Photo: Beerfest Asia
Beerfest Asia might be in its sixth year now, but that doesn't mean we've figured out how to avoid leaving Marina Promenade in a haze, having drunk-dialled the ex 17 times (not speaking from experience). As veterans of many a rewarding evening at the festival along with a handful of regrettable ones, we can help you avoid scantily-clad promoters to get your hands on the best beers.
Follow this itinerary and you'll make it through the event with your integrity (and most of your liver functions) intact.
Drink 1: Stoke Dark
The welcome beer
First things first, get in early. Doors open at 6pm Thursday to Saturday and at noon on Sunday. You’ll be able to move around freely ahead of the crowd and spare your nostrils from the potent olfactory cocktail of spilled beer and vomit that tends to waft around the grounds later in the day. You're entitled to one free welcome beer with your ticket, and Stoke Dark is an easy choice. Hailing from New Zealand's South Island and brewed with "14,000-year-old Paleo water", organic hops and six different malts, Stoke Dark is a medal-winning beer rich in sweet caramel and coffee flavours. At just 4.5 per cent alcohol by volume (abv), it'll ease you in gently. This drink is free with admission.
Drink 2: The Wild Beer Co. & Beavertown Rubus Maximus
Limited release English collab beer
A big selling point of Beerfest Asia is that it gives you the opportunity to sample rare, limited release beers that you wouldn't normally see in Singapore. Rubus Maximus (cup $14, bottle $45), produced as a collaboration between two cool English breweries, is the epitome of that this year. Using nine varieties of grains, aromatic long pepper and a ton of raspberries, the brew is then blended with an oak-aged, spontaneously fermented sour beer. Only 18 bottles and one keg are available at the event.
Intermission 1: Beerfest Comedy Club: Singapore vs Malaysia Comedy Cup
Take a break with some laughs
With a couple of beers under your belt, your sense of humour will be slightly heightened. It's the perfect time to head to the Comedy Lounge for the Singapore vs Malaysia Comedy Cup. Fakkah Fuzz and Jinx Yeo will be flying the flag for the Lion City while Kavin J and Rizal Van Geyzal will be defending the honour of our neighbours up north. The shows begin on Thursday at 8pm, Friday at 7.45pm and Saturday at 7.15pm. Tickets for the shows are an additional $28 per person, or buy any of the Beerfest pass bundles ($40/$50) to be able to catch one show.
Drink 3: To Øl Mochaccino Messiah
Perk up with this coffee beer
After sitting still for an hour, you might be in need of a pick-me-up to get you going again. There had to be a practical reason behind all those coffee beers. Danish brewery To Øl made Mochaccino Messiah (cup $15) as an "attempt of substituting the morning mochaccino coffee with a beer". Classed as a brown ale, the Messiah is brewed with roasted chocolate malt, lactose and real coffee with four varieties of hops to make sure it still has some bite.
Drink 4: Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers
Spice it up a little
Still not feeling perky enough? What you need is some spice. From Stone, makers of the legendary Arrogant Bastard Ale, comes a smoked porter with chipotle peppers (smoke-dried jalapeños; bottle $28). First brewed to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in 2006, the marriage of flavours from the smoked peppers and peat-smoked malt was so heavenly it became part of Stone's regular repertoire. It's brewed in limited quantities each May.
Intermission 2: Tribute bands at the Rock Marquee
Factor this bandy break in
You've laughed and you've started talking more than you usually do; now it's time to sing. The folks behind Beerfest Asia know that their clientele probably isn't the sort that wants to sway slowly to Icelandic indie music. They want songs with lyrics they know well enough to scream at top volume. That's why they've got tribute bands tearing it up at the Rock Marquee – Killer Queen, Chick Flick (Guns & Roses, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and more), The Australian Beatles and three-in-one grunge and rock act Nevermind Nirvana/Ice Cold Chili Peppers/Oasis. On stage on Thursday at 8.15pm, Friday at 8pm and Saturday at 7.45pm.
Drink 5: Mikkeller Singapore Dream
A pilsner that will help you recharge
A boozy love letter to the Singapore heat from one of the world's most influential craft breweries, Mikkeller Singapore Dream ($15 a cup) is a refreshing, hoppy pilsner that will help you recharge if you rocked out just a little too hard to “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
Drink 6: Thistly Cross Cider "Whisky Cask"
Stay interested with a whisky-crossed cider
Five beers in, a palate cleanser is in order, just to keep your tastebuds interested. Have a cider, but choose wisely; it's very easy to get waylaid with Brothers ciders and end up knee-deep in green glass. Thistly Cross Cider Whisky Cask (bottle $10) is something completely different, a well-balanced, medium-dry drop that spends up to six months maturing in Glen Moray whisky barrels and picking up pleasing oaky vanilla notes.
Drink 7: De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis
Imperial stout for that massive nightcap
It's almost time to call it a day, but not before one massive nightcap. Commanding a mighty 100 per cent rating on RateBeer, this Russian imperial stout from Dutch brewery De Molen is a force to be reckoned with. The intensely rich Hel & Verdoemenis (cup $15), which translates as “Hell & Damnation”, weighs in at 10% abv and has all the dark flavours you seek in a beer of its ilk – chocolate, coffee and dried fruits. This is a rare opportunity to experience the beast on tap.
Curtain Call: The Blues Marquee
A groovy ending
The Blues Marquee will be populated by a cast of local and foreign bands to provide suitable musical accompaniment to your cup of black gold. Join the likes of JS Funk, Armani Consort, Raw Earth and The Australian Blues Brothers as you groove your way to the end of another great night at Beerfest Asia. Performances are on Thursday at 7.30pm, Friday at 7.15pm, Saturday at 7.45pm and Sunday at 5.30pm.
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).