We visited all of the Singapore’s craft breweries and sampled their creations in search of the finest local beers this land has to offer. From a beer that’ll keep you going back, to a healthy beer and beers to beat the heat—we help you keep your chin up:
|See this story in pictures:10 best Singapore-brewed beers gallery|
Adstragold Microbrewery—Red Ale
Best beer off the beaten trail
This once mixed-reviewed Katong microbrewery has about 15 beers available at any given time, from limited release oak-aged ales to a rather curious special creamy stout dispensed from a carbon dioxide charger that resembles a fire extinguisher. Their Red Ale ($7.90 for 300ml) won a bronze medal at Beerfest Asia 2010, and is where you should start. It’s more full-flavoured than their ‘light’ range of beers and with a zing of hop bitterness in the finish.
AdstraGold Microbrewery | Address: 417/419 East Coast Road | Tel: 63453378 | Opening hours: Mon–Sat & eve of public holidays 2pm–1am; Sun noon–11pm
TIP:Beyond the beer, this is a nice spot to soak in the atmosphere of Katong and its kitschiness can be good for a few laughs.
Best limited edition beer
Don’t roll your eyes at ‘limited edition’. Sure the term has been bandied about a lot these days, but Archipelago has gone some way in reclaiming it with the Archipresso ($10.80 for 300ml). This German dark lager is not so much a coffee beer as it is a beer coffee; infused with artisanal coffee from Tiong Bahru café 40 Hands, the aroma, initial taste and lingering finish are dominated by the beans. We’re glad Archipelago has returned to its exploratory heyday, although we’ll really miss this one when it’s gone (which is soon).
Archipelago Brewery | Address: 79 Circular Road | Tel: 63278408 | Opening hours: Sun–Thu 3pm–1am, Fri 2pm–3am, Sat 3pm–3am
TIP: Their next limited edition is a delicately fruity Sake Sorachi. It draws a connecting line between beer and sake and blurs it.
|The RedDot Monster Lager and Sauvignon Blanc. Guess which is which|
CRITIC'S PICKBrewerkz—Golden Ale
Most comfortable beer
At this old man of brewpub culture, it's about the long sessions that start at midday. There really is only one beer for that: the Golden Ale ($5 for 300ml). Like that old flame you always go back to, the Golden Ale’s lightly floral, easy drinkability provides comfort with the familiar. Despite constantly updating their beer list with innovative new items, we’re grateful Brewerkz has not left for permanent trendy pastures.
Brewerkz | Address: #01-05/06 Riverside Point, 30 Merchant Road | Tel: 64382311 | Opening hours: Mon–Thu noon–midnight; Fri & Sat noon-1am; Sun 11am–midnight
TIP: Also try the Black Pig (from $7 for 375ml)—a smooth, dark commemorative brew (15 years in the biz, y’all!) that has caramel and chocolate characters of a porter but the hoppiness of a pale ale. Its drinkability doesn't betray its 8 per cent alcohol by volume (abv) either.
LeVeL 33—33.3 Stout
Best beer with a view
The world's highest urban craft brewery, LeVeL33 specializes in authentic European beers and has a menu tailored to be enjoyed in their company. It can get a little chilly up on the windy balcony, so it's fortuitous that they have a top-notch stout on the menu. The 33.3 ($9.33 for 300ml) is a dark beer with Irish roots and Singaporean sensibilities. The stout is light-bodied with just enough roasted malt to warm you when the wind picks up.
LeVeL 33 | Address: #33-01 Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1, 8 Marina Boulevard | Tel: 68343133 | Opening hours: Sun–Thu noon–midnight; Fri, Sat & eve of public holidays noon–2am
TIP: There is no shortage of vantage points to look out over the city, but LeVeL33 easily has some of the best views of any of them.
RedDot Brewhouse—Monster Green Lager
Best beer for your health
Far from being anything like the kryptonite-hue it resembles, RedDot's crisp, lightly bitter and slight coconut candy-sweet Monster Green Lager ($5 for a half-pint) might actually be good for you: the Monster is brewed with the dietary supplement spirulina. To quote the menu: ‘Preliminary studies have shown that spirulina is able to inhibit viral speciation in vitro, strengthen the immune system and may cause regression & elimination of AIDS virus.’ Drink what you will with that.
