Singapore Craft Beer Bars Mapped and Reviewed
It wasn’t that long ago when craft beer was an alien concept to this part of the world. My first Singapore craft beer event was a small fair in a function room in 2011. There were just a few distributors showcasing beers that I hadn’t tasted before, from India Pale Ales (IPAs) to Trappist beers.
Since then, the scene has grown massively. While it remains a small community that won’t make the commercial beer giants lose sleep any time soon, it’s spawned a festival and a homebrewing showcase. There have also been new craft beer bars, local microbreweries and imports practically every month. It’s expensive to keep up, so I decided to create something useful from this pastime.
Instead of a post that highlights a few bars, here’s a survey of the best Singapore craft beer spots that I have visited, grouped according to location. I left out the restaurants and cafes that stock a few bottles and focused on those places that specialise in craft beer. To skip the introduction for newcomers and go straight to the list, click here.
What is craft beer in Singapore?
Generally, we think of craft beer as the alternative to mass market beer like Budweiser, Tiger and Heineken. However, defining it is a lot trickier:
- Is it better in quality? There are some poorly-executed examples out there.
- Is it produced in limited quantities? Some breweries that started out as “craft” produce millions of barrels today.
- Is it produced using traditional methods? There are breweries that have been doing this for centuries in Europe, and others are using advancements like hop extracts and enzymes to produce new styles.
- Is it made by independent breweries? Macro breweries have bought over craft breweries (e.g. Ballast Point and Little Creatures) and started creating new lines (Archipelago and Blue Moon come to mind).
I’ll leave the definition to someone who’s better qualified.
Styles of beer
At almost all of the bars I’ve visited, you’ll face a selection of the following general beer styles:
- Lager: A beer that is bottom-fermented (i.e. the yeast sinks when it’s done) at cold temperatures. Pilsner is a Czech variant of this style.
- Ale: A beer that is top-fermented at somewhat warmer temperatures. There are many different types, but pale ales and their hoppier IPA cousins are among the most popular styles. ‘Pale’ just refers to the type of malt used. These tend to be fruitier in flavour even before the addition of hops or flavour and aroma.
- Wheat beer, Hefeweizen/Weißbier and Witbier: An ale that’s made with a good chunk of wheat in addition to the malted barley. You may get banana and clove-like aromas.
- Sour: The action of lactobacillus bacteria during fermentation gives the ale a sour flavour. Berliner Weiße and Gose are German wheat ales that have gone through this, and the latter has a touch of salt added to it. In lambic beers, wild yeast also produces strong, funky flavours.
- Saison: A style of ale that originated in Wallonia. It tends to be floral and spicy.
- Stout and porter: Top-fermented ales brewed with heavily-roasted malts, like Guinness. They tend to taste and smell like chocolate or coffee. Sometimes, the brewer adds lactose to give it sweetness and a creamier body, making a milk stout.
- Cider and mead: Fermented apple juice and honey respectively. Rarely flavoured with hops unless otherwise stated.
A few other terms you might encounter are:
- Hops: the flower cones of hop vines are used to give beers aromas and flavours to balance the sweetness of the malt. Popular varieties include Saaz (which makes lagers spicy and floral), Citra (citrus-like aroma and flavour), Mosaic (pungent tropical mango and berries), Galaxy (passion fruit) and Nelson Sauvin (white wine).
- Dry-hopped: The hops are steeped in the beer after it has been boiled and cooled, extracting the flavours in a gentler manner and reducing the bitterness.
- Malt: Barley that is activated by warming and soaking. The process reduces the starches in the grain to fermentable sugars. Roasting stops the process and the malt is boiled to extract the sugars.
- Adjuncts are other types of grains other than malted barley. Sometimes, they’re used to cut costs (corn and rice in mass market beer), but they may also be used to impart different flavours (rye and wheat) or add body (oats).
