One of the latest craft beer bars to open, Alchemist Beer Lab introduces an entirely new concept when it comes to the appreciation of beers here in Singapore – beer infusions.
Over the past few years the local craft beer movement has taken hold in Singapore, with a number of new microbreweries opening up in the country. One of the newer entrants is Little Island Brewing Co, which opened up at Changi Village sometime middle of last year and producing some rather fine local brews under the supervision of head brewer Steve Spinney.
One year down the road the owners behind Little Island Brew Co has opened a new craft beer concept bar, Alchemist Beer Lab, in the heart of the city. Situated within the new commercial stretch of South Beach Avenue in between Raffles Hotel and Suntec City, the new outlet’s location is far more accessible than its flagship in rustic, laid-back Changi.
Convenience aside, what’s more interesting is their concept. In addition to a selection of Little Island’s core beers, Alchemist Beer Lab offers beer infusions. Unlike some of the other local microbreweries which incorporate different ingredients during the brewing process – like the use of spirulina, which turns beer green, or tropical fruits, for a more local flavour – Alchemist Beer Lab runs various base beers or ciders into towers containing a variety of ingredients to infuse them with additional flavours. If you’re familiar with Dogfish Head’s Randall the Enamel Animal, those towers essentially leverages on the same idea but on a far bigger, and more commercial, level.
The infused beers are still largely experimental; you may find, for example, a golden ale infused with grilled pineapple and anise, a cider steeped in hops, or even the cheekily named Obama, which immerses marshmallows, mint and vanilla pods in Little Island’s own award-winning dry Irish stout. There are currently 16 of those infusion towers at Alchemist Beer Lab, some of which also dispenses wine and unadulterated core beers from Little Island in addition to the infused beers.
And while beer purists are likely to frown on the idea of such beer infusions, the biggest problem faced by Alchemist Beer Lab may be the issue of consistency. Each tower contains up to three litres of liquid for infusion – that’s barely enough pours to last through a busy hour of service, and will require constant topping up throughout the evening. This also means that the flavours from an infused beer from the first extraction is likely going to be very different from one after multiple batches of beer have been run through the same ingredients.
Still the Alchemist Beer Lab’s infused beer concept is likely to take off with drinkers new to the world of craft beer, especially with its fruit-based infusions. As for purists, they can always opt for the unadulterated beer offerings – now they don’t have to go all the way to Changi Village just to get those award-winning Little Island beers.
You can find Alchemist Beer Lab at South Beach Avenue, 26 Beach Road, #B1-16.