Myanmar Joins the Craft Beer Revolution

by Luke Corbin

While the rest of mainland Southeast Asia has seen a steady increase in craft beer over the last decade, one country has missed out. It’s fair to say that options for locally produced, fresh craft beer brewed in styles other than the standard rice lagers and pilsners have been lacking in Myanmar – for a combination of cultural, logistical, religious and political reasons. But finally, as of January 20, 2017, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar decided to issue a new brewing license, allowing the country its very first microbrewery.

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Enjoying a Glass of Craft Beer at Burbrit Brewery

The Burbrit brewery is nestled in northwest Yangon beside the Pazundaung Creek, in an industrial zone replete with charming traditional Myanmar culture. As you while your way through the alleys from the Parami Rd bridge towards the brewery you will see teenagers playing chinlone, the traditional sport, beside sheds where workers carve teak chairs by hand.

Now the fish processors, carpenters, car-washers and other workers of the area have the option of being treated to an India Pale Ale over lunch, instead of the standard Myanmar macrobeers that dominate the beerosphere here.

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Writer, Luke (Right), Enjoying Burbrit Craft Beer with one of the Co-Founders

The venue is gorgeous, with large riverfront views, mostly unspoiled by construction (a rare thing in contemporary Yangon). There is substantial outdoor seating and indoor seating for fifty to sixty people. Local artists have painted a number of craft beer-inspired murals in “street art” style, lending the industrial vibe an extra layer of cool. There are even flat screen televisions for those who want to stay inside with the air-conditioning and watch some sport.

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Burbrit Brewery Enjoys a Gorgeous Riverfront View in Yangon

Burbrit currently brews three beers. They include a German-style wheat beer, known simply as the “Weissbier” a darker-than-normal coloured Pilsner with a unique recipe, known as the “Rangoon Blonde”, and an American India Pale Ale, the “Burma Pale Ale”.
The Weissbier is best drink fresh, with lingering Bavarian banana yeast esters melding with a light chewy mouthfeel. The Rangoon Blonde is a slowly-fermented lager that is then flash-served without an extended maturation, giving a slightly fusel character to its light-caramel malt notes; truly a unique beer, and the brewery’s most popular. The third offering, the “Burma Pale Ale”, is very much a standard American IPA, a touch murky, with New World citrus hop character and a strong crystal malt character.

The brewery currently employs a 500L Braumeister brewing system, air-freighted from Germany, and has the capacity to ferment 1500L simultaneously. In good news for beer fans, the owners have already committed to expanding their equipment, with an expected quadrupling of fermentation capacity expected by late April 2017. All their brewing takes place on-site behind the tap-room and the stainless steel bling is on full display – if you come on a brew day, you can watch the entire process through the generous glass windows. The ingredients are all sourced from Germany.

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Brewing Craft Beer at Burbrit Brewery in Myanmar

The two co-founders of Burbrit are committed to fostering craft beer appreciation in Myanmar and are very much aware of the responsibility on their shoulders as the first microbrewery in the country. They brew according to the Reinheitsgebot and plan to distribute their beer on draught to select venues across the city. At present they are holding back from bottling until they are confident that their beer is being brewed consistently and the market is ready.

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The Two Co-Founders of Burbrit Brewery

January 2017 will go down in history for beer fans in Myanmar as the month we finally saw light at the end of the tunnel of sickly sweet tropical stout and flavourless fizzy adjunct lagers. Exciting times are ahead for beer in Burma!

The Burbrit brewery’s address is No. D16, North Dagon Industrial Zone, 34 Quarter Extension, Yangon 11111. Taxis may have difficulty finding it – but it’s only a few hundred metres from the well-known bakery Bo Bo Min on U Wisara Rd, which most taxi drivers will know. There is also signage directing you to the brewery from the entrance of U Wisara Rd.

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The Burbrit Brewery Staff

**Luke Corbin is a PhD Candidate at the School of Culture, History and Languages, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University.  His research focuses on beer culture and history in Southeast Asia and he is based in Yangon, Myanmar.

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Happy new Beer 2017

Article Submitted by Jonathan Gharbi from BeerVN

It was great to see FurbrewBarret Craft Brewery and 7 Bridges Brewery open in Hanoi while East West Brewing Co, BiaCraft, Pasteur Street Brewing, Platinum, and Lac Brewing opened in Ho Chi Minh City before new years eve 2016.

barret-craft-brewery.jpgBarret Craft Brewery has a new and modern beer system (photo by Barret craft brewery)

Is there only newcomers in Vietnam?