- Session beers tend to be lighter in body and alcohol content (less than 5.0%) to make it easier to drink large quantities continuously.
- On the other hand, imperial stouts and IPAs are stronger than their regular counterparts.
- Trappist beer: Beer brewed by Cistercian monks to support their way of life. Derived from the name of La Trappe Abbey. There are currently 12 beer-producing Trappist monasteries in Belgium, the Netherlands Austria, Italy, England and the United States. The beers tend to be strong and sweet ales.
- As with wines and spirits, stronger beers may be aged to produce more complex flavours. Oak barrels may impart vanilla notes like in whiskies.
Singapore craft breweries
If you want to find beers from Singapore to introduce to your guests from abroad, look for these names at the bars and restaurants around the island:
- The 1925
- Daryl’s Urban Ales
- Pink Blossoms
- Rye & Pint
- That Singapore Beer Project
- Trouble Brewing
You should also try these meaderies:
- Lion City Meadery
- Rachelle the Rabbit
Singapore craft beer bars by region
Unlike other writers, I have chosen not to recommend any particular beer from each outlet. At best, I can only provide a sense of what they tend to offer. Outside of the breweries, the selections rotate all the time, so you may not find something I rave about when you drop by. Instead, take the opportunity to ask for samples. Talk to the staff about your preferences and pre-conceived notions and let them surprise you. Alternatively, you can also check the ratings and tasting notes that other people have left on apps such as Untappd.
Warning: This being Singapore, craft beer appreciation is an expensive hobby. Also, please don’t drink and drive. That’s the only thing in this post you should take as gospel.
Singapore Chinatown craft beer bars
3rd Culture Brewing Co.
1 Kadayanallur Street, Maxwell Food Centre Stall 33
Mon – Thu: 5.30 – 10.30 p.m.; Fri: 12 – 11.30 p.m.; Sat: 12 – 8.30 p.m.; Sun 12 – 9.30 p.m.
3rd Culture are not (yet) a brewery but they serve draft craft beers at some of the lowest prices on this list. They get kegs from everyone, including the local microbrewers like Brewlander and Daryl’s Urban Ales. Beer comes only in 13 oz plastic cups. Once in a while, they hold takeovers where you can preorder drinks at discounted prices – follow their Facebook and Peatix accounts to stay updated. While they don’t sell food, when you’re in one of the best-known hawker centres in Singapore, there’s infinitely more choice.
115 Amoy Street, #01-03
Mon – Wed: 11.30 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Thu – Sat: 11.30 a.m. – 12 a.m.; Sun 11.30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
To find the entrance, look out for a neon burger sign on the back alley closer to Gemmill Lane. Besides the famous (and pricey) burgers from New York, there are 18 taps of craft beer. Expect half- and full pints of Stone, Shiga Kogen plus beers you won’t find anywhere else in Singapore like Hair of the Dog and The Bruery. It can be extreme sometimes when the menu is dominated by stronger imperial IPAs and stouts with prices to match (plus GST and service charge). Still good fun if your wallet allows you to try something very different.
21A Boon Tat Street
Mon – Sat: 5 p.m. – 12 a.m. (Opens at 3 p.m. on Fri)
Freehouse is on the second floor of a shophouse (stairs only) that’s a stone’s throw from Lau Pa Sat. It’s a reliable place to find a few beers from New Zealand and Australia, and they almost always have a cider on one of the 16 taps. Beer is served in 10-oz middies, 16-oz pints and flights of four 5-oz glasses. There’s also a selection of cans and bottles in the fridge, plus wine, spirits and fusion pub grub (think cereal fried frog legs, fries with ssamjang and Indian-inspired burgers).
55 Keong Saik Road, #01-01
Wed – Sun: 6 p.m. – 12 a.m.