RedDot Brewhouse | Address: 33/34 Boat Quay | Tel: 65354500 | Opening hours: Mon–Thu noon–midnight, Fri–at noon–1am
TIP:If you’re tough enough without the spirulina, the citrus-y Sauvignon Ale and zesty Lime Wheat are also excellent.
|LeVel 33 is the spot for a dark, maybe broody, view over the city|
Paulaner Brauhaus—Paulaner Munich Lager
Best traditional beer
German beers have taken a back seat to modern day craft beer in recent years, but there's no denying the centuries of tradition in German beer-making. Paulaner's Munich Lager ($13 for 300ml) is a great example of what beer used to be like in the old days, before the dominance of drab pale lagers. Using only water, hops, malt and yeast as set down by the German Beer Purity Law, the Munich is not very different from the average German lager—smooth, simple and lightly hopped. Since it's brewed onsite—not poured out of a bottle after a journey halfway round the world—it is also lively and fresh.
Paulaner Brauhaus | Address: #01-01 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard | Tel: 68830701 | Opening hours: Sun–Thu 11.30am–1am; Fri, Sat & eve of public holidays 11.30am–2am
Prague Microbrewery & Restaurant—Prague Czech Pilseners
The best beers you probably don't know about
The pilsener is one of the world's most popular beer styles, but thanks to questionable labeling from certain big brewers, many tend to think of it as nothing more than a type of cheap for thoughtless quaffing. This is where that image gets corrected: quietly operating from the Amara Hotel and possibly the first hotel-based brewery, Prague—as its name suggests—brews beers according to the traditions of the Czech Republic. There are only two beers here—light and dark variations of a Czech Pilsener ($6 for 300ml), but they're worth the visit. The light could easily pass off as something brewed in Pilsen itself; thirst-quenching with pure flavours of grain and hops. The dark, on the other hand, is something quite unique to Prague. Instead of the typical roasted character, you get an intriguing lactose-like sweetness.
Prague Microbrewery & Restaurant | Address: 165 Tanjong Pagar Road, #01-00 Amara Singapore Hotel | Tel: 68792608 | Opening hours: Daily 11am–midnight
|See this story in pictures:10 best Singapore-brewed beers gallery|
The Pump Room—India Pale Ale
Best beer for dancers
Forget the overpriced, tasteless beers with wedges of lime in the way—dance and jive with an Asian Beer Award medal winners; the India Pale Ale ($6) is hoppy as the best of IPAs, and suitably inebriating at 6.2 per cent abv. You won’t find a better beer to take to the dance floor of this nightspot.
The Pump Room | Address: #01-09 Clarke Quay, 3B River Valley Road | Tel: 63342628 | Opening hours: Sun–Thu 11am–3am; Fri & Sat 11am–5am
TIP: The Pump Room resident band Jive Talkin' plays everything from classic rock and pop to current Top 40 hits on Tuesdays to Sundays after 10.45pm. Wednesday nights are Ladies’ Nights—free entry for the fairer sex.
Señor Taco/Jungle Beer—Cerveza Habanero
Best flavoured beer
As much as serious beer drinkers hate to admit it, flavoured beers can be fun. The newest kid on the brewery block, Jungle Beer knows its way around brewing with fruit, as anyone who's tried their mango wheat would attest to. They've joined forces with Mexican restaurant Señor Taco to come up with the Cerveza Habanero ($11.90 per glass), a chilli beer. Though the idea of a spicy beer is not entirely new, past attempts (by other breweries) have come up brutal, relentlessly fiery, short on taste and likely to cause intestinal discomfort. This one is different: it uses quality wheat beer base, imported habanero peppers (added during the brewing process) and you can taste their unadulterated essence beyond the mild burn.
Señor Taco | Address: #01-19/20 Chijme, 30 Victoria Street | Tel: 63371377 | Opening hours: Sun–Thu 6pm–midnight; Fri & Sat 6pm–2am
TIP:Have this with a plate of tacos, when you’re chasing a tequila or preparing for a Mexican stand-off.
|Tawandang Microbrewery's lager is made for hot drinkin'|
Tawandang Microbrewery—Tawandang Lager Beer
Best beer to beat the heat
This German brewery that serves Thai cuisine is a peculiar blend of East and West. Known more as a place for seafood and live entertainment than as a straight up microbrewery, it also carries some decent beers: the lager ($12 for 300ml) proper, with subtle floral hop notes and enough body for it to function as a palate cleanser. It refreshes and helps fight off the heat, whether from a walk around Dempsey Hill or a spicy prawn tom yum soup.
Tawandang Microbrewery | Address: 26 Dempsey Road | Tel: 64766742 | Opening hours: Daily 11.30am–1am
TIP:Tawandang's weizen is worth a try if you like your beers cloudy and clove-y.
A beer enthusiast first and a writer second, Kurt Ganapathy has tried over a thousand brews from 80 countries. Some of his most memorable exploits include tackling the one-time world's strongest beer - BrewDog's 41% abv Sink The Bismarck! - and getting his name on the wall of an Irish pub in Melbourne for drinking 100 pints of Guinness (not in one sitting, of course).