Looking for beers to celebrate this International Beer Day? Our friends at City Nomads have put together a list of beers from some craft breweries you may want to take a look at.
The craft beer revolution has hopped its way round the world from Hong Kong to Melbourne. With bold new breweries launching faster than we can drink their stuff and any list of breweries to watch merely the tip of the iceberg, talk about the best time in history to be a beer lover.
It’s been tough, but in honour of International Beer Day on 6 August, we’ve brewed up a shortlist of our favourite breweries this year from Asia, Australia, and beyond. Packed with creative spirit and trailblazing techniques, these are the craft breweries shaping the beerscape.
Started in a former Italian restaurant, Melbourne’s Burnley Brewing has carved out a name for its crushable beers in the last five years. Germany-trained head brewer Michael Stanzel blends traditional German brewing techniques with a dash of funk, and his knack for making clean, crisp classics is best captured in their core range. The Vienna Lager (S$10, 440ml) balances bready malt with subtle noble hops, while the Pale Ale (S$9, 440ml) gives the hops the spotlight with its citrusy punch. Don’t miss out on their limited-release Burnley NEIPA (S$8.50, 355ml) – a double act of Citra and Mosaic hops that feels like biting into a juicy peach.
Shop Burnley Brewing’s range on ARVO.
Lion City Meadery
Born in Singapore and brewed in Australia, Lion City Meadery’s award-winning meads push the boundaries with pops of local produce. The brainchild of locals Sanjay Jegatheesan and Justin Herson, their eucalyptus honey beer-style meads have been known to get old-school with infusions like chrysanthemum. But to beat the Singapore heat, you can’t do better than their flagship: the light, tangy Classic (S$14.50, 330ml). Red wine lovers, try the tannin-rich Hibiscus Blueberry (S$14.50, 330ml), which snagged a silver at the Europe Mead Madness Cup in 2020. Another core brew, Spiced (S$14.50, 330ml), channels the gentle warmth of masala chai with roasted spices like cinnamon and cloves – no wonder it swept the Best of Singapore and Silver in Category awards at the Asia Beer Awards at Beerfest Asia 2019.
Shop Lion City Meadery’s range here.
A lifetime ago, Mikkel Bjergsø was a physics teacher with a penchant for home brewing in his Copenhagen kitchen. These days, he helms celebrated gypsy brewer Mikkeller, beloved the world over for their experimental, tastebud-changing beers. Running on the spirit of collaboration, they’ve worked with a slew of creators from fellow breweries to filmmaker David Lynch. Their latest collab-brew with Warner Bros is a cure for folks still nursing a Game of Thrones hangover: the Game of Thrones – Iron Anniversary IPA. Juicy with pineapple and stone fruits, this medium-bodied NEIPA glows with the peaceful warmth of the Summer Isles.
Shop Mikkeller’s range on Smith Street Taps.
One Drop Brewing Co
Named for the one-drop rhythm at the heart of reggae, Sydney native One Drop Brewing Co grooves to many of the genre’s ideals: love, chill vibes, moving with the flow. Husband and wife owners Meg Barbic and Clay Grant are best known for their sours bursting with fruit and funk. Take the Boysenberry Double Take Imperial Sour (S$28, 440ml) – a tart boysenberry bomb with double the hops and a whopping 10.9% ABV. Or if you’re up for a mango-pineapple smoothie, slurp down the Tropical Smoothie Sour Nitro (S$19.30, 440ml) – this kettle sour is creamy with lactose and crammed with tropical fruit. For a true West Coast IPA, look to their Fresh of the Boat (S$21.40, 440ml) with its zing of grapefruit and fresh hops.
Shop One Drop Brewing Co’s range on Smith Street Taps.
Polly’s Brew Co
Polly’s Brew Co may have kicked off in the humblest of places – a stablehouse where Polly the family horse lived – but since then, they’ve galloped to new heights. Founded by Sean Weldon, this North Wales brewery has become one of the UK’s most successful names with their rotation of experimental, hop-forward pale ales and IPAs. For a hop bomb, look no further than the Falter DDH IPA (S$16, 440ml) – it comes loaded to the hilt with intense berry and mango notes. Dry-hopped with Mosaic, the Bouquet American IPA (S$15, 440ml) is a tropical fruit basket in a can, while Oh My New England Pale Ale (S$14, 440ml) goes down easy with coconut and cream notes from Sabro hops.