A venture between Young Master Ales of Hong Kong and chef Vinnie Laurier. There are serious restaurant-style dishes on The Guild’s menu that make use of locally-sourced seafood and vegetables. At least half of the taps are dedicated to Young Master’s beers, and you’ll get some that won’t appear elsewhere, e.g. Days of Being Wild. From the other taps flow Rogue ales, Garage Project, etc – and the house gin & tonic. Glasses are on the small side (200, 330 and 450 ml) so prices will seem a touch steep, especially with GST and service charge.
Little Creatures Brewing
36 Club Street
Open daily: 8 a.m. – 12 a.m.
The Fremantle brewery that kickstarted the craft revolution Down Under set up shop in 2018. Favourites like the fruity Bright Ale, citrusy Pale Ale and malty Rogers Beer are brewed on-site. Food is sold throughout the day, which is cool for those who need the hair of the dog. Besides middies and schooners, you can also get your beer canned to take out.
13 Duxton Hill, #01-01
Mon – Sat: 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Sun: 1 – 11 p.m.
As the name implies, SG Taps features Singapore craft beers on draft almost exclusively. Crossroads, Brewlander, Red Dot and Rye & Pint flow from the 10 Merlion-shaped taps. The fridge is dominated by local breweries too, but there are options from Japan, Hong Kong and Vietnam too. The kitchen serves up Japanese food like donburi, ramen, oden and wafu pizza.
Smith Street Taps
335 Smith Street #02-062, Chinatown Complex
Tue – Thu: 6.30 – 10.30 p.m.; Fri: 5 – 11 p.m.; Sat: 2 – 10.30 p.m.
Most evenings, you’ll find beer geeks huddled around this stall in the corner of a dingy hawker centre. The chances of running into a visiting craft brewer here are pretty high as well. Eleven draft beers from around the world are available, along with a draft cider and bottles at the unit that Good Beer Company used to occupy. Be prepared to commit to full US pints (16 oz), there are no half-pints here, but the prices are decent for the quality.
Note that the market complex will close for renovations in March 2019 and a pop-up location is in the works.
Craft beer bars in Bugis and Marina Bay
The Alchemist Beer Lab
26 Beach Road, #B1-16
Mon – Thu: 4 p.m. – 1 a.m.; Fri, Sat: 4 p.m. – 2 a.m.
30 VICTORIA STREET, #01-06, CHIJMES
Open daily: 3 p.m. – 12 a.m.
261 Waterloo Street, #01-23
Open daily: 12 noon – 12 midnight
ATR boast an impressive 32 taps behind the bar. Glasses come in 7-oz tasters and 16-oz glasses, with some having an 11-oz option. Stone and Deschutes beers are a regular fixture but you’ll also find breweries from other countries. Besides these, full-sized meals, wines and spirits are also available. You can register as a member to get 2.5% back of your bill back and $20 to use on your birthday month.
119 Tyrwhitt Road
Mon – Thu: 4 p.m – 12 a.m.; Fri: 4 p.m. – 2 a.m.; Sat: 4 p.m. – 12.30 a.m.; Sun 2 – 10 p.m.
Set in an old terrace house that the Chinese Druggist Association used to occupy. With Mikkeller, To Øl, Lervig and more on the 24 taps, expect bold flavours. Serving sizes run a touch smaller than you’ll find elsewhere, though: small glasses are 200 ml and large ones just 420 ml. The food here can be described as Mod-Sin fusion bites.
9 Bras Basah Road, #01-05, Rendezvous Hotel
Open daily: 5 p.m. – 12 a.m.
You’ll find the bar in the covered courtyard of the Rendezvous Hotel. Half and full pints are available from the 12 taps, which feature beers and cider from all over and usually a Gosnell’s mead. You can get a proper dinner as well; beer is used in some of the recipes. I’d venture to say that the prices here are the lowest among the establishments that are not in hawker centres.
