Written by: Jaii Fredregill
Visited: August 2018
There is no shortage of first-rate beer in Singapore. Craft beer is brewed all over the island and opinions on which brewery makes the best beer or microbrew never fail to incite lively debates. Connoisseurs from around the globe come together to share a cold one in the persistent tropical humidity that makes beer nearly as precious as water. Here are just a few of the most popular places for beer in Singapore.
Red Dot Brewhouse: Monster Green Pilsner, a Czech Pilsner infused with spirulina.
Red Dot is well known for its distinctive Monster Green Pilsner; a Czech Pilsner infused with spirulina. This easy-drinking beer is just one of several created by owner and brewer, Ernest Ng, whose Summer Ale, Kölsch, and standard Pilsner are equally light and refreshing. Red Dot Brewhouse prides itself on being Singapore’s first 100% locally owned microbrewery, with a name derived from “Little Red Dot,” a nickname given to Singapore whose location has historically been marked on maps by a simple red dot.
The original Red Dot Brewhouse is still in operation on Dempsey Road and a second shop is open and pouring in Boat Quay. Stop in for one of Mr. Ng’s staple brews or check out his seasonal offerings.
Original Location: 25A Dempsey Rd, #01-01
Riverfront Location: 33/34 Boat Quay, Singapore
Brewerkz taps at Riverside Point
Brewerkz has been brewing since 1997 and currently has four locations in Singapore and two in Indonesia. The Boat Quay location at Riverside Point is ideal for enjoying a beer next to the water as the passenger boats move up and down the river.
Brewerkz offers a four beer sampler (125 ml each) for SGD 14 / USD 10
The Cask IPA and Golden Ale are my go-to beers here, and the newly introduced Double IPA has also won me over with its bitter, hoppy harmony. I think the Honey Apricot Ale has a light subtle apricot finish and I hope someday Brewerkz will use it to create a sour. You can purchase 5-liter mini kegs and 30-liter party kegs online or in stores but reserve in advance to ensure they are available.
Boat Quay: 30 Merchant Road, 01-05/06 Riverside Point
Check website for more locations.
Allen at Little Island Brewing pours a sample to demonstrate the self-pour tap system.
You can find Little Island Brewing Company just behind the Changi Village Hawker. It may seem like a bit of a trek for travelers staying near the CBD (Central Business Centre), but in my opinion, this is some of the best beer in Singapore, and the brewery is right on the beach. Who doesn’t want to visit a brewery on the beach? The staff is helpful and well-informed about the beer and will provide you with a few tasters if you ask.
The taps are self-pour and charged by the milliliter to a prepaid card that can be purchased at the brewery. This allows you to pour and drink as much or as little as you like. Little Island’s pilot beer, Old King Kolsch, is crisp and bright and pairs well with the brewery's fish and chips. Other favorites include Ruby Tuesday Red Ale with a mellow balance of fruit and hops, and the Sister Golden Ale, which has the perfect amount of upfront bitterness that doesn’t linger too long.
6 Changi Village Rd, #01-01/02
3rd Culture at Maxwell Street, #01-33
It is rumored that 3rd Culture will one day brew their own beer, but for now you can enjoy their rotating taps at either the Maxwell Food Centre, just a 2-minute walk from Chinatown, or on the east coast at the Old Airport Road Food Centre. The craft beer selection usually hales from Asia and the UK, and I particularly recommend anything from Hong Kong’s Young Master brewery if it is available.
Both hawker locations have excellent food options that go down even better with beer. What’s here today may be gone tomorrow at 3rd Culture, so be sure to take note of what you like. Most craft brews sold by 3rd Culture go for SGD 10 / USD 7.50.
Maxwell Food Centre - 1 Kadayanallur Street, Unit No. 01-33
Old Airport Food Centre, 51 Old Airport Road, #01-144
Visit 3rd Culture on Facebook
The best thing about the Tiger brewery is the tour which includes a 45-minute beer tasting of everything brewed and distributed by Tiger. Pints at the brewery pub are also affordable compared to most you will find around Singapore. If you are not familiar with Tiger beer, you will be by the time you leave the brewery.
The original namesake lager is magically restorative in hot weather and has won acclaim and awards all over the world. Radler fans should not miss the opportunity to try those produced by Tiger, notably the grapefruit. For me, they are a little sweet, but perfect with a squeeze of lime, and nearly harmless at 2% ABV. Visit the APB website for a full list of beers and ciders.
Tiger Brewery Tasting Bar
Read about Tiger’s work with the World Wide Fund for Nature to increase the tiger population that has shrunk by 96% over the past 100-years.
459 Jln Ahmad Ibrahim, Singapore
Grab a cold one at Smith Street Taps
The consistently excellent selection of rotating ice-cold beers at Smith Street is always worth checking out when in Chinatown. Smith Street is on the 2nd floor of the not-so-clean Chinatown Complex hawker at the corner of Trengganu Street and Smith Street. The Good Beer Company, which is under the same ownership, is just a few stalls down and offers imported craft beers by the bottle.
335 Smith Street #02-062, Chinatown Complex
Visit Smith Street Taps on Facebook
Yellow Van Pale Ale at 1925
Brewing since 2014, The 1925 is owned by brothers Ivan and Eng Kuang and their brewmaster uncle, Yeo King Joey. Their line up consists of five beers Yellow Van Pale Ale, Small Monster IPA, Blk 622, Manuka Stout, and The General, a double boiled ginger beer. All beers are offered on tap upon availability at 1925's new location in the Katong neighborhood. The Yellow Van Pale Ale is a classic pale ale and my current favorite, with a perfect balance between hops and malt.
As a smaller brewer, The 1925 has expanded their offerings to include other local brews and a food menu designed to pair well with beer. It is a nice space on Joo Chiat Road to hang out with friends and enjoy life. Be sure to stop by this cozy, family-owned microbrewery.
261 Joo Chiat Road
Hospoda makes beer not war
Hospoda means "pub" in Czech, so it is no surprise that this microbrewery focuses on Czech-style beer. Able to brew only on a small-scale, this humble brewer has found what they do best and stuck to it, making just two types of beers, Bohemian Pilsner and Bohemian Dark Lager. Those looking to expand their experience can order the Czech Mix, a 50/50 blend of the two.
180 Albert St #01-19 Singapore 189971 Albert Street
Visit Hospoda on Facebook
The list of breweries in Singapore is too extensive for just one post so I will stop here - for now...