Singapore’s latest microbreweries are brewing all sorts of suds under the radar of the bigger labels, Gerard Ward says.
The 1925 Microbrewery & Restaurant
369 Jalan Besar, 208997
Jalan Besar is fast becoming the chic area for cafes and eateries, though it’s the microbrewery at the edge of Jalan Besar that’s got the perfect microbrewery atmosphere – with fermenter tanks out in the open, bare concrete walls, yellow hue from the handmade lightbulbs and a big bar.
The BLK 6.22 dark ale has a delicious caramel malt taste, and surprisingly easy to drink for a dark beer. Ordering the medley of fries – a wooden cutting board of seaweed-seasoned, paprika-seasoned and other spice-seasoned fries, with a curry sauce and a truffle aïoli sauce on the side – brought out some interesting flavours from the dark beer.
The General ginger beer is fiery, sweet, refreshing and light. The teriyaki chicken burger – minus the skin that we peeled off because the medley of fries is guilt enough – is delicious with the ginger ale, with a juicy breast, tomato slice, lettuce and homemade teriyaki sauce.
Not only do they brew their own beers, but they also import the likes of Deschutes, Modern Times and Brewdog beers on tap.
House 1D Cluny Road, 259600
Who would’ve thought there’d be beer brewing right in the middle of the Singapore Botanic Gardens? The Balinese garden-slash-restaurant, which with its incense and collection of statues and furniture feels like Bali, brews its own beer for diners and those renting the space out for events. ‘We are actually a nano brewery,’ owner and managing director of Blue Bali Robin Greatbatch says.
With 100-litre fermenters on site, the restaurant brews its beers on site. Because the choice of craft beer in Singapore was very limited, when a brewmaster approached Robin, it seemed like the perfect reason to start brewing their own.
Since 2012, the nano brewery has created almost 30 different beers for clients and parties – with variations ranging from a honey, basil and ginger ale to a porter refined with Indonesian luwak coffee.
The four beers on the menu currently are all aimed to refresh. The Pink Mamba, a German wheat beer infused with red dragon fruit, is sweet, light, and most likely the choice for those who aren’t sure about which beer to start with.
The Bali Gold, a pumpkin golden ale, is the restaurant’s winner as a refreshing, smooth and not too carbonated beer.
The Doshi India Pale Ale, made with Zeus hops, is not too strong, going great with some of the golden-crusted vegetable samosas and tangy lemon sauce on the tapas menu.
The honey, basil and ginger-flavoured Bali Dreaming ale is also soft, slightly sweet and lightly carbonated.
The wine list is quite big as well, with plenty of New Zealand white wines to sip on while hiding from the sun.
The RawR Kitchen
31 Bukit Batok Crescent, #02-01 The Splendour, 658070
It’s in no way an obvious entrance to the Bukit Batok bistro – heading down a car ramp and up an elevator beside the Kotoshi Ryori restaurant – The RawR Kitchen is quite a find for beer lovers.
Home of the drinks that you’d find in the OnTap Fresh Brew Craft Beer outlets out in Chinatown Complex and Newton Circus, the eatery’s Western grub can be paired with, or has been made with, OnTap beers.
Serving 11 beers is no easy task for a microbrewery – including a pilsner, English bitter, stout, dunkel, sweet ciders, and a hoppy IPA. The seasonal beer, a sweet and alcoholic root beer, became so popular that it’s become a mainstay. ‘I think if we took it off the taps our customers would kill us,’ Kelvin Yeo, founder of The RawR Kitchen, laughs.
Having only been around for just over a year, OnTap Brewery’s wheat beer – a refreshing weizen with a citrus twist – won silver at this year’s Asia Beer Awards. Like any recipe however, it’s already evolved to more vanilla-centric notes.
The food menu, as with the drinks, is made with no preservatives, MSG or additives. The beer’s lack of stabilisers – the stuff that keeps bottled beer tasting the same over time – avoids that awful hangover one feels in the morning. The 2-hour beer buffet ($35 nett) on Friday night and during the weekend lets patrons sample as many of the 11 beers on tap – with reservations recommended during peak hours – so the lack of hangover and incredibly low price is tantalising.
The portable 2L keg is the neat addition. While not bottled, the beer can be taken home in 2L pre-gassed kegs. It’s not cheap, with the parts to build the takeaway beer pricey as heck at around $250, but Kelvin keeps the pricing reasonable. If you buy the canister part, he’ll knock $35 off the price. The kegs can then be reused.