Thursday, July 15, 2010

International Beer of the Week: Black Panther

60% of the time it works every time

Country:  Cambodia

Best Enjoyed:  While relaxing after a long day of exploring the temples of Angkor. 

"Yep, it's made with bits of real panther, so you know it's good."  Ok, thats enough of the Anchorman quotes and no, unfortunately the beer is not made with bits of real panther.  Black Panther is however, in my opinion, Cambodia's best contribution to the world of beer.  I love a good stout and I was surprised to find this style in Cambodia after being limited to the typical Asian lagers for the prior two months.  

Black Panther Stout is brewed by Cambrew, the second largest brewer in Cambodia and a subsidiary of Carlsberg.  Cambrew started out as Angkor Brewery situated in Cambodia's main port city Sihanoukville. The Brewery was commissioned by the Cambodian Government in the early 1960s and built by a French contractor with technical assistance from France. "Angkor" and "Bayon" beers were produced for a few years until operation was disrupted when civil war broke out in the early 1970s. Cambrew Ltd assumed control of the brewery in 1991 and after nine months of refurbishment, Angkor Brewery recommenced production in 1992. Carlsberg, one of the largest brewing groups in the world, acquired 50% of the shares in 2006. Launched in 2000, Black Panther Stout has won several awards including a Silver at the
Monde Selection 2009. 

Stouts are fairly uncommon in Southeast Asia; as a result of the ever present heat and humidity refreshingness and drinkability take top priority. I was apprehensive when it cam to having my first Southeast Asian stout, but what a great discovery!  Black Panther Stout tastes as a stout should, which is wonderful.  All the usual flavour suspects are present (chocolate, coffee, and roasted grains) and although slightly over carbonated it is very drinkable.  Miles from the greatest stout I have tasted, with regards to both flavour and distance, it is a major standout from the typical Asian lager. So drink up, and take a needed break from the Chang, Angkor and Singha.

Soum op oh! (cheers)

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