THE GREAT EX­PER­I­MENT

Craft beer is eas­ily the most ex­cit­ing bev­er­age you can ex­pose your senses to.

The Peak (Singapore) - - Contents - TEXT CHARMIAN LEONG PHO­TOG­RA­PHY VERONICA TAY ART DI­REC­TION CHELZA POK

Ex­plore the ar­ti­sanal and cre­ative twists to the oft-un­der­stated beer.

Beer has al­ways been un­der­rated in the world of fine al­co­hol. Wine and spir­its, with their long production pro­cesses and even longer sto­ries, dom­i­nate the lux­ury mar­ket, while beer – which most peo­ple tend to as­so­ciate with col­lege stu­dents and cof­fee-shop un­cles – is, at best, a filler tip­ple.

And then came the craft-beer rev­o­lu­tion. By the mid-noughties, beer gi­ants who gave us crowd-pleas­ing yet slightly in­sipid brews were now in com­pe­ti­tion with in­de­pen­dent, small-batch brew­ers who were boldly re­defin­ing beer mak­ing.

Now, there are beers with a whole larder’s worth of in­gre­di­ents in them, beers with so much hops (the flow­ers that give beer its bit­ter taste) that de­mand for them is ac­tu­ally caus­ing a world­wide hops short­age, and even beers that have been aged as long as wine.

“Since the dawn of the In­ter­net, the move­ment of in­di­vid­u­al­ism has gained ground in ev­ery as­pect of so­ci­ety, and craft beer is a per­fect av­enue to cel­e­brate unique­ness,” says Yeo King Joey, brew­mas­ter of The 1925 Brew­ing Co. “Craft beer has be­come a more emo­tional pur­chase than any other F&B prod­uct, and brew­ers now achieve al­most celebrity sta­tus sim­ply be­cause their prod­ucts find col­lec­tive favour among peo­ple.”

Craft beer is also much more ver­sa­tile as an ac­com­pa­ni­ment to food, since al­most ev­ery beer flavour can be made avail­able. Mi­cro­brew­eries like The 1925 Brew­ing Co, Level33 and Tawan­dang Mi­cro­brew­ery place just as much fo­cus on their food menu as they do their beer menu, of­ten with pair­ing sug­ges­tions.

But with the mind-bog­gling se­lec­tion out there, where does one start? “It can be a lit­tle daunt­ing, but there are re­ally just five to seven base styles that you can start be­com­ing fa­mil­iar with. And then, with trial and er­ror, you be­gin to un­der­stand what your palate prefers,” ad­vises Jos Ruf­fell of New Zealand mi­cro­brew­ery Garage Project. “But it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that your tastes will de­velop and evolve. On top of that, beer is con­stantly chang­ing as we con­tinue to push new bound­aries, so there will be an end­less stream of new beers to try.”

And that is, ul­ti­mately, the beauty of craft beer: Its jour­ney and the bound­less possibilities. It’s a com­mu­nity of rene­gades who refuse to play by the old rules. There is no beer too weird for some­one to craft, so if your dream brew doesn’t ex­ist yet, trust that it will.

VA­RI­ETY FINDS FAVOUR Bou­tique brew­eries such as The 1925 Brew­ing Co are amass­ing fans who ap­pre­ci­ate the unique taste of their bev­er­ages.

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