I have to say that travelling through some of the Asian countries and now currently living in Turkey, i am reminded on just how many great craft breweries were sitting on my doorstep back in my southeastern beach-side suburb of Mordialloc, Australia. Spoilt is a word that is starting to ring bloody loudly in my ears! A self entitled craft beer drinker that if he decided, could take his pick of up to fifteen craft breweries, all within a 20km radius.
Oh, you thought that was it did you? Oh no, it gets better… if I somehow thought I was not being overloaded with choices from all these fine local breweries (kicking some serious ass on the world stage of craft beer I might add!) ….Then I would just have to head down to my local craft beer bottle-shop that is packed with literally hundreds of craft beers from all over the globe, just waiting to be snatched off the shelves.
So, only now am I starting now to realise that great craft beer does NOT grow on trees my friends! If you are not in a country that has embraced the craft beer movement, then be prepared to start looking, and looking.. and looking!
First country: Thailand, the laws are so ridiculous here that they have made any local brewer trying to start brewing craft beer next to impossible. Well.. unless you are a multi-millionaire with money to burn and unsold beer to throw out. Yep, you heard me right, unless you can make and sell over hundred thousand liters of beer per year…sorry, you cannot open a brewery in Thailand….thanks to the big boy breweries for that back alley, secret handshake law made with the government!
Next: Vietnam, I am very glad to say is swarming with new craft breweries! The three biggest craft breweries that stuck out in my mind were:
- Heart Of Darkness: These guys do not create average craft beer, they create some of the best damn craft beer on the planet! I was so impressed with their Phantom Stout, it made it onto my blog (and my review made it onto their official website! Bloody Awesome! Check it out HERE).
- Pasteur Street Brewing Co: These guys are the absolute bomb!..and they know it (in a good way). They are definitely one of the most established craft breweries in Vietnam and really know their stuff. Not to mention their craft beers are already heading offshore to Australia and other craft beer loving countries.
- East West Brewing: I first had their pale ale at Pizza and Bia cafe and was hooked immediately. I had two bottles with my pizza and took another four home with me to drink that same night (Again!… My review made it onto their official website too! Freakn Awesome Bro! Check it out HERE)
The reason Vietnam is booming in the craft beer scene is due down to a relaxed law that allows basically anyone to open a microbrewery, in their home, in their garage….anywhere. Also allowing those individuals to sell that beer direct to the public and to restaurants without the need for a liquor licence (yeah… it sorta has danger written all over it, but it is working thus far).
The next country I visited was Malaysia, and this is a Muslim country….. so I cannot really complain when I tell you that I there was no great local craft brewery to call home. I did however find a great craft beer bar near Bukit Bin Tang, but I am all about the local craft beer experience so I only went here maybe three times only during my stay.
Now, I am in Istanbul..
Yes, I hear you all saying to me… ‘Corey, Istanbul is another Muslim country, so I guess you are out of luck again mate’….
Well actually, think again my friends! I can confirm that Istanbul in fact has a few craft breweries. Yes they are not on every street corner like in Australia and America, but they are there. I have been living in the Taksim area of Istanbul for the last five weeks. Taksim is on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait, and I have been to one very cool place in nearby Ferikoy called The Populist. They are not officially a brewery (even though they have about ten micro brewery tanks onsite), but they do have an agreement with a closed door brewery to make a set of craft beers for them. This craft beer brand is called Torch Brewing and it is absolutely bloody fantastic! I will not let you in on anymore as I will release a post soon about some of the beers tasted from Torch Brewing, trust me…. they are GOOD!
Another nice craft beer I tried was from another part of Turkey called Muğla, their craft brewery is called Gara Guzu, and the porter I drank was really good, but sadly it just slipped under my 7/10 rating and therefore will not be making an appearance on my website (it did however make it onto my Insta-feed if you wanna check it out).
So all in all, not a smashing start to my world tour of craft beers, but I am enjoying every minute of my travels and the never-ending cultural experiences. It has been a privilege to meet new people and live like a true local. A unique and mind opening experience.
I can confirm that later in June I will be in Chicago, and I may just have a personal invite to one of America’s greatest craft breweries, so that is something I am so looking forward to! Hmmm, what brewery could that be??
Well, until next time, keep enjoying your favourite beers. And remember to make an effort to thank your local breweries for their hard work and dedication. After all, without them…. that beer you love so much, that sits in your glass… might not even be there!
Corey – Crafty Beer Bros.
CRAFTY BEER BROS
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