As you might have noticed, I travel quite frequently for work, so I always try to take advantage of it by compiling information about cider and its availability in the currently visited city. This time I had to head to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, which gave me the opportunity to explore local cider spots and sample a couple of not exactly local ciders.Malaysia is a Muslim country and for this reason, there is a high excise tax on beverages containing alcohol, cider including. Hence, cider is considered a premium product here. Most locals don’t consume alcohol, not only because of religious or financial reasons but because they prefer spending their pay on family-related activities. But, since Kuala Lumpur is a huge city with many expats living here coming from the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany and many other countries, who earn incomparably more than Malaysians and have no better things to do than hanging out after work, the demand for alcohol-containing products is high.
The demand might be high, but the vast majority of grocery stores stock Strongbow, Somersby or quite recently launched Apple Fox from Heineken (I reviewed the Dutch version of this cider here). Sometimes you can find other commercial ciders from the UK such as Magner’s, Gaymer’s, Savannah Dry from South Africa or Three Oaks Cider from Australia. If you want real stuff you should check stores and bars offering craft beer. This is what I did and here is the feedback from my KL cider tour.
- Ales & Lagers (D5-G4, 3, Jalan Solaris, Dutamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur)
Ales & Lagers, located in a shopping mall Publika, is a cosy and friendly place that shares the space with a print shop. The guy who runs the shop is a very friendly Chinese, anything but helpful in terms of cider. Don’t bother asking him about cider recommendations as his focus is only craft beer. Anyway, I liked the atmosphere there as I was treated like a regular customer, not a Masaleh. Anyway, I’ve noticed that most people visiting this shop consider Ales & Lagers as a place to have one or two beers before heading to a nightclub. Ales & Lagers stocks a small selection of ciders from the New Zeland-based Zeffer Cider Company and Australian-based the Hills Cider Company. I tried some of them and will publish the reviews soon.
Taps Beer Bar has a few locations around KL. This a good place for the Friday night hangout or to meet other expats. In addition, the food is supposed to be good as per feedback from my work colleagues who usually go there for lunch. At Taps, they usually have at least one cider on draught made by an Australian brewery 2 Brothers. You can check Taps’ current tap list here.
- The Great Beer Bar (86, Jalan SS 21/62, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor)
Not exactly based in KL, but in Petaling Jaya, which is usually referred as PJ and is a satellite city of KL. The Great Beer Bar is owned by the same person as previously mentioned Ales & Lagers so it is also a craft beer store offering beer in bottles and on tap. But, in contrast to Ales & Lagers they have their own kitchen. Cider wise they have bottled Zeffer and the Hills Cider Company.
If there are more cider spots in Kuala Lumpur worth mentioning, just drop me a line! I would be happy to update my post.