We Tried 11 Craft Beers In Malaysia So You Don't Need To Think 'Long Long' In The Shop

If you never know what to order.

Cover image via Timothy/SAYS

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Craft beer has become significantly popular in Malaysia in recent years

If you've never heard or tried them before, they are basically beer produced by small, often independent, breweries with a focus on quality ingredients and flavours. Generally, they have a stronger taste profile and higher alcohol content compared to commercial beers. 

Of course, there is no hard and fast rule on how to drink them, but they're usually meant to be savoured and enjoyed slowly. Kind of like a good glass of whiskey or wine. 

Image via Tamara/SAYS

If you're someone who stares at the menu or the craft beer wall never knowing which one to pick, we thought we'd offer some help with this list of craft beers that we tried recently

In saying that, please note that everyone's opinions are different and this list is based on our personal preferences. 

My colleague, Timothy, and I love alcohol but are in no way craft beer 'experts' so jangan kecam, k? :P If you try it and have a different opinion, that's okay too!

1. Akasha Canada Bay XPA

Image via Timothy/SAYS

Tam: This has a lower alcohol percentage compared to the rest on the list so it's a good drink for those who are in the mood for something light, refreshing, and flavourful, or who have a low tolerance for alcohol. Definitely an easy drink. If you're not paying attention to the slight bitter aftertaste, it's easy to mistake it for a fruity soda.

Tim: Exuding strong passion fruit notes, this beer is definitely on the fruity side with a very minimal malt taste and a slight bitter finish. If you're one who prefers strong fruity flavours with a light malt profile, you have to give this a try!

ABV: 4.2%
Hop bitterness: 2/5

2. Akasha Freshwater Pale Ale

Image via Timothy/SAYS

Tam: This is all right but it's not as flavourful as Canada Bay. It has a mild floral and fruity taste. So I suppose if you're eating a very flavourful meal like spicy chicken wings, then it mighttt pair well. I wouldn't re-order it for myself though, simply 'cause I prefer a stronger flavour. Heh.

Tim: Unlike Tammy, I prefer this over the first one haha. The slight bitterness complements the light floral and fruity flavours, followed by a somewhat gassy aftertaste. I can definitely see myself enjoying this on a very hot day.

ABV: 5%
Hop bitterness: 3/5

3. Running With Thieves Fremantle Pils

Image via Timothy/SAYS

Tam: This tastes almost like tonic water to me, which I think some might appreciate. There are woody, grassy notes to it, so if you like those types of flavours then you might like this. Tim actually likes this one compared to me.

Tim: Yep, Tam, I like this lol. As someone who enjoys a strong malt profile in beers, this one just hits the spot. It has a sharp and creamy malt taste, along with slight citrus flavours, all of which make it much more enjoyable for me. If you're one who doesn't like overpowering citrus notes, this one's for you.

ABV: 5%
Hop bitterness: 28 IBU

4. Running With Thieves West Coast IPA

Image via Timothy/SAYS

Tam: This is yummy! I love citrus flavours in general, so the strong, orangey, and malty taste is perfectly balanced. Definitely a great drink to have on a chilled evening with friends or even on your own. Would order this again.

Tim: This is the first beer both Tam and I agree (finallyyy) is good. Haha. In simple words, this is full of tropical flavours, so it's definitely something many would appreciate, especially on a hot day. It's packed with orange flavours and has a very satisfying sparkling finish.

ABV: 6.2%
Hop bitterness: 60 IBU

5. Akasha Mosaic IPA

Image via Timothy/SAYS

Tam: I enjoyed this too. It has a slightly bitter aftertaste but not too bitter. I find the melon flavour to be complementary with it. In fact, when we all had our first sip, there was an all-round 'mmmm' at the table. Wouldn't mind ordering this again.

Tim: Like the classic Indian Pale Ale (IPA), this has bitter notes. With minimal tropical and citrus flavours, followed by a moderately bitter finish, it's quite easy to drink and enjoy. Pair this beverage with fries or fried chicken while hanging out with your friends, and you'll have one hell of a time.

ABV: 6.8%
Hop bitterness: 4/5

6. Akasha Hopsmith IPA

Image via Timothy/SAYS

Tam: Similar to Canada Bay, in terms of flavour, but it has a higher alcohol content. I like this 'cause it has a grapefruit tinge, slightly citrusy with a mild bitterness and earthy finish. If you're someone who can hold your alcohol, then you might appreciate this over tamer ones.

Tim: Gotta agree with Tam on this one, it's similar to the Canada Bay, but has higher alcohol content, stronger flavours, and a more bitter finish as well. If you enjoy drinking Canada Bay but want to opt for something stronger, check this one out.

