranteed to find their range at leading restaurants and craft beer bars. The family operation produces a year-round range of IPA, pale ales, and wheat ale, though you can get seasonal and experimental brews at the House of Joe. You’ll want to Meet Joe Black, their medium bodied sweet stout with caramel undertones, or the piney Sunsweeper DIPA for the hop heads.
Joe’s Brew’s taproom is located at 5834 Matilde, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines, p. +63 2 400 0700. Opens Tue-Sun 5pm – 1am.
They’ve faced repeated rejections from the authorities, but Burbrit persevered and finally served their first brew in late 2016 to become Myanmar’s first microbrewery. Marrying the traditional method of whole grain brewing with the latest German brewing equipment, look out for their flagship Rangoon Blonde and its low earthy bitterness, or the Burma Pale Ale, a malty brew with floral hoppy flavours. Their German Weizen won a silver award at the Asia Beer Medal 2016, so you’ll want to try that too.
Burbrit‘s taproom is located at D 16, North Dagon Industrial Zone, 34 Ward, U Wisara Road, Yangon, Myanmar, p. +95 9 775 451 852. Opens daily 3pm – 11pm.
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