The Great Singapore Craft Beer Crawl

Bars & Clubs | Written By, NOW!Singapore | December 26th, 2014

The Great Singapore Craft Beer Crawl

by Brian Spencer

 

You might not expect to find Singapore’s most unique craft beer bar in a grungy Chinatown hawker centre; nor would you look to a skyscraper for one of its best microbrewery experiences. It takes some digging to uncover the island’s best places for a high quality pint, but we’ve done the legwork for you and rounded up 10 ideal stops for a proper Singapore craft-beer crawl.

Smith Street Taps

Have your hawker fare and drink it too at Smith Street Taps, Singapore’s first (and still best) hawker stall exclusively serving craft on draft. Distinguished by a string of wood- framed chalkboard menus dangling below its signboard, this joint venture between two local beer barons has deservedly been a smash success since the day it opened in late January. Prices are reasonable (particularly for Singapore), and the variety of beers poured from the stall’s eight taps is consistently one of the most interesting in town. Plus, there are more than 100 food hawkers in this mazelike complex—ask the stall-keep for pairing suggestions with your pint. 335 Smith St., #02-62, Chinatown Complex Food Centre, ph. +65 9430 2750

 

RedDot BrewHouse

Though RedDot BrewHouse’s Boat Quay branch is more accessible, take a short taxi ride to RedDot’s prettier, more atmospheric outlet at leafy Dempsey Hill, where buzzy bars and restaurants now inhabit former British army barracks. Founded by Singaporean brewmaster Ernest Ng, RedDot has more than 10 of its signature and seasonal brews on tap, and offers pizzas, pastas, and burgers to soak up the booze. RedDot’s malt-forward Monster Lager is quite the conversation piece: Its shockadelic-green colour is purportedly all-natural due to spirulina used during the brewing process, but we’re not entirely convinced on this point. It tastes great either way.
25A Dempsey Rd., #01-01, ph. +65 6475 0500, www.reddotbrewhouse.com.sg

 

Taphouse by Brewerkz

Just up the hill from RedDot BrewHouse, Taphouse by Brewerkz is a laid-back sports bar with a romantic outdoor patio embellished by palms and twinkle lights. A rotating list of three signature and three seasonal brews from this Singaporean microbrewery is on draft, while there is also a selection of American and European craft bottles. Note that Brewerkz employs a tiered pricing system at each of its four outlets: Beers are cheapest from 12pm – 3pm (SGD$6 – $8), and most expensive from 7pm to close ($10 – $14).18E Dempsey Rd., ph. +65 6438 2311, www.brewerkz.com

 

JiBiru Japanese Craft Beer Bar

At this cheerful izakaya, located just off Orchard Road in 313@Somerset’s pleasant backdoor courtyard, the island’s finest selection of Japanese craft brews complement a simple but satisfying food menu highlighted by yakitori, curries, and other Japanese bar snacks. Four of JiBiru’s five taps are often earmarked for Hitachino Nest beers from award-winning Kiuchi Brewery, while the well-chosen (though pricey) bottle list includes picks from such breweries as Tamamura Honten and Yo-Ho Brewing Co. 313 Orchard Rd., #01-26, 313@Somerset, ph. +65 6732 6884, www.jibiru.com

 

LeVeL33

Panoramic bird’s eye views of Marina Bay Sands, and all of its architectural eye candy, is the main draw of sky-high LeVeL33, billed as the “world’s highest urban craft brewery.” Upon exiting this bar and restaurant’s private elevator on the 33rd floor, move past the row of active fermentation tanks and scramble for a spot at one of the few cocktail tables on LeVeL33’s outdoor deck – one glance at the surrounding scenery and you’ll quickly realize why this space fills up so fast during the early evening. Of the five house-brewed beers, we recommend the Blond Lager and the roasty House Porter; seasonal brews are always worth a try too.8 Marina Blvd., #33-01, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1, +65 6834 3133, level33.com.sg

 

The Cider Pit

Of the many reasons to visit Joo Chiat – excellent Vietnamese restaurants, cute bakeries, gorgeous restored shop-houses – this no-frills British pub is certainly among them. Run by a British expat and his Chinese wife, The Cider Pit specializes in bottled and draft cider, from deliciously rank scrumpies to varietals flavoured with strawberries, ginger, and other fruits; more than 100 imported bottles, mostly from the UK, round out the beer menu. Pints start at just $10.328 Joo Chiat Rd., #01-03,
ph. +65 6440 0504

 

Smokey’s BBQ

A stone’s throw from The Cider Pit, Smokey’s BBQ serves Singapore’s tastiest, most authentic American-style barbecue. The pulled pork and smoked salmon sandwiches are highly recommended, and this casual eatery gets packed on Wednesdays for all-day specials that include $1 chicken wings and happy hour prices on beers all night long. Locally brewed beers from Archipelago Brewery are on draft, and American microbreweries like Rogue Ales, Stone Brewing Co., and Deschutes Brewery fill the exceptional bottle menu.70 Joo Chiat Pl., ph. +65 6345 6914, www.smokeysbbq.com.sg

 

Oosters Belgian Brasserie

It’s all about the Belgians at this popular CBD mainstay, where a praiseworthy variety of Trappist ales and abbey beers highlight a Belgian-heavy beer menu that also includes a handful of imports from Australia, Japan and the UK. Big buckets of fresh mussels and baskets of traditional frites served with mayonnaise are by far the most popular plates, and we like that many of the entrée recipes include beer; the lamb shank, for example, is braised in St. Bernardus Abt 12.25 Church St., #01-04, Capital Square Three, ph. +65 6438 3210, www.oosters.com.sg

 

Beer Is Food

Tucked away on the bottom floor of the wonderfully rough-and-tumble Golden Mile Food Centre, Beer Is Food stocks more than 50 craft bottles from the likes of BrewDog, Rogue Ales, Mikkeller and Evil Twin Brewing; an easy-drinking hefeweizen from Bavarian brewery Weihenstephaner is often on draft for around $10 a pint. While you’re there, be sure to stop by the Haji Kadir & M Baharudeen stall, where you can slurp the bone marrow from a gloriously sloppy mess of sup tulang (mutton bone marrow soup) with a plastic straw.
505 Beach Rd., B1-55, Golden Mile Food Centre,
ph. +65 9734 0508

 

Blue Bali Brewhaus

Singapore’s most off-the-beaten-path brewery is also its most adventurous. Overseen by German brewmaster Richard Wellershoff, and part of the serene, sprawling Indonesian restaurant Blue Bali, this tiny nano-brewery annually cranks out scores of limited-quantity beers, brewed with tropical ingredients like dragon fruit, Thai basil and salak. Each 120-litre brew is so limited that some beers run dry in just a few days. The easiest way to get here is by taxi (this is strongly recommended), but you can also take the MRT Circle Line to Botanic Gardens — it’s about a 20-minute walk from the station.One D Cluny Rd., ph. +65 6733 0185, www.bluebali.sg

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