I was spoiled for craft-beer choice in North Brooklyn, where I could walk a block to fill my growler with fancy award-winning beers from the likes of Evil Twin or Brooklyn Brewery at Beer Street, or hop on my bike for a pleasant ten-minute ride over into Greenpoint for tastings at Brouwerij Lane, to this day still my favorite beer bar in the world. Any bar and most restaurants in the neighborhood worth their salt have at least a few microbrews on tap; even shitty delis and grocery stores have craft beer for sale at reasonable to semi-reasonable prices. Brooklyn Brewery is just down the street; it’s beer-nerd heaven.
In Singapore? Somewhat of a different story. You have to look for it — and you better be ready to pay for it when you find it. Things are rapidly changing here, though, with over 10 microbreweries and brew pubs now open for business and over 200 different craft beers available at specialty shops, bars and restaurants around the island. Beer delivery services like Mabuk Monkey and The Beer Cellar bring craft beers to your door. The good people of The Good Beer Company have even introduced a fantastic selection of microbrews to the sprawling Chinatown Complex Market and Food Centre, the first stand at any hawker center on the island to offer much more than your average, everyday swill.. ahem, I mean Tiger, Carlsberg and Barron’s. I’ll be writing much more about this developing scene and its key players in greater detail in the coming months.
Significantly, October 22 – 28, 2012, also marked the debut of Singapore Craft Beer Week, the first of its kind not only in Singapore but anywhere in Southeast Asia. Festivities kicked off on Monday with a lively gathering of craft-beer enthusiasts over free flows of excellent brews from island mainstay Brewerkz, and has continued with special food-and-beer pairings, tastings, deals and brewery tours. The reception has been fantastic, and I’m personally looking forward to Saturday’s Hitachino Nest Tap Takeover at Somerset’s (awesome) JiBiru Japanese Craft Beer Bar, where Kiuchi Brewery’s Youichi Kiuchi will be leading a tasting of four standout Hitachino ales. If you happen to be in Singapore this weekend, this is also a great time to make the odyssey out to Jungle Beer‘s brewery for a tour and tasting of this promising brewery’s developing brews.
It’s no Brooklyn, but give it some time: Singapore may be the new kid on the craft-beer block, but I think it has “the right stuff.” (Sorry, I had to.)
Singapore Craft Beer Week runs through Sunday, October 28. For more information and a full rundown of all the deals and remaining events, click here.