A white heritage building off Club Street now houses the newest addition to Singapore’s growing craft beer scene.
Western Australia’s Little Creatures brewing company has opened a slick brewpub in Mohamed Ali Lane, which serves beers freshly brewed on site in large silver tanks, along with food designed to go with them.
The 180-seater opens to the public on May 30. There is room for another 100 customers to stand.
Beer drinkers here might already be familiar with the brand’s beer-carrying winged cherub logo.
Since entering the Singapore market eight years ago, a limited selection of the Fremantle-based company’s beers has been available in bottles or on draught at selected venues.
But with the brewpub, there will be six permanent beers and one cider on tap – namely its flagship Pale Ale (an American Pale Ale), Bright Ale (a golden ale), Rogers’ (a mid-strength ale), Pilsner and IPA (India Pale Ale) as well as White Rabbit White Ale from its Victoria, Australia-based sister company White Rabbit.
For cider lovers, there is James Squire Orchard Crush Cider.
While the core range of beers will be brought in from Australia, there will be two taps that will rotate brews made on-site.
For the first run of limited-release beers, expect the likes of the Club Street Sub IPA, named after the hops used called Yellow Sub; as well as a Mangosteen Ale, where the ale is infused with mangosteen juice during fermentation.
Prices start at $11 for a 280ml pour (around half a pint) and $14 for a 430ml pour.
SECOND INTERNATIONAL OUTPOST
Little Creatures was started in 1999 when a group of Australians from the beer scene decided they wanted to make a hop-driven American Pale Ale in their home country.
A brewing facility was built on a former crocodile farm not far from Perth and the doors opened in 2000. The company is named after the live yeast – or “little creatures” – in fermenting beer.
Singapore is the second international outpost and brewpub. The first opened in Kennedy Town in Hong Kong almost two years ago.
It was only natural to head to Singapore next, says Mr James McEniery, 42, regional director (Asia Pacific) of Little Creatures’ parent company, Lion.
“Before we head to a city, we look at what the consumers are drinking, where the city is in terms of craft beer and whether consumers are ready for it.
“We also look if there are flavoursome beers and a community we can become a part of,” Mr McEniery tells The Sunday Times.
Singapore fits the bill with its existing pool of outlets that already champion craft beer – such as Smith Street Taps and The 1925 Brewing Co, and local brewers Brewlander and Rye & Pint.
Little Creatures wants to keep its beers accessible.
Mr McEniery says: “It’s important we build a community of craft-beer lovers and that means being able to cater to any level of beer drinker.
“Whether you’re coming straight off commercial beers or you’ve been drinking a double IPA for years, there’s going to be something for you at Little Creatures.”
PLAYGROUND FOR BREWER
Part of the experience at the brewpub is being able to sit in the vicinity of six tanks which can house 500 litres of beer.
The space is regional brewer Jum Ryan’s playground and he has already started work on a Singapore-specific beer for the brewpub.
The 35-year-old Australian, who has been in Singapore since February, says he will be constantly experimenting on site, while taking in the Singapore market’s preferences.
“We’ll be bringing in the tried-and-tested brands, but I also have the opportunity to experiment and work with our head chef on ideas on what might work best here,” says Mr Ryan, who has been with the company for seven years.
“That said, I’ve already crossed durian off my list,” he quips. He is also considering introducing dark beers like stouts.
He will be working alongside head chef Kwek Xiu Rong, 33, who was formerly with Jamie’s Italian restaurant.
A large part of the Little Creatures experience is helping its cutsomers learn about its beers.
“We’re working on being able to do tours through the brewery, but even if you get a tasting paddle of several beers from the bar, the staff will be able to run through all of them with you,” says Mr Ryan.
There are also plans to run a “beer school” with a small-scale demonstration on how beer is made.
There will be food, of course. But instead of typical pub grub, the food at the brewpub revolves around sharing plates that range from fried man tou buns with chilli crab sauce ($19) to a charcuterie platter ($36) with pistachio mortadella, serrano ham, pork salami and beef pastrami.
There is also a limited selection of pizzas and pastas, and a local take on chicken rice risotto ($26) made with kailan, white wine, garlic and spring onion.
A brunch menu will be offered every day from 9 to 11.30am.
Little Creatures continues to look beyond Australia. Already, it has two “brewers labs” up and running in Beijing and Shanghai, which are smaller-scale versions of brewpubs, without on-site brewing facilities.
“By the end of this year, we expect to have more brewers labs around the world,” says Mr McEniery.
Beers at Little Creatures Singapore
Little Creatures in Mohamed Ali Lane will have seven permanent taps serving its core range of beers and a cider, as well as two rotating ones that will serve limited-release brews.
Here, hops have a starring role. Hops are the green flowers of the female hop plant, which lend aromas and bitter flavours to the beer. While most commercial breweries use pellets, Little Creatures uses whole, dried hop flowers in the final part of the brewing process.
“This imparts a lot more aroma,” says brewer Jum Ryan.
Here is what you can expect on tap when the brewpub opens.
Style: Classic American Pale Ale
ABV (alcohol by volume): 5.2 per cent
Flavours: Citrus, nectarine, burnt toffee in a hop-driven, full-bodied and refreshing Pale Ale
Flavours: Fruity and floral, cucumber in a full-flavoured, hoppy Pilsner
Flavours: Woody and grassy, with a fruity hop aroma and gentle bitterness for a crisp taste
Style: IPA (India Pale Ale)
Flavours: Sweet and malty with bitterness and packs a hoppy punch
Flavours: Caramel toffee, malt, fruity in a mid-strength ale
CLUB STREET SUB IPA: A yellow tropical, hoppy ale with Yellow Sub and El Dorado hops
MANGOSTEEN ALE: A piney, ale infused with mangosteen juice during fermentation
LUNAR ALE: A refreshing wheat ale with hints of citrus aroma
MT HOOD IPA: An American IPA that is earthy and slightly spiced