Khmer Times/Youth Today supplement’s Say Tola recently interviewed Neo Say Wee, Himawari Microbrewery’s brewmaster. He has had many years of brewing experience and has designed five exclusive brews, two of which have won international awards.
YT: As a brewmaster, do you think beer is helpful to human health?
Mr Neo: It does have certain benefits, especially beer that hasn’t gone through filtration and pasteurization. And one of the ingredients, yeast actually contains lots of Vitamin B3 and B12. So these are natural elements for the body. However, people have to drink it in moderation as then it allows people to absorb the good benefit and not cause the body to be overly intoxicated by alcohol.
YT: In your opinion, which category of people are likely to drink your beer?
Mr Neo: Initially, this brewery was set up in 2012 and the beers are very much designed for hotel guests and most of them are expats. Except the Apsara Gold beer, this variety of beer is a transitional drink and is designed for locals. They prefer the taste of Apsara Gold because it is lighter and more refreshing when compared to other three types of beer.
YT: As you have received many awards in beer competitions, what is your secret for these achievement?
Mr Neo: I got two awards, one from Japan and the other is from Singapore. One is for Apsara Gold and the other is for Gem & Jade. And to me, creating a good beer is what I want to do. Getting an award is secondary. If people appreciate a great beer, this is significant already, but getting an award and recognition is even better. The awards are good for marketing craft beer. I admit that I am glad that I have won several awards.
YT: Could you please let us know how to create good beer?
Mr Neo: To brew a great beer, we have to think about good ingredients. There are four main ingredients for beer: water, malt, hops and yeast. So water constitute at least 95 percent of the entire recipe of a beer’s content. So water has to be good quality with the correct Ph being essential for creating a great beer.
Also, we have to import malt for the brewery since Cambodia doesn’t have it. Hops gives the beer aroma and flavor and it also makes it taste a bit bitter as well. The last is yeast to make sure of fermentation. If there is no fermentation, there is no alcohol.
YT: Does drinking beer have any side effects on health?
Mr Neo: The side effect is mainly from alcohol. So I would suggest that people should not drink it excessively. They should drink it in moderation. So if the body cannot breakdown the alcohol fast enough, it will be harmful to their body. To drink smartly, one must drink in moderation. They can drink when they are happy, don’t drink when they are sad because emotions will make them feel exhausted.