Good Luck Beerhouse
9 Haji Lane
Open daily: 12 noon – 12 midnight
Situated on Haji Lane, between Blu Jaz and the colourful Piedra Negra mural. You can get dim sum to go with one of the 12 beers on tap. Recently, these tend to feature local breweries like Brewlander, Daryl’s and That Singapore Beer Project. Prices are nett and rarely exceed $12 for a half-pint and $18 for a full pint.
8 Marina Boulevard, #33-01
Mon – Thu: 11.30 a.m. – 12 a.m.; Fri, Sat: 11.30 a.m. – 2 a.m.; Sun 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.
While LeVeL33 touts itself as the world’s highest urban craft brewery, the main attraction is not the beer but the view of Marina Bay. An outdoor seat usually comes with minimum spending of $50 per head on food and drinks, but I got away without it on a quiet weekday afternoon. The house beers are easy to drink and may be sampled in a flight of five, besides the usual half and full pours. Note that the porter is but a blend of their stout and IPA, not a unique brew.
7 Purvis Street
Tue – Sun: 4 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Take the stairs to reach Mikkeller’s local outpost. The 25 taps feature mostly the Danish brewery’s products – think IPAs, stouts and the Spontan series of lambics. There are also light bites such as meatballs and bottled beers like those that are sold at The Great Beer Experiment. This is also the usual meeting point for the monthly Mikkeller Running Club events – wear one of the T-shirts to enjoy a 200-ml glass of beer after the run.
30 Victoria Street, #01-31, CHIJMES
Open daily: 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Serves up Moa beers from Marlborough, New Zealand with wines and gastropub fare. You can also order kegs and bottles of their beer. The core range of ales is safe but the pilsner is a good introduction.
9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-01 Millenia Walk
Open daily: 12 p.m. – 1 a..m (2 a.m. on Fri, Sat)
The Bavarian microbrewery has been here since the mid-1990s. While they follow the Reinheitsgebot in the making of their beers, you might not know that they use the local tap water. There are just three beers to choose from: a light lager, a maltier dark lager and a Weissbier (500-ml serving only). In addition to these, there are seasonal beers like the Salvator (Lenten bock) and the Festbier. As you might expect, the menu features German cuisine extensively.
TAP Craft Beer Bar
1 Raffles Link, #01-02
Mon, Tue: 11.30 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Wed – Sat: 11.30 a.m. – 12 a.m.; Sun: 11.30 a.m. – 10.30 p.m.
The main selling point at TAP is the price of the beers; $8 for 12 oz and $10 for 16 oz, plus GST and service charge for both. The latter price also applies to their wines and you can also get flights. The 20 taps at each outlet heavily feature American breweries like Stone, Lost Coast and Coronado, with a few English, Australian and Vietnamese picks. Bar bites like wings, wedges, ribs and pasta are available, now that both outlets have full kitchens.
Orchard Road craft beer bars
181 Orchard Road, #11-03, Orchard Central
Sun – Thu: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Fri, Sat: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
1 Tanglin Road, #01-02, Orchard Rendezvous Hotel
Sun – Thu: 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Fri, Sat, eve of holidays: 12 p.m. – 1 a.m.
The Great Beer Experiment
501 Orchard Road, #02-01A Wheelock Place
Open daily: 12 – 9 p.m.
The sister outlet to Druggists moved to the Orchard Road belt in 2018. Sells mostly bottles of Mikkeller (and their merchandise), To Øl, Pannepot, Orval and other Trappist beers from a stand, but they also have a couple of taps for local Rye & Pint beers. No other food here but there are seats. In addition, they have an online store.
178 Clemenceau Avenue, #B1-00 Haw Par Glass Tower
Mon – Thu: 11:30 a.m. – 12 a.m.; Fri: 11:30 a.m.- 2 a.m.; Sat: 5 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Hopheads draws a young crowd to its parties and there’s the option of playing beer pong and darts in the dark, ginormous space. Food takes the form of pasta, pizza, burgers and snacks, while pints of Stone, Deschutes and Young Master are often on tap.
