Whether you’re a beer enthusiast or just starting to dabble in watering holes, here are a few places to check out with your friends. Get excited about beer and join the craft beer revolution.
MALAYSIA Craft beers
Craft beer may not be making the sort of waves in Malaysia that it is in the United States, but there is a growing market and demand for craft beers here. Where we used to only get beers from the two major breweries, there is now a much bigger selection of beers from all over the world available in craft beer outlets.
Taps Beer Bar
In search of better beers in Malaysia, a group of cousins came up with an idea to break convention by opening a pure craft beer bar with the widest range of beers in Malaysia. In December 2011, Taps Beer Bar became a reality.
To provide diversity and accessibility to a range of quality craft beers Taps Beer Bar regularly rotates beers and to date has served over 800 unique beers, some of the very best craft beers on the market. Each beer is one of a kind, displaying the creativity and passion of its brewer and the complexity of its ingredients, unlike mainstream, commercialised beers. The results are an ever-expanding list of craft beers to suit any individual and exciting food-pairing possibilities.
Ales & Lagers
The outlet used to be a tiny craft beer bottle shop in Publika, Solaris Dutamas that people bought bottles from with a few tables available indoors. Today it has transformed into a beer bar filled with tables and barrels after barrels of beers. The success has resulted in a sister bar called The Great Beer bar with both outlets offering between 40 to 60 types of craft beers targeting to reach 100 varieties in the not too distant future. If anyone wants to start a passion for craft beers, this is the place to be.
Led by a band of Malaysians who hope to offer their fellow drinkers more than just Tiger and Carlsberg, this bar located in Taman Tun Ismail, KL focuses on the works of microbreweries from the Oceania region of Australia and New Zealand. The bar goes beyond the generic IPA and flaunts a casual, laid- back setting.
INDONESIA joins craft beer bandwagon
In tourist-heavy destinations in Indonesia such as Bali and Jakarta, beer is widely available and cheap. In the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, Indonesian brewers are tapping into demand for better quality booze among the country’s small number of drinkers.
The pioneer of the movement in Indonesia is Stark Beer, a company that sprung up on the cusp of Bali’s thriving era in tourism. The Bali-based company claims to be the first craft beer producer in Indonesia. With Bali’s main source of revenue being tourism, most of Stark’s stock gets snapped up on the island. Since its launch, Stark Beer has expanded to include six varieties, including lychee- and mango-flavored beers and an Indonesian Pale Ale, a less bitter alternative to Indian Pale Ale.
Also riding on the craft beer wave is Beervana, a company that imports, sources, ships, distributes and promotes overseas craft labels in Indonesia. Its goal is to bring in exemplary brews from around the world for both locals and tourists.
In Indonesia, where most locals know beer as a ‘blonde lager’, Beervana has helped steer locals to take on a more diversified palate.
At the moment, the Bali market is an obvious one for the company, but plans to expand in Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung are underway.
In 2012, microbrewery Coffeebeerian popped up in the capital Jakarta, brewing their own beers as well as carrying imported craft beers. As the name implies Coffeebeerian is a cosy little coffee house/beer bar selling their own beer, brewed in Bali, and premium quality local coffee.
FILIPINO craft beer culture
If you’ve ever been to Manila, you know that Filipinos love to drink beer. Not only do they have some awesome commercial beers, but they’ve also got some great local craft beers.
Joe’s Brew Sierra Madre Wheat Ale
This wheat ale made it onto the list because of its smoothness, if you aren’t into dark beer, this beer is one that you should try as it has a nice floral and fruity flavour. Try it and you’ll understand why this is a good and tasty beer for any day.
Craftpoint Summer Passion Ale
As the name suggests, the tangy, gingery, passionfruit taste, is the perfect match for any summer day. You can also get this beer at The Grid Food Market (Rockwell, Makati), The Bottle Shop, or if you’re in La Union, you can get some seasonal releases at Curious Creatures. They also sell it at a number of restaurants and bars around Metro Manila.
THAI craft beers
In a country dominated by the big three – Chang, Singha and Leo – it can often leave you desperate to try something different to lager. Scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Full Moon Brewery
Phuket’s Full Moon brewery is one of the breweries leading the craft brewery charge in Thailand, with this beer taking gold in the World Beer Awards 2016.
‘Chalawan’ is a Thai word for alligator, and much like its namesake it certainly bites, with fruity, slightly sour notes. At 4.7% it’s an easy drink for those long, hot nights, with an exotic taste to suit its tropical climate.
Eleventh Fort’s Black India Pale Ale is about as far removed from a Chang you’ll find in Thailand. Dark brown in colour, it’s malty with coffee and chocolate notes and very drinkable. Good, long-lasting head with a medium-bitter taste and light carbonation.
Silom Pirates Stout
With average temperatures in the 30s, one wouldn’t typically associate Thailand with stout beers, but the Silom Pirates Stout makes it work. With rum and raisin notes, it’s perfect for the heat and more than deserving of its pirate title. A deep, softly-carbonated typical stout drinking experience, watch out for hints of chocolate and coffee that come through.
VIETNAM the beer city
Now Vietnam has become one of the biggest consumers of beers in Asia, drinking a huge 3.8 billion litres of the stuff in 2016 alone and its people are beginning to seek more variety. Whet your appetite with a list of excellent craft beer bars in Ho Chi Minh City, each offering their own vibe and unique range of thirst-quenching ales.
With three locations citywide, you are never likely to be too far from a Biacraft. If you only go to one craft beer bar in Ho Chi Minh City, you are unlikely to be disappointed with this one. Priding themselves on offering the most extensive range of craft beers in Vietnam, there is a beer for every taste. Even the menu makes for an entertaining read as each beer sports its own quirky name, such as ‘Let’s Get Naked’ or ‘Ugly But Vain’.
Biacraft food menu offers a whole range of classics from loaded burgers and fiery buffalo wings to salads and steamed mussels. You can also grab Biacraft’s drinks to takeaway, canned fresh from the barrel as you wait.
Pasteur Street Brewing Co
Boasting its own award-winning range of beverages, the Pasteur Street Tap Rooms are another great option if you are in need of a tasty craft beer in Ho Chi Minh City. Like Biacraft, these bars are dotted around the city in four locations, each offering chilled music and great food in an environment that is both family-friendly and atmospheric.
Heart of Darkness Brewery
The brewery’s journey to Saigon is something quite inspiring as two friends had a eureka moment a few years ago leading to this great brewery now producing over 20 craft beers available all-year-round and a handful of seasonal beers too. As well as creating a great craft beer scene, the brewery also hosts regular live music and stand-up comedy nights. So grab your mates & enjoy a tasty craft beer.