What No prizes for guessing on which floor this bar and restaurant is perched. Billed as the world’s highest microbrewery, LeVeL33 gloriously overlooks the Marina Bay, and, thanks to the decor and service, is perhaps the most sophisticated place to quaff a locally brewed beer.
On tap Five brews are permanently on the menu: an IPA, stout, wheat beer, house porter and blonde lager. They bear classic flavour profiles – the brewery claims to use ‘authentic recipes and brewing methods’ – so don’t expect funky American-style notes. Every quarter, LeVeL33 also pours out a seasonal beer, like a chestnut beer for Christmas and a pumpkin ale for Halloween.
On plates Here’s where LeVeL33 stands out from the pack. The food here, courtesy of chef James Tegerdine, is far from your greasy wings and fries. Think Miyazaki wagyu, corn-fed poulet, kangaroo loin and other modern, upmarket plates. And all the dishes come with recommended pairings, too.
Meet the brewer Check out our interview with LeVeL33’s brewmaster, Gabriel Garcia.
What Four vats dominate this industrial-cool shophouse space – there’s a second storey you can book out for parties – that opened in 2014. It can get shoulder-to-shoulder tight, so either come early or make a reservation.
On tap Four proprietary microbrews ($7/half-pint, $15/pint) are on constant rotation: The Blk 6.22, a dark ale and our favourite of the lot; The Yellow Van, a pale ale; The Manuka Stout, a honeyed stout; Small Monster, an IPA; and The General, which isn’t so much a beer as it is a ginger-flavoured shandy. Besides those, the bar also has craft beer the likes of Fresh Squeezed IPA, Fourpure Pale Ale and Hitachino Nest Pale Ale on tap.
On plates The menu checks all the café-standard boxes: burgers, pizzas, pastas and grilled meats. Our smoked duck pizza ($18) has a thin crust halfway between Timbre’s and Skinny Pizza’s, while our pulled pork burger ($18) is a decent, juicy effort that you’ll probably end up scarfing down anyway, like we did.
Meet the brewer Yeo King Joey, with more than ten years of experience in home brewing, is responsible for the pours. The 52-year-old is an aeronautical engineer by day, but checks in on the brews every evening.
What Hospoda started brewing in January this year, with Czech-style beers its calling card. But the fact that beer is brewed in and issued from a space the size of a walk-in closet will send you into a tizzy even before lips touch pint glass.
On tap Just two: a dark lager and a pilsner ($10-$12/half-pint, $14-$16/pint). Hospoda also pours out a third beer called the Bohemian Mix, which is equal parts of the dark lager and pilsner. We recommend the latter – it’s full-bodied and robust yet still crisp enough for a warm night on Hospoda’s outdoor-only seating area.
On plates Your standard-issue menu of bar bites, such as sausages ($12), burgers ($12), spicy wings ($8) and fries ($6). To be frank, the food seems to be an after-thought.
Meet the brewer The age-old tale of banker-turned-tinker/tailor/soldier/spy rings true in Hospoda’s case. Darryl Chuan is only 26, and left a career in private equity to learn how to brew Czech-style beer. A few months later, Chuan transformed what had initially been a hobby into a full-fledged business – and you can taste the fruits of his labour right here.
On tap The draft beer list – Little Island also serves craft cider – is on constant rotation, with the brewery frequently concocting new brews. A Whiter Shade of Pale Ale is light enough to offer respite from the non-air-conditioned space, while the Black Magic Dry Irish Stout is a creamy, smooth and full-bodied beverage. And the prices are cut-rate, too. Thanks to Little Island’s pour-it-yourself system, you’ll only pay about $2 to $3 for 100 mililitres of happy juice.
On plates Weekend brunch is also where Little Island excels. From noon to 2.30pm, chow down on dishes like fish and chips, full English breakfasts and eggs Benedict for just 15 bucks each. We say go for the brisket sandwich (also $15), stuffed with slabs of beef made tender from languishing in the smoker for 15 hours.
Meet the brewer Steve Spinney is the brains behind the vats. The English brewmaster is best known for setting up the now-defunct Storm Beer brewery in Bali, and he’s responsible for Little Island’s intensely tasty beverages.
What The clubby and touristy vibes of Clarke Quay might not seem ideal for a microbrewery, but The Pump Room’s ten years of existence will prove all you naysayers wrong. Granted, you’ll have to muscle your way through crowds and particularly daft servers, but the beer at the end of it is worth the hassle. If you’d rather avoid that area, the bar has an outlet in Great World City, too.
On tap Thanks to massive 3,000-litre tanks, five beers ($10.50-$16.50) are available all year round and poured straight from those vats. The Pump Room Lager is the best-seller, and it’s easy to see why: it’s the most approachable drink on this list. Our favourite, however, has to be the Golden Ale, a fruity, summery brew that bursts with subtle raisin notes.
On the menu We hate to say this, but avoid the food – everything from Tomahawk steaks ($108) to duck confit ($32) – at all costs. It’s simply not worth the pretty penny.
Meet the brewer Hayman Tin has been brewing at The Pump Room for seven years now, and he prides himself on brewing traditional beer ‘to style’ – which means to say, an ale’s an ale, and wolfberries should be saved for soups and TCM elixirs. That said, Tin puts out a more experimental brew once every three to four months, and it’s called, simply, the Brewmaster’s Reserve.