Some call it deconstruction, others call it madness. Whatever you want to call it, Archipelago Brewery’s introduction of their own line of beer makes them a pioneer in Singapore ’s beer industry. Backed by the mega branding of Asia Pacific Breweries, Tiger is not the only one having a rip roaring good time marking its territory in the bellies of beer drinkers.

Essentially basing their brewery on fusing an Asian flavour to the all-familiar, the unique line that consists of Traveller’s Wheat, Trader’s Ale and Strait’s Pale, adds a dash of Asian hotness to the popular activity of beer drinking. Cultivating a culture of beer appreciation, these beers come complete with food suggestions to go along with the beer, in the menu.

Traveller’s Wheat, made of tamarind ( Assam), ginger and dashes of lemon grass and Chinese orange peel, is refreshingly light and goes down smoother than most beers. Pairing it with spicy food such as Thai Mussels, will further accentuate the spicy undertones of this devil’s brew. Trader’s Ale, however, has a very acquired taste to it, with a powerful taste of ginger hitting your tonsils upon consumption. However, the unique addition of Gula Melaka (or sugar made with coconuts) gives it an almost- sweet after taste. When downed with roasted food such as the Suckling Pig offered in the menu, the drink’s bitterness is masked and slowly dissolved. And last but not least, the Straits Pale will probably be a ladies’ favourite. Non-drinkers of this liquid lifestyle will be pleasantly surprised. The smooth blend is really crisp and ‘clean’ in sensation, tearing away from the norm of beer being just too gassy for most stomachs to take. However, it’s quite a shame that the beers fall flat fast. But we doubt you will have a problem racing against time for this one.

Being the only distributor of this brand that goes back in time, the 2-month pub at Circular Road is dashingly decorated with a mix-match of almost colonial and navigational appeal. With random oil lamps sporadically placed against the bare brick walls, the place stands out majestically amidst the row of shop houses and smaller pubs that line up the stretch behind Boat Quay. Music is kept mellow, to further add on to the ambience of this chill-out joint. The bar is lit with yellow bulbs, to play off against the shiny castings of the taps, which sits predominantly on it. Not surprisingly, the pub is popular with the after-office crowd, and it does build up fast. Occupying both the lounge chairs outside and the stools inside, the crowd is lively, though classy enough not to border on rowdy.

Along with that, the service staff is highly attentive. Guests are invited politely to try the different beers at sample sizes before deciding on which ones they want. And the food menu will look like a nightmare for most pubs. With options of Chicken Masala and Lamb Curry, in a place conventionally for liquor heaven, most will pre-judge that the bar is just inviting trouble. However, once you have tried them with the suggested blends, be assured that these people know what they’re doing. Inspired and researched by a specific brew master, the food seeks to complement.

At its core, beer drinking started out as an activity of the West. Having been previously greatly monopolised by Western imports, the introduction of Archipelago into this over saturated and highly profitable market, means that Singaporeans have another reason to celebrate. It’s all about marrying what we know and what we have heard of, to create a concoction that is uniquely Singapore.

Written by:
Aslinda Khanafi