The old adage of 'good things come in small packages’ is none the more pertinent than when it comes to craft beer. Once the beverage of choice for the hipster crowd found in only the most select of drinking establishments, craft beer has made its way into the mainstream with microbreweries rapidly springing up onto the urban bar scene as customers demand more from their beverage. Produced in small batches, brewers have complete control over their concoctions and, because of the artisanal nature that the beer-making process, they play around with every ingredient from hops to yeasts, fruit and acidity.
Although Singapore's craft beer scene started out with a handful of bars importing a small selection of experimental brews from overseas, what's now on offer has grown to an expansive array of choice provided by world-beating microbreweries through to the passionate individual's stall at a hawker market, serving up their connoisseurly choice of imports until the barrel runs dry.
Right in the heart of the CBD and thirty-three floors up, LeVeL33, the world's highest urban microbrewery, offers arguably the most breathtaking views over Marina Bay for you to drink in while you sup from your pint glass. All five of their signature European-style craft beers – their 33.1 Blond Lager, 33.1 India Pale Ale, 33.1 Stout, 33.1 House Porter and 33.1 Wheat Beer – are brewed in their copper brew house kettles. If, however, you're in the mood to deviate from the norm, seasonal beers are also crafted on a quarterly basis. Flights of the five signature offerings can be purchased, too, with light-bite pairing suggestions.
8 marina Boulevard, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1, #33-01, Singapore 018981
Little Island Brewing Company
Way out east, the Little Island Brewing Co (LBIC) likes to keep it quirky with adventurous brews on tap. Their pale ale, A Whiter Shade of Ale, and dry Irish stout, That Old Black Magic, are firm favorites with patrons. For a taste of something truly local, though, try 'Ale Yeah'; LBIC has put its own stamp on this India Pale Ale by maturing it in oak, giving it a malty, dry finish. Experimentation is encouraged, too, among its clientele as this microbrewery has a DIY self-pour system that charges for however much is taken, meaning you can sample your way through their brews until your heart's content. To go completely off the beaten track check out LBIC’s sister bar, The Alchemist; the world’s first infusion beer lab, serving up concoctions comprising of anything from fruit, to herbs, to spices steeped in its brews from Changi.
LBIC, Block 6 Changi Village Road, #01-01/02, Singapore 509907
The Alchemist, 26 Beach Road, #B1-16 South Beach Avenue, Singapore 189768
Owning the status of Singapore's first microbrewery restaurant, Brewerkz has been collecting a host of awards for it trophy cabinet since 1997. All five of its signature beers – Golden Ale, Hopback Ale, Pilsner, India Pale Ale and Oatmeal Stout – are featured at all five of their outlets dotted across Singapore, and there is an impressive list of 22 seasonal beers on rotation. Currently on a quest to shake up and fine tune their core range of beers, Brewerkz are inviting clientele to give their new experimental XP series ratings on beer rating app,‘Untappd’, giving the customers the opportunity to have a say in what they are served.
Brewerkz, 30 Merchant Road, #01-05/06 Riverside Point, Singapore 058282 (Flagship site)
In the late 1990s, a group of Australian buddies with a background in brewing sampled something new; American Pale Ale. Excited by the hop-driven flavors, they bought a plot of land from a failing crocodile farmer in Fremantle, just outside of Perth, Western Australia; it was there that work began and Little Creatures brewery was founded. On May 30 this year they swung their doors open at one of their newest locations on Club Street, where an extension of the Fremantle brewery has set up shop to offer, among others, its signature Pale Ale. Check out August’s special brew as a nod towards the Singapore independence day celebrations.
Little Creatures Mohamed Ali Lane, 36 Club Street, Singapore 069469
The 1925 Brewing Co.
Named in celebration of the birth-year of their grandfather, brothers Ivan and Eng Kuang and uncle Yeo King Joey officially opened their family venture in May, 2014. Inside their new microbrewery’s premises, a chic two-story shophouse just north of East Coast Park, nestle four 600-liter beer tanks producing two pale ales, a dark ale, a Manuka honey stout, and an intriguing beer made from a combination of old and young ginger, all of which have been affectionately named with the family in mind. Their pale ale Yellow Van, for example, is so called because the brothers’ grandfather would ferry them around in his bright yellow van when they were younger. It is in beer and food pairing, though, where the real passion lies and many of its menu entries are beer-inspired or feature its BLK 622 Dark Ale glaze.
The 1925 Brewing Co, 261 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427515
Beer Crawling Like the Locals
Make no mistake, craft beer is not produce reserved for the most prestigious of venues with shiney copper kettles. Some of Singapore's most passionate purveyors of great craft ale import from around the world, serving on tap and bottled beer, have set up shop in Singapore's hawker markets:
- Smith Street Taps, found on level 2 of the Chinatown Complex is collaborative between Daniel Goh of The Good Beer Company, and Kuok Meng Chao of Brewer's Craft, Clementi. Both owners have a talented nose for sourcing outstanding craft beer, worldwide, and the choice they have on offer is constantly changing.
- The Good Beer Company, located a few stalls along from Smith Street Taps is the side-kick to its larger operation in Kent Ridge. Daniel describes his beers as 'uncommon, epic and legendary' and is often on hand to enthuse over his wares.
- 3rd Culture Brewing Co holds two hawker spots in the Maxwell Food Centre, Tanjong Pagar, where is has 12 rotating beers on tap, and at Old Airport Road Food Centre, with ten rotating beers on tap. Their passion is pairing beers with local delicacies.
- Craft Beer Store in the Newton Food Centre is a pocket-friendly gem in what is otherwise an overpriced tourist trap and has over 50 beers to choose from, serving until 3am.
- Charlie's Corner over at Changi Village Hawker Centre dates back to 1979 and holds between 50 and 60 beers, with the majority of its stock hailing from the UK, Belgium and Japan.
Photo courtesy of The 1925