I took Mrs Bladdamasta for a bike ride to some markets in Phnom Penh. I’d hired a tandem and we gave the good citizens of Phnom Penh some entertainment as we huffed and puffed our way along the river bank. Phnom Penhians were whipping their phones out to get a photo of the two laoweis (yep, I know that’s Mandarin and not Cambodian) pedalling amongst tuk-tuks, (single) bicycles, vespas and trucks. Anyway, after a while Mrs B was querying whether I knew the way to the markets when I confessed a more circuitous route than promised. Just then the Kingdom Brewery sign came into view and the penny dropped.
We popped in the front door and I enquired about the tour. “Half an hour” was the reply. Mrs B snorted derisively. “Can you do it in 10 minutes?”. Looks were exchanged, a call was made. “Yes, sure”. So the fastest ever version of the Kingdom Brewery tour took place. 2009 was when things started and I think they said that the first beer was sold in 2011 (she was speaking very fast). The brewing equipment came from the Czech Republic and the bottling machines came from Italy. There’s five varieties – Dunkel, Dark, Max, Pilsener and gold. Most of their beer is distributed in Cambodia, but they export the Pilsener to Australia, Italy and Canada! Our guide was impressed that I’d actually tried the Pilsener in Australia.
It’s a big brewery, with canning and bottling facilities. They are making inroads with a number of Kingdom signs up around town on some classy looking establishments, as opposed to Angkor, that’s on even the smallest roadside convenience store. The climax of the tour is to have a beer (actually you get two beers for the $6 ticket, but Mrs B would not countenance any impairment of faculties on the Phnom Penh roads) in what is a seriously appointed bar. It overlooks the Tonle Sap and has great views to Phnom Penh’s burgeoning skyline. Mrs B was grateful for her Brunty’s Cider and I sipped a brewery fresh draft Pilsener. Just lovely. Definitely could have done with second given the energy expended on the ride, but Mrs B was now champing at the bit for the markets. Kingdom – worthy of a visit the next time you are in Phnom Penh.