Shop Polly’s Brew Co’s range on Quality Drops Beer. Get 10% off your first order with the promo code ‘FIRSTDROP10′, exclusively for first-time buyers on Quality Drops.
Specific Gravity Beverage Co
Eight-month-old Specific Gravity Beverage Co has already swept medals at this year’s Australian International Beer Awards. But then, this homegrown label is the birthchild of two veterans in our regional craft brewing scene, Devin Kimble and Kim Wong. Where many craft breweries today are going big and bold on flavour, SGBC is going the opposite way with their light, laidback brews.
Their initial range includes the ever-popular Craft Lager (S$21.50, four-pack); the smooth, dry Golden Ale (S$21.50, four-pack); and the French-style Saison (S$33, four-pack) laced with nutty malt. This International Beer Day, they’re set to launch a fruity Vienna lager dubbed Unleashed. Brewed up in collaboration with local dog bakery The Barkery, spent grain from this limited-edition lager will be transformed into healthy dog biscuits – it’s the next best thing to sharing a pint with your furry best friend.
Shop Specific Gravity’s range here.
Vault City Brewing
Scotland’s unofficial authority on sour beers, Vault City Brewing has pioneered their own mixed-fermentation method with saccharomyces and lactobactillus, which creates unmatched smoothness and complexity. Their balanced sours come fresh with locally sourced fruit. Fun ways to get your dose of vitamins include the OJ IPA Sour (S$20, 375ml) – a sun-kissed blend of mandarin juice, Citra and Mosaic hops – and the Sloe Gin Sour (S$20, 375ml), loaded with plummy-sweet sloes and spices. For something different, the whisky barrel-aged BA Double Honeycomb Turnover Imperial Stout (S$24, 375ml) pours like chocolate honeycomb in booze form.
Shop Vault City Brewing’s range on Quality Drops Beer. Get 10% off your first order with the promo code ‘FIRSTDROP10′, exclusively for first-time buyers on Quality Drops.
Wolf of the Willows
Founded by Scotty and Renae McKinnon, this Melbourne brewery draws its poetic name from a quote by Pliny the Elder on hops; specifically wild hops that twined around and choked willows ‘like a wolf in the forest’. There’s no denying it makes for some great can art, while capturing their focus on modern, hop-driven ales. Their flagship XPA (S$7, 355ml) hops up the pale ale with a combined tropical punch of Citra, Centennial, and Galaxy. Dialing up the hop factor further is the Inner Vision DDH Hazy IPA (S$12, 440ml); and if you like your whisky sours, try out the limited-release Lark Barrel Aged Whisky Sour (S$22, 440ml). The imperial sour ale spent five months in Lark whisky barrels and is rounded out with lactose, fresh lemon, and a nitro charge.
Shop Wolf of the Willows’ range on ARVO.
Young Master Ales
Think Hong Kong craft beer and Young Master Ales comes to mind. Established in 2013, this forerunner in Hong Kong’s craft brew revolution has made a name for their ales across Asia. No stranger to experimentation, they’re home to the region’s largest barrel ageing program – not to mention an oak foeder custom-built for mixed-culture fermentation. Beloved brews include Another One Pale Ale (S$134.40, case of 24) – a session ale that’ll have you downing another one or ten – and the 1842 Island IPA (S$153.60, case of 24), an imperial IPA with a bold malt backbone and hops for days. We’ve a soft spot for the Cha Chaan Teng Gose (S$134.40, case of 24) too, brewed with salted lime commonly found in Hong Kong’s teahouse refreshments.
Shop Young Master Ales’ range here.
*This article was first posted on City Nomads. All photos for this story are taken by Joel Lim Photography and copyright of Spirited Singapore and City Nomads; the use or reproduction of any of these photos without permission is strictly prohibited.
City Nomads’ Senior Lifestyle Writer Jolene Hee has a major sweet tooth and would happily eat pastries for all meals. When she’s not dreaming of cheesecake, she can be found in the dance studio, working on craft projects, or curled up with a good book.