Singapore’s craft beer scene has seen explosive growth over the past couple of years, and the last few months are no different with an entire slew of different beer brands being made available to thirsty Singapore consumers.
We take a look at five craft beer brands – well, in the case of one of them it depends on your definition of craft – that has entered the Singapore market in recent time or will be landing on our shores soon that we highly recommend you check out at the nearest beer bar.
1. Brooklyn Brewery (New York, United States).
[Photo credit: Brooklyn Brewery]
Those who are familiar with American craft beers will certainly have heard of Brooklyn Brewery. Started in 1988 by journalist Steve Hindy and banker Tom Potter, Brooklyn Brewery pioneered the New York craft beer scene with their contract-brewed Brooklyn Lager, a Vienna-style lager that was maltier and hoppier than anything the city had tasted at that time.
Things really exploded when Hindy and Potter brought on Oliver Garrett as brewmaster in 1994 to head up its Williamsburg brewery; with their own large capacity brewery they were able to brew a lot more, and different kinds of beers to boot. Aside from making its core range, Brooklyn Brewery would start Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment, a project exploring different beer styles and brewing techniques – barrel-aging, souring, and infusions – that has spawned a mind-boggling number of cutting-edge beers.
Brooklyn Brewery originally launched in Singapore back in late 2015 with the introduction of Brooklyn Lager; distribution partner Carlsberg has decided that 2017 is the year to finally push Brooklyn Brewery in Singapore in a big way. Aside from Brooklyn Lager, the brand will be introducing to Singapore their East IPA, a bold and robust IPA featuring a blend of British English Kent Goldings, and American Cascade and Willamette hops, as well as the seasonal Summer Ale, a refreshing ale made with German and American hop varieties.
There’s no news that its Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment small-batch offerings will be made available for this market, but one can always hold on to hope.
2. Pirate Life Brewing (Adelaide, Australia).
Pirate Life Brewing, one of Australia’s hottest craft breweries, sailed to all the way from Adelaide Singapore’s shores a couple of months ago. Founded in 2014 by father and son team Mick and Jack Cameron as well as longtime friend Jared “Red” Proudfoot, the award-winning brewery has been picking up accolades left right and centre, including being the only brewery to have three and four beers in the top twenty of Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Pirate Life Brewing launched in Singapore back in June this year, and their edgy American-style brews – such as the summery Golden Ale, sessionable Throwback IPA and punchy IPA – have been on the lips of craft beer lovers in Singapore since. Pirate Life Brewing was one of the first pioneers in Australia to can their beers; the practice is now widely followed Down Under.
[Singapore distributor: The Mad Tapper]
3. Pasteur Street Brewing Co (Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam).
[Photo credit: Pasteur Street Brewing Co]
One of the Southeast Asia countries most experiencing a craft beer boom is Vietnam, and in Ho Chi Minh alone an entire slew of craft breweries have opened up in the past three years to slake the thirst of the bia-loving country. At the forefront of that craft beer explosion in Vietnam is Pasteur Street Brewing Co, founded in 2014 by Americans John Reid and Alex Violette.
What set Pasteur Street apart from existing cheap local Vietnamese brews and expensive foreign imports is their vision of combining the best Vietnamese ingredients with professional American craft brewing know-how. Singaporeans first got a taste of Pasteur Street at last year’s Craft Singapore, and thankfully it’s now picked up by a local distributor. We doubt their beers are going to be listed in Vietnamese restaurants in Singapore, but do expect to see the likes of very popular Jasmine IPA, Dragonfruit Gose, Passionfruit Wheat and also Pomelo IPA to hit craft beer bars across Singapore very soon.
[Singapore distributor: Beer Connoisseur Pte Ltd]
4. Meantime Brewing Company (London, United Kingdom).
Just as how Brooklyn Brewery helped sparked off a craft beer revolution in New York, Meantime Brewing Company from London did the same for its city. Prior to their founding in 1999, London was awash with beer but of more traditional styles such as the usual Euro style pale lagers or British cask ales; Meantime Brewing, founded by Alastair Hook, would shake up the scene with their hop forward beers.
Meantime Brewing would then go into the history books as London’s first modern craft brewery, and its founder would be smothered with brewing accolades. The company though was later acquired by beer conglomerate SAB Miller in 2015, and again sold off to Japanese beverage giant Asahi Breweries in 2016.
Meantime Brewing’s beers were previously available in Singapore; it was first distributed by Liquid Luxury in early 2010s before Ale N Cider took over when it was owned by SAB Miller. Today distribution is handled by 6DM Singapore, and local consumers can expect to see the likes of their iconic Yakima Red, a citrusy and malty red ale, the robust London IPA, as well as the more refreshing London Pale Ale penetrate the market soon.
[Singapore distributor: 6DM Singapore]
5. Garage Project (Wellington, New Zealand).
One of the most anticipated craft beer introductions to Singapore was New Zealand-based cult brewery Garage Project. First announced in July this year, a Garage Project tap takeover at local craft beer bar Freehouse saw an overwhelming response that empited its draft taps and the small number of bottled and canned beers available.
Garage Project was founded by Pete Gillespie, Jos Ruffell, and Ian Gillespie, which first started as a nano-brewery inside – surprise, surprise – a garage on Aro Street in Wellington, New Zealand back in 2011. But its stature and craft beer cred was established when it continually churned out exciting new beers and eschewed producing a core range of brews like most other breweries do.
Garage Project also got the attention of Singapore Airlines when it served up a special beer during a big event where Garage Project was pouring. A few meetings later, Garage Project would be producing a special beer specially for Singapore Airlines’ business class route to and from New Zealand, a pilsner made with jasmine tea, tamarind and lemongrass. For those who aren’t lucky enough to fly that route, you can look forward to beers such as the lager BEER, the wine-like Sauvin Nouveau, or the oyster stout Cabbages & Kings.
[Singapore distributor: The Mad Tapper]