ABV: 6.8%
Hop bitterness: 4/5

7. Beerfarm Double IPL

Image via Timothy/SAYS

Tam: This is one of the more flavourful of the lot. It has tangerine, passion fruit, and slight coconut characters with a mild bitter aftertaste. I can really taste the passion fruit. It's good for those who love a citrus fruity blend. I really like that it's refreshing and not sweet, with high alcohol content. Would order it again.

Tim: With passion fruit and tangerine notes, this beer is super flavourful and refreshing, and has a very clean taste. It's definitely one of my favourites. I can't really taste the alcohol in this, so I have to remind myself to take small sips, instead of chugging it lol.

ABV: 7.8%
Hop bitterness: 50 IBU

8. Beerfarm Big Hazy Double IPA

Image via Timothy/SAYS

Tam: Probably the most popular drink of the evening! Almost everyone at the table enjoyed it and it's apparently one of the bestselling ones that customers gravitate towards too.

Go for this if you want a foolproof drink, it won't disappoint. It has higher alcohol content and it's really easy to drink, IMO. It gives me slight kombucha vibes, which is probably because of the pineapple and papaya notes.

Tim: Tam and I love thissss. A very good beer brew with just the right amount of malt flavours, while also complementing the tropical fruits in it — mango, passion fruit, pineapple, and papaya. It's said to have a hint of coconut, but I can't really taste it, probably because of the strong tropical flavours. In other words, this beverage tastes like summer!

ABV: 7.8%
Hop bitterness: 40 IBU

9. Running With Thieves Stout

Image via Timothy/SAYS

Tam: I'm a big draught stout fan but I previously tried a different stout craft beer and it just didn't sit well (it tasted like soy sauce, yuck).

This one though, I actually enjoyed! It's smooth, creamy, and has a rich coffee and dark chocolate aftertaste. If you love a velvety stout like me, then you might enjoy this. 

Tim: I've had some nice stouts before, but unfortunately, I don't really like this one. Although I love coffee, I find the coffee notes in this stout overpowering. I do think it's a very smooth stout though.

ABV: 6.3%
Hop bitterness: 38 IBU

10. Running With Thieves Ginger Beer

Image via Tamara/SAYS

Tam: It's ginger beer with a kick of alcohol. Not too bad, on the sweeter side but the sharp ginger taste cuts through it. If you're not a fan of strong alcohol tastes or you're in the mood for something a bit more sweet with a lower alcohol content, then you might like this. You can drink it on its own or mix it with rum. Good to serve at parties too. But then again, which alcohol isn't? :P

Tim: I'm not a big fan of ginger, but surprisingly, this is very easy and delicious to drink! There is the 'heat' you get from ginger, paired with a sweet flavour, and then followed by a gassy finish. You know which occasion is perfect for enjoying this beer? Christmas!

ABV: 4%

11. Beerfarm Shirazzaweiss

Image via Timothy/SAYS

Tam: This has a clean, tart taste — from the raspberry flavour, I assume. Might be an acquired taste for some because of the sourness. It might even work well as a mixer. I don't mind it, but I wouldn't say it's a very easy drink on its own unless you love a tangy, raspberry flavour. Might be nice for Christmas though?

Tim: I find this beer a little too plain for my liking. It's tangy followed by a sparkling aftertaste. I agree with Tam, I think this might work well as a mixer.

ABV: 6%
Hop bitterness: 10 IBU

BONUS: Beerfarm Asam Boi Gose

Image via Timothy/SAYS

Tam: This is an extra drink that we tried. Don't expect it to taste as full as our typical Kat Chai Suen Mui from the hawker stall. Apparently, it goes really well with oysters. We didn't have oysters (unfortunately!) but I can see how the asam boi would complement the oysters' saltiness. I'm sure other foods would also pair well but probably need to experiment with that.

Tim: Having high expectations for this one, I'm a bit disappointed by the flavours. It's missing the usual sweet-sour flavours you usually get from roadside stalls or kopitiams, making it quite far from your typical asam boi beverage.

ABV: 4.5%

Where to find them:

You can find Beerfarm at most venues and retailers in Malaysia that sell craft beer. Akasha and Running With Thieves are currently only available at Ales & Lagers, Beer Bank KL, Gavel Coffee Kitchen Craft Beers, Well Craft KL, and Mizu Bistro Bangsar.

What other craft beers have you tried and love? Share with us!

More and more places are now offering craft beer. Here are just some in Klang Valley:

Check out other restaurants and bars you might like:

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