313 Orchard Road, #01-26
Sun – Thu: 11.30 a.m. – 12 a.m.; Fri, Sat: 11.30 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Another of the early movers. Being Japanese-themed, one can order yakitori skewers with draft Hitachino Nest beers and sake. The 10 taps may also pour Fourpure, Brewdog and Sankt Gallen. Half pints, full pints and flights are served and there is an additional charge for the stronger beers.
Takumi Craft Beer Bar
333 Orchard Road, Level 5 lobby, Mandarin Orchard Hotel
Open daily: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
The air-conditioned sister outlet to Jibiru is in the lobby of the Mandarin Orchard Hotel across the road. All six taps are dedicated to Japanese craft beer labels like Hitachino Nest, Sankt Gallen, Shiga Kogen and Minoh. There’s more of the same in bottles as well. Whisky and other spirits from Bar on 5 may also be ordered here.
Craft beer bars in Clarke Quay and Boat Quay
30 Merchant Road, #01-05/06, Riverside Point
Open daily: 12 noon – 12 midnight (Fri, Sat, eve of holidays: 1 a.m.)
Started brewing their own beers decades before craft beer became a thing in Singapore. Bottles, growlers, kegs and pub grub are also available. The range includes six core beers, two seasonal specials and three guest taps. You can have them in anything from an 11-oz stem to a 4-litre tower to a flight of four 4-oz glasses. The TV screens show live sports channels so you don’t have to choose between watching football and good beer.
TAP Craft Beer Bar
86 Robertson Quay, #01-02
Mon, Tue: 4 – 11 p.m.; Wed – Fri: 4 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Sat: 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Sun 12 – 11 p.m.
What I wrote about the One Raffles Link outlet also applies.
81 Clemenceau Avenue, #01-12, UE Square
Mon – Sat: 12 p.m. – 11 p.m., Sun: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
More of a bottle shop with door-to-door chilled deliveries, but they also have four taps and occasionally organise craft produce fairs.
Craft beer bars in the east
The 1925 Brewing Co.
261 Joo Chiat Road
Tue – Sun: 11 a.m. – 1 a.m.
3rd Culture Brewing Co.
51 Old Airport Road, Old Airport Road Food Centre Stall 144
Wed – Fri: 6.30 – 10.30 p.m.; Sat: 4.30 – 10.30 p.m.; Sun 4.30 – 9.30 p.m.
There are a couple of differences from the sister outlet at Maxwell: there’s a fridge full of bottles and cans, and beers come in 16-oz glasses. Note that the selections at the two stalls rarely overlap, and the events take place at only one outlet, not both. To make it easier to find the stall, go to the easterly end of the food centre closer to Dakota MRT station.
2 Stadium Walk, #01-06/07 Singapore Indoor Stadium
Mon – Thu: 5 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Fri, Sat: 12 p.m. – 1 a.m.; Sun: 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.
(Closes at 1 a.m. on eve of holidays and re-opens at 12 p.m. the next day)
Little Island Brewing Co.
6 Changi Village Road, #01-01/02
Mon – Thu: 12 – 11 p.m.; Fri: 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Sat: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.; Sun 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
This is a very chill place where you can sit outdoors and watch planes land and take off from Changi Airport. American- and Australian-style food is on the menu for brunch, lunch and dinner, and a barbecue or paella special takes place occasionally. As for their own beer, there’s no fixed size. You purchase a charge card, top it up with at least $10 and use it to pour as much or as little of each brew yourself. You can also ask the staff for help if you want to taste a little of each before committing.
685 East Coast Road
Mon – Wed: 4 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Thu: 4 p.m. – 1 a.m.; Fri, Sat: 3 p.m. – 1 a.m.; Sun: 3 p.m. – 12 a.m.
