Hong Kong craft brewery Young Master Ales and award-winning Singapore cocktail bar NATIVE have worked together to create a collaboration beer called Thick Skin.

The worlds of craft beer and cocktails don’t normally collide, but when they do the results can be spectacular. In recent time a number of craft breweries have looked to cocktail culture for inspiration; consider the likes of Anderson Valley Brewing Company with their G&T Gose, a salty sour ale mimicking the flavours of the refreshing gin and tonic, Flying Dog Brewing with its Mint Julep Ale, or Brooklyn Brewery’s Improved Old Fashioned, a strong brown ale inspired by the classic bourbon based tipple.

Sometimes, they collaborate directly too. Popular Seoul cocktail bar Charles H last year partnered with South Korea’s Magpie Brewery to create Le 75 – a beer inspired by the classic French 75 cocktail – as well as New Yorker, a red ale take on the Manhattan. And now closer to home we have our own example: award-winning local cocktail bar NATIVE has worked with leading Hong Kong craft brewery Young Master Ales to develop a collaboration stout called Thick Skin.

This single-batch, limited edition stout is called Thick Skin because it uses cacao husks salvaged from Singapore chocolate maker Fossa Chocolate, and cascara left over from a Hong Kong coffee roaster. Both cacao husks – the fibrous outer shell of the cacao bean – and cascara – the dried skins of the coffee cherry – are normally discarded as waste, but here are repurposed as ingredients in the making of beer. The approach follows the eco-friendly ethos of NATIVE, which was awarded the “Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award” at this year’s World’s 50 Best Bars the same time they ranked at No.12 on the list). NATIVE also picked up the “Creative Cocktail Bar of the Year”award at the recent The Bar Awards 2019.

thick skin beer

“We had many crazy ideas about the collaboration, including one for a buah keluak porter,” said NATIVE bartender-owner Vijay Mudaliar. “But we finally settled on this one because it felt right to showcase our approach to sustainability and at the same time showed off Young Master’s experience in making such complex beers.”

It’s also called Thick Skin because both Young Master Ales and NATIVE are upstarts in their respective fields, shared Young Master Ales co-founder Rohit Dugar. “We need a thick skin to go out in the market to prove ourselves, often against bigger players in the market,” Dugar explained.

Thick Skin is a moreish, highly drinkable stout with layered notes of dusty cocoa, espresso and sweet cereal, with a velvety texture on the palate. It is available at NATIVE at the price of S$34++ for a 750ml bottle, or on draft at The Guild Singapore at S$19++ for a 450ml pour during dinner service. Thick Skin is also available to Hong Kong consumers on their online store.


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