The local beer scene has become so crowded lately that drinkers are almost required to be discerning in their choice of brew – a truly unprecedented development in the Kingdom of cheap piss. With newcomer Cambodia Beer hitting the shelves last month, and Kingdom Breweries launching last year, the old dichotomy of Angkor versus Anchor is out the window.
For boozehounds paralysed by the new options available, The Phnom Penh Post leapt into action with a blind taste-testing of six beers, including popular local and international labels. On a boat cruise down the Mekong last weekend, six judges engaged in a highly scientific experiment to determine which brand deserves to don the crown.
The beers were judged on four categories, each with a value of five points, allowing the expert panel to nail down the overall most satisfying brew on the market.
These were the criteria:
Appearance: Unless looking at it reveals a few dead bugs swimming inside, many drinkers regard the appearance of a beer as irrelevant. But when it comes to judging the primo beer on the market, the richness of the golden amber colour is a deciding factor.
Aroma: Expat drinkers in a hot Phnom Penh summer will be sweating beer scent out like a moth excretes pheremones, so the smell of the best brew is not to be ignored.
Flavour: The most vital component. The factor that separates the tangy from the heavy, the flat from the sweet.
Aftertaste: When the sediment settles, what impression is the imbiber left with?
To the surprise of all aboard, the undisputed winner once all scores had been tallied was the new kid: Cambodia Beer.
Despite the handicap of being the ugliest on the market (according to the ‘appearance’ factor), the beer scored highest in the categories of flavour and aftertaste.
So while you’re at the market to stock up on Christmas spirits, consider Cambodia Beer to wash it all down with.