This relaxed gastropub in the Siglap area serves dinner and comes with both indoor and outdoor seating. The 12 taps draw mainly Fourpure and Brewdog beers but there are others too. And if it matters to you, each beer is served in that brewery’s glassware. You can watch live sports on the TV here as well.
5 Changi Business Park Central 1, #01-70/71 Changi City Point
Mon – Sat: 11.30 a.m. – 12 a.m.; Sun 5 p.m. – 12 a.m.
What I wrote for the CHIJMES outlet also applies, except you’ll find more of an office crowd here on weekdays.
Pink Blossoms Brewing
50 Ubi Ave 3, #01-12
Mon – Fri: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Sat, Sun, holidays: 2 p.m. – 11 p.m.
The World is Flat
Changi Airport Terminal 1 (transit area)
Open 24 hours daily
Craft beer bars in the west
Bottle Shop @ Timbre+
77 Ayer Rajah Crescent
Open daily: 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. except Sunday (10 p.m.)
As the name implies, they sell chilled craft beer and cider in bottles from $10. There are macro brews and whisky highballs on tap as well. For food, patronise the hawker stalls in at lunchtime and the food trucks in the evening. It can get pretty raucous especially when there’s live music.
The Good Beer Company
2 Science Park Drive, Savourworld #01-23
Mon – Thu: 4 – 11 p.m.; Fri, Sat: 4 – 11.45 p.m.
GBC started as a hawker stall that sold bottled craft beer in the early 2010s. It’s since changed hands and moved to Kent Ridge. The eight taps usually pour pints of Brewdog, Fourpure and Hitachino Nest, but the fridge also stocks more than 200 different beers that various distributors bring in from around the world. Food can be bought at the other restaurants that make up Savourworld and you can sit outdoors or inside the bar’s air-conditioned premises.
Craft beer bars to the north of everyone so far
215F Upper Thomson Road
Mon, Wed, Thu: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Fri: 10 a.m. – 12 a.m.; Sat: 8 a.m. – 12 a.m.; Sun: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
This is the place to come to if you use the hair of the dog as a hangover cure. It gets really packed here on weekend mornings when folks descend for brunch. However, they also have one tap for Sapporo, two taps of Australian, Kiwi or American craft beer, and one guest tap, all served in 16-oz glasses. In addition, there stock canned Garage Project beers, natural wines and a few spirits.
275 Thomson Road
Sun – Thu: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Fri, Sat: 11 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Across the road from the Novena Church, just in case you feel guilty. Beer-inspired pub grub, pizza and burgers to go with the 20 taps. Their beers come from various sources, so you’ll find Deschutes, Lervig, Heart of Darkness, Yeastie Boys and more. One size only and that’s a 16-oz pint.
Orh Gao Taproom
10 Jalan Serene, #01-03 Serene Centre
Tue – Thu, Sun: 4 – 11 p.m.; Fri, Sat: 4 p.m. – 12 a.m.
The newest entrant that I’ve been to shares its premises with a Killiney Kopitiam franchise. If you’re so inclined, you can have your beer with kaya toast and eggs when their hours overlap. After that, the kitchen makes pasta, fish and chips and otah-otah sandwiches. Half and full pints are available from the 10 taps, and the choices are augmented by bottles in the fridge.
398 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, The Rail Mall
Tue – Fri: 5 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Sat: 3 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Sun 3 – 11 p.m.
This gastropub is as close to the northwest as the revolution has got. There are usually Brewdog, Fourpure and Hitachino Nest beers among the eight taps but there is also an extensive selection in the fridge. Half and full pints are served but you can also have a tasting rack of four draft beers. The kitchen whips up the standard pub fare like burgers, pasta and fish and chips. An informal trail run into the surrounding Bukit Timah area starts here once a month and is followed by a free drink.
Including the bottle shops
I’ve pinned the above bars and as many of the bottle shops as I know on the map below. I hope this has been useful! This post is a constant work in progress and I’m grateful to the local craft beer community for their valuable input.