Let’s get the basics out of the way: this is a no-frills craft beer bar along Haji Lane that’s dark, dingy and about the size of a janitor’s storeroom. On typical nights, you’ll have eight beers on draft with which to acquaint yourself. Curiously, most suds are only sold by the pint ($15-$18), with half pours only available, according to the beer-tender, for brews ‘with high ABV’. Bottled beers ($12-$18) include labels like Yeastie Boys, 8 Wired Brewing, Founders Brewing, Orval and Anderson Valley that, given Singapore’s taking to craft beer, won’t sound too exotic to the experienced guzzler.
Opened in 2012 when imported beers were an expensive bar-side drink, Thirsty laid down new conventions with its range of bottled beers at prices mainly hovering between $7 to $12. From its first stand in Liang Court, Thirsty has sprouted more retail nooks in Holland Village Shopping Centre, myVillage in Serangoon Gardens, and Katong Shopping Centre. Thirsty encourages takeaways by the six-pack, with bulk discounts sweetening the deal. The selection has an American slant, but there are also beers to water any occasion, quiet or loud.
This stall in Pasarbella is doing its part to show the food-obsessed how beer, too, can be an artisanal product. Among the more craft-serious beers on offer are the iconoclastic brews by Danish gypsy breweries Mikkeller, To Øl and Amager, funky Belgians, and Prairie Artisan Ales from Oklahoma. Four taps deploy craft drafts on the occasional Friday, and for lighter drinkers, there are the friendly Crabbie’s Ginger Beers, fruit lambics and sweet Belgians.
Co-owner Goh P is a dedicated hop head who has inked an exclusive partnership with British brewery Moor and Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula to serve their beers on tap here. On the last Saturday of each month, Goh’s quaint hand-pump (traditionally found in pubs in the UK, and probably the first we’ve publicly spotted here) pulls deep orange pints of Moor’s Hoppiness IPA ($12/half pint; $18/full pint). But be warned: these, along with the Mikkeller and To Øl bottled beers ($12-$38), aren’t beers you’d chug down like your kopitiam cold ones.
Aside from burgers and thick milkshakes, Burger Joint also has a pretty amazing bourbon selection ($12-$90/shot) and 18 beers on tap to pick from. The tap list ($9-11/half pint, $15-$19/ pint) at launch time is thoroughly impressive, pouring esoteric hopbomb IPAs, sour-salty goses and heavy stouts.
With 15 beers on tap, Nickeldime Drafthouse features a beer list with moxie. Taps with saisons and Berliner Weisse, high-alcohol imperial IPAs and heavy porters cater to both eclectic drinkers and the intrepid but unacquainted. The beers are kept in tip-top condition in a cold room – and you pay for freshness, with 355-millilitre pours going for $12 to $16. Nickeldime also incorporates the malty stuff into its food, though it’s not always with great success. Still, the beer crust pizzas ($18) and stout-braised beef ragout ($13) are hearty picks.
Corrine Chia and Lincoln Goh – the folks behind local distribution outfit The Drinking Partners and tap bar Druggists – have set up the city’s first licensed Mikkeller spot, located at Deck. Between two 40-foot containers, a total of 20 taps pour brews exclusive from the mothership. Three house brews – the Bugis Brown, Prinsep Pilsner and Waterloo Wit – are the only constants on a beer list that covers Mikkel Borg Bjergsø’s own creations and special imports from his illustrious brewer friends.
JiBiru, with its popular flagship Hitachino Nest beers, pulls in a regular 20-something and Japanese expat crowd into an outdoor bar. People-watching with a beer is quite the thing to do here. Pair the bustle with a dominantly Japanese range of beers, which are generally sweeter than their British and American counterparts and make for a suitable thirst-quencher between hopping through malls. The pared-down food menu serves casual izakaya favourites like katsu curry rice and yakitori skewers.