Yes, this is the place to be for entrepreneurs and adventureus brewers. The market is booming and changing rapidly.  Platinum and Pasteur Street Brewing started in 2015 and are now the old ones. Germans with their 500-year-old-breweries will off course disagree with the term old. There are many new tap rooms and craft beers in Ho Chi Minh City while its moving a bit slower in Hanoi. The next thing to happen is to see a craft brewery open up somewhere between theese two cities. Maybe Mui Ne with lots of beer places and already has one of Hoa Viens microbreweries or Da Nang / Hoi An which is a popular tourist destination for both domestic and international tourism. There are also new beer importers and breweries such as Bach Brewing from New Zealand are selling their craft beer in Vietnam.

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Furbrew in Hanoi

There are a few big breweries in Ho Chi Minh City and many craft beers to sample. Which brewery will be the most exciting one in Hanoi during 2017 is the question. Maybe this one?

furbrew.jpgFurbrew will make 25-40 beers in 2017 (picture by Furbrew)

Furbrew made about 25 different beers in 2016 and are planning to make 25-40 different beers in 2017. With Danish Brewer Thomas Bilgram behind the brew kettel, we can be surethat there will be both experiments and good continuity for the more frequent beers they offer.

The Hanoi Beer Critic

How can i get a grip on all new beers? Well read the latest beer reviews and follow George Schiefer and his beer reviews at Hanoi Beer Critic to get inspiration what to order next. Detailed check-ins with pictures and thoughts from each beer.

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Contributors Wanted…

Are you a Craft Beer drinker in Asia with a skill for writing? We are looking at bringing on contributors from Asian countries to keep our content up to date. Please email us at cheers@craftbeerasia.com and let us know that you are interested and a little about you. Aside from bragging rights of being a craftbeerasia.com contributor, you will also be eligible for revenue sharing as we implement some revenue generating attributes in the future. We are looking for writers/drinkers from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Vietnam, Nepal, India, Middle East, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Myanmar and/or other nations in the Asian Craft Beer World.

You’ll have access to this site to add stories and update the directory of your country plus our Facebook page to post events and other relative information.

Cheers!

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What’s Your Craft Beer Asia?

 

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The Booth Part II: “The Best Decision We Made, Ever.” An Interview With Head Brewer Chris Shelton

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Co-founder Sunghoo Yang and Head Brewer Chris Shelton at The Booth Brewery in Pangyo

I was in line outside The Booth Brewery in Pangyo this past January, waiting for their relaunch event to begin. I had already interviewed Sunghoo Yang, the co-founder of The Booth, and was dictating some notes in private when I realized that a sizable line-up had materialized out of nowhere. To make matters worse, I had left my winter jacket, gloves, and hat inside the bar and now had to wait in the cold before I could try The Booth’s new line-up of beers, brewed by their new Head Brewer Chris Shelton.

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The Booth Part I: A Friendly Neighborhood Haven – Interview with Co-foudner Sunghoo Yang About The Booth’s Past and Future

 

The Booth has been a major presence in the Korean craft beer scene since it first appeared in the spring of 2013. With 5,000KRW glasses of Bill’s Pale Ale and 4,000KRW slices of Monster Pizza, it was perhaps the cheapest place in the city for good food and beer. Today, pizza paired with craft beer is about as unique as peanut butter and jelly, but The Booth started it all. Since then, The Booth has continued to be, perhaps, the most original craft beer company in Asia thanks to their ability to innovative and connect.

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Indian Strong Lagers – Videos

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Originally posted on TaLeS Of FrOtH:
Exploring Indian Entry Level Strong Lagers In December 2015, we shot a series of short Beer videos at Sherlock’s Pub, Frazer Town. The first video was released on March 16th, 2016 – editing is…

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Celtic Pride, Boston Style: St. Paddy’s Day Weekend at Maloney’s

I recently asked Maloney’s Pub & Grill owner, and Maloney’s Brewing Co. owner, Brendan Maloney about his pub’s upcoming St. Paddy’s Day plans. (Pics courtesy of Brendan Maloney) 

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What will the St. Paddy’s Day atmosphere be like at your pub?

The atmosphere is pretty lively with people, Irish or not, getting wasted on green beer and whiskey with some live Irish tunes. The festivities start on the 17th and will go on until Saturday the 19th. Live music by Mimi Roh, Earl Noble and Jordan Stewart.

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